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     It's interesting just how much little ones keep you on your toes.... emotionally, that is. I know that kids "say the darndest things", but since when do they know how to make back-handed compliments? Are they teaching it in school these days or do my kids just have a knack for this? (Oh, I sincerely hope that this is not the only talent they have, because I don't think they hand out medals, badges, or trophies from this particular sport....) I remember the first full day that Cameron and Taylor were with us. They were both mesmerized as they watched me put on my make-up before I left for work that morning. There were plenty of "What's that?"s to go around, and a good helping of "Can I wear some?"s. It was in that first day that my guard was completely down and I assumed that compliments from children were all sugary sweet and heartfelt.... Taylor informed me that I looked soooo pretty with my make-up on. I beamed and thought, Aww, what a sweetie pie she is! She paused (do 4-year-olds pause for effect?) before adding "But you look really ugly without it." Yikes! Where did that one come from? Little snot-nosed, insolent child....
     So this evening, we sat down to dinner. Plates full of sloppy joes and cheesy broccoli. Apparently the children had been served filet mignon and lobster at their prior home, because they looked down their short little noses with disdain at their plates. "What IS that?", Cameron asked. I responded that it was a sloppy joe, that it was good, and that he should eat up. So he plows through half of his sandwich before looking at me and saying, "Um, this sloppy joe is really kinda gross." Which didn't smart half as badly as when Taylor told me, "You know, you are not a very good cook today, but I bet tomorrow you'll be better." (Said with a smile that was probably meant as encouragement but that I, guarded as I am now, took as mocking glee!) You're primary-school pallets are that advanced? Really? Taylor, I watched you eat a booger just yesterday.....
    Sometimes the sneaky little creatures REALLY like to throw me off my game by double-whaming me with not one, but TWO insults in one day. After a long shift at work, I went to the store and bought a bunch of new bedroom items for the kiddos that would reflect their individual likes and interests. They make mention of toys and whatnot that they used to have with their family that they had to leave behind. Knowing how difficult that must be, my husband and I wanted to make sure that we began to replace some of those items that were precious to them. Additionally, I thought that by making them feel super special in their newly decorated rooms, it would help them feel fully settled. So we spent the entire evening hanging items on the wall, moving furniture, and redecorating.
     Cameron was thrilled. "I love you sooo much!!!", he told me with his big, toothless grin.
     Taylor, on the other hand, stated very matter-of-factly, "I care about you a whole lot."
     Cameron's mouth dropped open as he said, "Taylor!! (pronounced Tay-loh.... due to the toothless thing again) Don't you love Shivonne and Pappy for getting you a new Dora bedspread and pillow?"
     Taylor simply answered, "Weeellll, I would've loved them if they'd bought me the Dora sheets, too...."
     Of all the greedy little stinkers I've known.....
     Cameron must've noticed my slightly deflated stance, because he told his sister that she was being very rude and that she should say "thank you". (At least that's what I think he said.... he really is hard to understand with that speech impediment!) I waited for a few seconds to see if a negative remark was to follow.... but nothing! Taylor thanked me for the bedspread and pillow, along with the other items for her room before going to bed happy. Cameron turned into a spaz because he simply can't control himself when he's excited, and he went to bed very happy. And because I feel that maybe, just maybe, my kids learned a simple lesson this evening, this mommy will go to bed happy as well.