My Dear, Sweet, Slightly Manipulative Daughter


My daughter is only seven years old, but don’t let her age fool you. When Little Miss J wants something, she doesn’t simply tell you, that would be too easy.

Always a clever girl, she makes little homemade cards to communicate. By adding sweetly scrawled drawings, she lures the reader in so she can really go for the kill. Over the holidays, she handed me a card and I couldn’t help but laugh. And feel a little afraid. It read:

Dear Mommy,

I hope you have a Merry Christmas! [drawing of Christmas tree]

and get me lots of toys! PLEASE! [drawing of gifts]

and I love you! [drawing of big red heart]

[back of card] and I am standing here watching you read this card 

Love, J

IMG_20140114_072305 (2)

As I lowered the card, she was right there. Standing. And watching. I get shivers just remembering the intense look in her eyes. She is ruthless.

Her eyes sear a hole in my soul.
Her gaze has the power to burn a hole in my soul.

Today she made me yet another “greeting” card. I had been scolding her all week for not putting her trash in the trash can. Instead she was hiding it all over the house, cramming cheese stick wrappers in my slippers, sliding banana peels under the couch cushions, etc.

I said to her for the millionth time, “You need to put the trash in the trash, okay?”

Clearly fed up with me, she frowned and put her finger to her lips, deep in thought. Then she ran off to get her markers.

Five minutes later she handed me a card:

AWWWW!!!! Well isn’t this the SWEETEST?
Oh, it's a sweet picture of her and a rainbow!!! My heart might burst!!
Oh, it’s an adorable picture of her and a rainbow!!! My heart might burst!!


The best part? When she got home from school today and I asked her to turn off the TV, she said, “Where’s that card I made you this morning?”

I have no idea where she gets this behavior.

147 thoughts on “My Dear, Sweet, Slightly Manipulative Daughter

  1. Once we send them off to school, we lose control of 70% of their behavior I think. Damn other kids. At least your girl is thoughtfully telling you to pound sand instead of being rude about it.

    1. I give her credit for taking the time out of her busy day to make me sweet little drawings. She could be more like my son and just stomp her feet and whine. Oh wait, that’s my husband I was talking about, my bad.

  2. Man, your daughter is cute. She is going to destroy some poor life-partner some day… I have two girls, the oldest is kind of like this too, but not quite so articulate.

    As for the garbage thing, here I have to teach them what’s recyclable, what’s organic for composting, and what’s garbabe. Almost have to put them through a class to get them to learn this stuff. It is not fun sorting through your compost to find a marker or a granola bar wraper.

    1. “she is going to destroy some poor life-partner some day”….haha! this made me spew my coffee, thanks, Trent.

      She is too articulate. I remember fondly the time she couldn’t talk at all and yet I was always encouraging her. Lesson learned.

      1. I remember encouraging my oldest to read all the time. Now he looks over my shoulder and reads stuff I write (which is not always good). And spelling words to my wife doesn’t work anymore… But it’s all good.

  3. A child I looked after made a Mother’s Day card for his mother. She collected him from school that particular day, and he gave her said card which she then put on the mantlepiece while he had his tea. When his Dad arrived to collect him, the child took the card off the mantlepiece to bring home, where he gave it to me, as he’d only been allowed to make one.

    1. Melanie

      My daughter did something similar. She’s 6. She drew me a picture this weekend, and then last night she gave me the same picture as a birthday present. It was absolutely adorable how she re-purposed it.

    1. Oh! How I love this idea! I will get out my crayons right now and start scribbling a cryptic message to her. I can’t wait to give it to her after school. I’ll start by telling her I love her….draw some flowers….then on the back write: Now do your homework.

  4. I miss her already!!!

    Here’s my card reply to this post:

    FRONT: ❤ Darly Pants & Miss J ❤
    INSIDE: A bear dancing against a tree, with rainbows on either side of his head.
    BACK: Don't ever, ever post that bear picture of me on your blog or you will pay.

    1. Do you know she STILL talks about you and how you picked her up? She asked me today if you and Rache will be moving up here and living in our basement this summer.

      I will not use my bear pic, you’ve got a promise. However, I can also say to you and RP you can’t use ANY of my pics then. [blows raspberry]

      1. What’s funny is I had this moment right as I picked her up for the twirl where I thought, “Oh sh*t. Am I gonna be like Crazy Aunt Julie? Like my mom’s friend who used to pinch my cheeks whenever she saw me, and I used to dread it for HOURS leading up to her visits?”

        1. Haha! Oh no! She LOVED that you picked her up!

          By the way…my son saw those pics I took of you guys and he broke into this huge dimpled grin that he only reserves for girls he has crushes on. Yeah, he was really enthralled by you guys and wanted so badly to play Wii bowling so he could impress you.

      1. My firstborn was “strong-willed”. But I started calling it tenacious, and now she’s da bomb! Sweetest, most considerate, absolutely AMAZING person. I told her the other day that she has utterly surpassed me – all I ever wanted for my kids.

  5. She is very creatively defiant! 🙂 I have a six-year old who gives me ‘or else’s’ and ultimatums like, “if I can’t wear this, I’m just not going to school.” I can only imagine it is part of the playground negotiations. I love that she thinks she has a choice in the matter!
    She also has a habit of trying to put me down “nicely”, such as, “I’m trying to find a nice way to say this, but you don’t cook as good as dad.” (We’re still working on her grammar.)
    Hats off to precocious little girls! 😉

  6. It’s a long way to the trash can… I had one that until the day she left home (and even when she visits for a while) I find trash everywhere, under the pillows, behind the furniture… it’s terrible! My dream is to visit her home someday and stuff the living room sofas with trash… It’s truly on my bucket list.

  7. The little demon/darling. I don’t blame you, though Darla. Or Jim. You know that nature vs. nurture stuff? Total crap. Kids come out with their personality preformated.

    Still she is adorable. So she will get away with it for a while. Take it from me — my ability to manipulate has gotten me very far.

    1. Oh, for sure, me too, Elyse. Charming manipulation is my go-to tactic in most situations.

      As for Miss J, what’s great is all I have to do is lower my eyeglasses and give her my patented “Look of Disappointment” I learned from my own dad. Her charm can only go so far. But yeah, she’s ridiculously adorable and she knows it.

  8. I adore the way she communicates. In my day (cough, cough), I would tell my mom NO, and she would call it sassing back and dish out a whippin’. Your sweet little Miss J can whip out an adorable I Love You card and say NO with such panache, it doesn’t feel like a NO. That is one smart girl. 🙂

  9. I love the fact that she drew a picture of herself standing next to a rainbow. Clearly does not foreshadow what is to come . . . a big fat “NO!” She pulled a fast one on you.

      1. HA! Why do I so not believe that? Possibly because I am often visited by Angels at my blog and none of them seem to recall any angelic behavior from you… 😛

  10. Oh, is there no end to their craftiness??! That’s fantastic! You’ve got to give her credit. My two either flat out refuse to do what I ask, or they turn on the waterworks. Last year, when she was just three, I caught my daughter standing in front of the mirror and practicing her fake crying. I couldn’t believe it!

  11. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (let me catch my breath) ha ha ha ha –she is going to be a top executive and take care of you in your old age–so nurture her “kind” manipulations–and a girl who says No and means it, is a successful girl– now excuse me again for a minute, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (Oh I fell off my chair again)–she is adorable though

  12. She is such a spitting image of you! So adorable and frightening. I can just imagine her cards when she is a teenager. “Dear Mom, I love you. I am going to Hadley’s party whether you like it or not. PS I already took your car keys so don’t bother looking for them.” ❤

  13. I loved this, of course I love all that you write. Being a mom and grandma, I can relate. I tried to share on Face Book from here but it wouldn’t let me so I just copied the addy and shared it that way. Not sure it if that shows up on your info or not. Hopefully you will have more fans.

  14. That’s awesome and hilarious and skilled and crafty. I’ll tell my sister what she has to look forward to. She has two girls. Those cards are keepers for sure. I kinda side with your daughter on the trash though. When I was her age, I use to cut my dolls’ hair and hide it in my mother’s JC Penney’s catalogs. Which if you’re wondering…is not creepy at all.

    1. hahaha!!! OH that is hilarious. Well, of COURSE you’d hide your dolls’ hair in JC Penney catalogs, very logical.

      When I was little I MIGHT have hidden meat from the dinner table in my hands, then dumped it into the dark corner of my closet for my dog to eat later on. (I never really liked to eat meat of any kind and still don’t, blech)

  15. Hahahaha!! I love, love, LOVE those cards of hers! Sounds like she’s well on her way to getting exactly what she wants 100% of the time. Smart. 🙂

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