Selective Competence

My daughter has proven to be a highly intelligent child, capable of accomplishing a great many things on her own.  She can climb onto a chair and turn on the light; She can use the potty; She can dress herself.  Theoretically, this should make our lives easier.  But if this was a theoretical world, we’d all be communists.

For example: She can wash her hands without assistance in the bathroom.  If she uses the kitchen sink, we need to set up a stool, hand her the soap, and rip off a paper towel.  (Usually while we’re trying to prepare dinner)  Want to guess which location she insists on using?

The other night, I heard her calling to me from her room.  When I went in, I found that she had gone into her closet and put on one of her fancy dresses.  That feat was mitigated by the fact that she couldn’t figure out how to take the dress off by herself.

It gets worse.  Last week, we were woken by her cries.  When we entered her room, we found her sitting in a soaking wet bed with no pants on.

I feel I should provide a quick backstory:

The sun is up, so EVERYONE must get up! (Image source: Flickr)

The sun is up, so EVERYONE must get up! (Image source: Flickr)

Over the past couple of months, the Cutlet abandoned her late sleeping habits.  She began waking up early, bursting into our room, and happily alerting us that the sun was up so we should get out of bed.  In an attempt to preserve our weekend beauty sleep, we instructed her that if our door was closed, that meant that she should go back into her room and play quietly.

That hasn’t quite happened.  First, she began knocking on our door to see if we were awake.  After we told her not to do that either, she began to call to us from her bedroom.

So here’s what went down on this particular morning:

Like many children her age, she sleeps in a Pull-up style diaper.  When she woke up and found herself in a wet diaper, she took matters into her own hands.  She took the diaper off (and put it into the Diaper Genie!) and returned to bed.  This seems like a wonderful example of her becoming a self-sufficient young lady.  There was just one problem…

After returning to bed, she had to pee again.  But despite being able to use the potty by herself, she remained in bed.

The laundry machine got a good workout that morning. (Image source: Flickr)

The laundry machine got a good workout that morning. (Image source: Flickr)

It’s possible that she was asleep and didn’t know what was going on, but we are skeptical.  In addition to being capable, the Cutlet is also a bit conniving.  It’s more likely that she stayed in bed, knowing that she’d be able to report having an accident which would force her parents to wake up.

This isn’t the first time that she’s conveniently had an “accident” that allowed her to either delay bedtime or hasten wake up time.  We’ve told her that an accident means that she didn’t do it on purpose.  If she goes simply to get attention, then it isn’t an accident at all.  Will that lesson sink in?  We shall see.

Hopefully, her competence soon becomes a full-time thing and will no longer be limited to those occasions when it suits her.  Otherwise, I have a feeling that the washing machine will continue to stay busy.

Submitted to Yeah Write’s weekly challenge grid.


About The Cutter

I am the Cutter. I write some stuff. You might like it, you might not. Please decide for yourself.
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34 Responses to Selective Competence

  1. if only the diaper genie was really a genie

  2. Katie says:

    She’s crafty, that one. The joke’s on you because you got out of bed.

  3. hmm i can see she is a smart cookie and you’re not going to getting much sleep. 😉

  4. Shannon says:

    My nephew is five and is a procrastinator/ early waker too. His parents bought him a traffic light alarm clock thingy. When the light is green, he can leave his room, but if its red, he has to play quietly in his room. Sometimes it works….lol

  5. Ooh, you’re going to have your hands full with this little smartie!!

  6. zoe says:

    There is the age when their independence means less for you …just like some discipline means punishing yourself….It can be a catch 22 for a little while.

  7. Karen says:

    Hahaha. I don’t miss those days.

    You’ll probably sleep even less when she’s a teenager though ; )

  8. TriGirl says:

    Will she be independent enough to run the washing machine soon? Maybe she can learn to make coffee too 😉

  9. Natalie DeYoung says:

    Oh, potty training woes. Sigh.

  10. TT&NB says:

    When my oldest was potty training she did what I call “spite peeing”. She would take off her diaper and pants, find me, grab my hand and make sure I was looking, then spread her legs and pee. I am so glad potty training is over for my littles!

  11. mistyslaws says:

    Wow, I do NOT miss those days. Sorry! If it makes you feel better, maybe if she is that cunning and deviously smart, it will bode well for college scholarships in the future. Eh? Eh?

  12. Our son and his partner had the same early morning wakeup call problem. Like many middle class Brits they did not want to resort to bribery or brute force to get some sleep. Their solution was to tell their son that he could only come in to wake them when it was light. Unfortunately they made this rule in midwinter.

  13. Best of luck, and I feel your pain. My kidlet sounds about the same age, and equally as out to outsmart her parents at every turn. One only hopes this kind of intellect is benevolent, so when they take over the world, they save some kindness for their parents, who put up with these antics. The chant “I love my child, I love my child, I love my child,” and “it’s only a phase, it’s only a phase” offer some faint comfort. 😉

    • The Cutter says:

      I know, and others have it MUCH harder than I do. It’s just sometimes frustrating that a human that can be so capable when she wants to be, often chooses to not be.

      And I know this problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

  14. djmatticus says:

    Um… I’m pretty sure that machine is going to be busy for the next 15 years or so regardless. Kids are messy…

  15. Jill Schmehl says:

    yeesh – sounds exactly like my niece… are we all so manipulative at that age?

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