Kids are a lot smarter than adults give them credit for, and that can lead to a lot of situations where little ones get their way simply by being little ones. A lot of parents will say, "He's just four, he doesn't know what he is doing." Oh really? I wholeheartedly beg to differ. Kids are a lot smarter than you think, and if you don't pay attention they will wrap you around their tiny little fingers and never let go.
I point to a recent episode as proof of my theory. Recently, my four-year-old was bored and decided to come upstairs and walk into my office. He doesn't knock because, well, he doesn't know any better. He also does not understand that I am working because, well, you know. On this most recent visit, my little one wandered into my office and immediately started spinning in the extra office chair, making tons of noise with his Legos, and generally being a distraction. I am not sure if you write for a living, but those who do understand the problems that come with distractions.
A four-year-old is a walking distraction. We are forever trying to teach him things about numbers, letters, shapes, and colors, but he is working from his own agenda that does not include any stuffy book learnin'. He's a good boy, but we have to be creative about teaching him things because he catches on really fast and hates learning stuff. We are getting better at covert teaching, and he is getting even better at detecting it.
In this particular incident, the little guy was a non-stop noise making machine and I was just about to the point of sending him downstairs. I was trying to work, and his grandmother was trying to sleep in the room next door to my office. After giving up on trying to explain to my little one how Nana can be "sleeping on the wall's other side" (his words), I got him to stop moving long enough to have this conversation.
Me: "Why do you come up here to drive me crazy?"
(He contemplated it for a moment and then a big smile took over his face.)
Little One: "Because I wuv you!"
That was a planned and unfair attack, and he knew it. If it was just a little one being a little one, there would be no moment of contemplation and then the "ah ha!" indication of the big smile. He played me with something he knew would work, and he was right.
I am not sure at what age they start to consciously understand their powers, but it happens a lot sooner than parents think it does. So, give your little one some credit the next time they play you like a violin at a sucker's recital. They know what they are doing, and they only get better at it.
George N Root III is a proud grandfather and a violin at a sucker's recital. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.