The difference between quick witted wise cracker and obnoxious smart ass is something that I didn’t always quite understand. For a several year period of my adolescence I determined that my identity would be tied to becoming the group funny man, humor being a positive character trait that I could claim as my own. Fortunately several of my best friends had older brothers and I was convincingly persuaded that I needed to knock off the crap.
She’s several years younger than I was at the time, but recently my daughter has also decided that she wants to be a “jokester”. She doesn’t have access to a whoopie cushion or a squirting flower pin, but other old standards like pencils in her nostrils or pretending that we have a bad connection on the phone are some of her new favorites. She’s become a prolific mooner, her lilly white ass often appearing out of nowhere. Sometimes she actually is pretty funny, other times less so. Her attempts at making me slip by wetting down the deck stairs and the multitude of objects that she uses to hit me in the junk are much less humorous.
The truth is that my sweet baby girl has been an insufferable little brat lately, and I don’t particularly care for it.
My first instinct was to blame the television. Now that she is a big girl and preparing to enter kindergarten, Alaina has decided that she is too mature for “baby shows” such as Bubble Guppies or Curious George. She now prefers “kid shows” like Phineas and Ferb, Teen Titans Go! and The Loud House, all busier, more kinetic programs that somehow seem to be played at a higher volume. Besides being slightly creepy looking now, Alvin of the Chipmunks seems much more irritating than I remember him to be.
My second thought was that perhaps she was simply seeking attention. With school being out of session we spend many more hours together, but I’m not sure that I’ve been giving her as much of my time. Just as many of the things I had planned that we “had all summer to do” haven’t been done, many days seem to pass that way as well. I fear that without the constraints of afternoon preschool I’ve been taking our time together for granted.
As with most things, the truth is probably a complicated combination of factors. She’s getting older and starting to push boundaries, unsure of what she’s able to get away with. She is establishing her own personality and if that personality trends towards obnoxious, there’s probably nothing to blame but genetics.
Just to be sure I commandeered the remote control while we ate our cereal these past few mornings, something that I should have rightful control over as head of household to begin with. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood was chosen over Spongebob Squarepants. More effort has been made to take advantage of this time before the beginning of school. The endless chatter has given me a two day headache, the obnoxiousness hasn’t abated much, and she ended up being sent to bed early, but at least for this week my conscience is clear.
I’m also not sure that I’m ready to let Alvin completely off the hook yet.