I think that learning to sneak food is one of those fundamental skills toddlers learn. It’s like that list of normal age-appropriate behaviors that I get from the doctor at the kids’ annual child wellness visits. Yes, my child can speak in sentences with 3 words or more and throw a ball overhanded.

But how about questionnaire that gives us an idea of which MISbehaviors are normal at this age? Is he behind the curve in lying? Is she ahead of the curve in sneaking? Here are some of the questions I would like to see:

1.  When my child lies about getting into the cookie jar, she
a) has a half-eaten cookie in her hands
b) has crumbs on her face
c) has completely hidden the evidence
d) my child never lies–she just takes the cookie and eats it. All the while she is staring me right in the eye.

2.  When my child sneaks into the fridge to take the entire brick of cheese to her room, she
a) just waltzes in, takes the cheese, and runs
b) puts a blanket on her head before walking past me, convinced she is invisible
c) talks someone else into doing it for her
d) sets up a distraction in the opposite end of the house and lies in wait until I am completely distracted

3.  When I discover my child writing all over the walls with permanent marker, she
a) covers her ears and closes her eyes–convinced that she can’t be punished if I can’t see her
b) screams and runs away as fast as she can
c) heads for the magic eraser, like a pro
d) smiles proudly and says that she wrote on the walls to keep me company

4.  When I ask my child why he is sitting on his sister, he
a) responds in Dragonese and fully expects me to understand the answer
b) laughs maniacally
c) protests that he didn’t do it
d) explains calmly that she was having too much fun in time out and needed to be sadder

5.  When my child pees on the floor, she
a) cries until I clean up her and the floor
b) goes about her business like nothing has changed
c) goes to the kitchen for a dishtowel, cleans up the floor, changes her clothes, and puts all of the soiled laundry in her “pee pile.”  I don’t find out until I find said “pee pile.”
d) my child has never peed on the floor, lied, sneaked, or hurt another child*

*please see the handout on Parental Lying Dysfunction

For the record, I think that Sabrina is above the curve in all of these areas. She thinks that she invented sneaking and lying. Edgar is probably right on track, or maybe a little behind the curve. He even asks permission to sneak.


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