Who Needs Imaginary Friends to do Your Dirty Work?

One of the first questions that everyone has asked me about our transition-to-two-kids is, “So how is Ali taking it?”

And, since Future-15-Year-Old-Ali is feeling pretty indignant and forgotten due to my lack of blogging-record of her life lately (thanks to an influx of posts about pregnancy and childbirth), I figured it was time to throw her a bone.

Err, a post.

Anyway.

Ali.

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To answer the question, she’s adjusting fairly well.  Or at least, she’s not trying to flush Noah down the toilet or mail him to Bangladesh, so I will call that success.

She has, however, felt the need to express her feelings with the help of a third party.

And that third party happens to be her tummy.

I don’t know why she picked her tummy to be her evil alter-ego over any other perfectly fine body part, but at any rate, her tummy has quite the attitude.

(All while Ali stays pristinely innocent, of course.)

It goes like this…

I tell Ali to do something, and she wanders off to the other side of the room, with her back to me.

I see her pull her shirt up, and in a quiet, sweet voice, ask, “What did you say?”

Then I hear an angry, bitter, apparently-struggling-with-a-bit-of-new-sibling-adjustment voice say, “NO!!”

She puts her shirt down, turns around, and says, “I would, but my tummy says ‘NO!’

“Well, then, you need to tell your tummy to be wise and obey your Mommy.”

She turns back around, lifts her shirt, and quietly says, “You need to be wise and obey my Mommy.”

NO!”

Shirt down, turns around.. “My tummy doesn’t know how to be wise, because it doesn’t have a tummy-Mommy or a tummy-Daddy to teach it to be wise.”

“Well, then, your tummy needs to quit talking until it can learn to be nice.”

Tummy has worked up a rap-sheet of being defiant at bedtime, mealtimes, and has been intensely desirous of getting it’s way – especially when I’m tied up with nursing Noah.

And, although obedience is always achieved, no matter how many times Ali tells Tummy (nicely, of course) to shut it’s Big Tummy Mouth, it always seems to need to have the last word.

Every now and then, Tummy will have a change of heart.  After Ali (and, I suppose, Tummy), woke up from their nap yesterday, Ali informed me excitedly, “My tummy has gotten a little nicer!! Would you like to talk to it again?”

Unfortunately, it didn’t take Tummy long to backslide into it’s Foolish Tummy Ways.

So, in light of Ali’s Tummy Problems (and resulting discipline that naturally occurs when you have a disobedient Tummy), I decided to try a bit of positive reinforcement, as well.  On Monday, Ali and Tummy had a perfectly delightful morning, so I decided to let them skip their nap and go to a birthday party with my Mom.

Of course, I made an astronomically HUGE deal out of the privilege of skipping nap and going to a party as being a reward for having a happy heart (and Tummy) all day long, hoping to further encourage Tummy’s developing maturity.

Ali was thrilled, enjoyed the party immensely, and seemed to have REALLY responded to the positive reinforcement.

I, of course, was ridiculously proud of my brilliance in coming up with the idea to turn the party-attendance into a reward, and couldn’t wait to brag to Chris about my top-notch parenting.

And, to prove to him what a FABULOUS impact that I made on our child, I asked her about it in front of him.

“Ali, tell Daddy why you got to go to the party with Gramamma today!”

“To make biscuits!”

(No biscuits were made in the attendance of that party.)

“Umm…no…  Let me be more specific.  What did you DO to EARN the reward of getting to go to the party?”

“GUMMIES!!!”

(No gummies were had in the attendance of that party.)

“WHAT??”

“GUMMIES!!”

“Ali.  Why did Mommy let you go to the party?!?!?!?!”

“GUM-MIES!!!!!”

Obviously, Chris was unbelievably impressed with the impact I had made on our child.

…and I think I’ll stick to being proud of my parenting just because of the fact that Tummy hasn’t tried to flush, or Bangladeshian Airmail, Noah.

Yet.