“Checkmate…” (she says in a 3 year old’s language…)

Have you ever seen one of those posters with the caption: “The lunatics are running the asylum…”

Well, it has felt a little like that around here recently, so my husband and I are working on establishing some (loving!) parental authority in our house.  This means that while validating and listening to the kids, we are also trying to provide some clarity (and security!) by emphasizing that we are in charge.

It has led to some interesting dialogue in our home recently, and has sparked S’ discovery of her new favorite conversation ender.

Instead of just telling you her new line, allow me to provide a brief excerpt of some closing dialogue.

Here it is:

Me: That’s enough, S.  Please pick up the blocks.

S: Fine.  I’ll pick up the blocks.  But you know mom, you’re not in charge of God.

[Then a half-hour later…]

Me: S, if you don’t get in the car, we cannot drive to school.

S: Fine.  I’ll get in the car.  But you know mom, you’re not in charge of God.

[I could type several more examples here, but let me just spoil the ending of every conversation for you.  It turns out, that – I know this will shock you – I am never in charge of God.]

There are so many ways I could go with this blog, and they are all tempting.  I could detail all the soul searching I did in my 20s, a time when I learned that (guess what?!) I am not in charge of God.

I could detail how much I love the individuality of all my children, and that at this stage of life, one of S’ great qualities is that she is passionately all in.  Why measure out your irritation at a mother who has just exerted authority by reminding mom that you – at the age of three – won five battles just this morning?  Instead, pull out the big gun by comparing her to The Big Guy.   Feeling powerful mom?  Don’t.  Think about yourself relative to God.

I could ask you what you think the correct response is.  Perhaps it’s

“You’re right, S.”


“Thank goodness”

or (as two friends separately suggested…)

“Nope, but He put me in charge of you.”

or I could detail my actual responses, which have taken on a variety of forms.


I’ve decided not to dwell on any of those things.

Instead, I’ve decided to take some small consolation in the fact that – at the age of three, on some level  – when my daughter feels overpowered, she remembers the existence of an all-powerful creator.

Here’s hoping she has a similar perspective in – and beyond – her teens!


3 responses to ““Checkmate…” (she says in a 3 year old’s language…)

  1. I LOVE that girl! Best of luck to you, super mom. 🙂

    And yes, I realize this response is totally unhelpful; but that’s what aunts are for, no?

  2. Holy moly! I am dying on the floor, rolling with laughter. Way to go, S! And, I sure hope you used the (twice!) recommended come back at least once. 🙂 Nothing like kids to keep you humble, right? Yours just seem to have a particularly humorous way of doing it 🙂 Thanks for making my day!

  3. Yes, there are many things to love about S, including the fact that she is infinitely quotable. (I know Aunt A and Uncle B will recall, “These swippers are swippery!”) And Queen B is right, humility comes in large, funny doses around here! (And I have tried just about every response at least once, but they all usually get the same deadpan stare S is famous for!)

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