Tonight at bath time we asked Phoebe who she wanted to go up with her, mummy or daddy. Phoebe said she wanted mummy, but I said that I wanted to do it. “But I want mummy,” she whined and started to do the fake cry thing kids use to try and get their own way.
“But daddy wants to do it,” I said.
She pretend cried a bit more, so I started pretend crying too. “But I really want to do it” I whined.
“I want mummy,” she cried more vigorously.
I started crying more.
And Phoebe laughed. I think she both recognised that it was inappropriate for an adult to behave in this way, but also that I was satirising her and wasn’t taken in by her antics. I have loved watching the development of this human being who turned up (from I don’t know where) demanding food and shoes, but particularly seeing how a sense of humour grows. It was quite a sophisticated joke for a three year old and also takes a certain maturity to laugh at yourself in this way.
“How can you want mummy to do the bath when daddy is so funny?” I asked, “Look how funny I am.”
She wasn’t convinced, but I managed to trick her into me doing the bath anyway by saying whoever got to the top of the stairs first was the best, forever, regardless of future or past contests. And her competitiveness overcame her bath time preference. I actually let her win, though she thinks she is genuinely the best at going upstairs (as if) and she’d fallen into my trap as I ended up starting the bath. Sadly we made so much noise larking around that we woke the baby, so I had to go through our sleep schedule again (it’s working pretty well for night times, but naps are not so great). So Phoebe got her wish and her mum did the bath anyway. Damn that little girl. She always wins.