My Daughter, The Master Manipulator

manipulatorMy daughter Annabel absolutely adores her father. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for him. The feeling is mutual — my husband would do anything to get a happy smile or giggle out of our girl. And lately … our daughter has started using it to her advantage.

It seemed cute at first. At bedtime a few weeks ago, Mike was saying goodnight to Annabel. She gave him a hug and a kiss, then said, “Daddy? Will you play me that song by the Beatles that we like?” Mike is a huge Beatles fan and plays songs for her often, so he pulled out his iPod and started trying to figure out which song she was referring to. Twenty minutes later, I walked into Annabel’s bedroom to find Mike playing songs and Annabel saying, “No! The other one!” I shook my head at Mike and pointed out that Annabel had successfully tricked him into extending her bedtime. “You stinker!” He exclaimed.

She also looooves to “cry hungry.” Whenever she is asked to do something she doesn’t consider fun (brush her teeth, clean up, etc), she’ll say, “But I’m so so hungry!” Mike used to immediately fix her something to eat until I pointed out that it happened every single time she didn’t want to do something. The clincher was when she’d proclaimed herself “soooo full” from dinner, but when asked to clear her plate replied with, “But Daddy! I’m still sooooooo hungry!”

The kicker was last night. Annabel waltzed over to where her dad was sitting and said, “Dad, remember when you used to take me out to get milk shakes? I really miss that. I wish we could do it again.”

Mike, who has been feeling working-parent guilt lately, practically cried until I jumped in and said, “ANNABEL. We got ice cream YESTERDAY. It’s not nice to manipulate Daddy’s feelings like that!”

Annabel replied, “What does, ‘manpipdulate’ mean?”

It’s hard for my husband and I to not giggle at Annabel when she pulls these stunts, because it IS funny. But now that my husband knows what she’s up to, he no longer gives in. As much as he wants to make her smile or laugh, he does NOT want a little monster who always gets her way. It’s time for the Master Manipulator (or should that be “Manpipdulator?”) to meet her match!

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