“Money, money, money! Let’s put in piggy!” Hailey exclaims. And thus we go through our at least once a day routine of finding daddy’s loose change and putting it into her piggy bank. We then shake the piggy bank, say “ooooh” when we hear how full it is, then talk about all the things we will buy with her money. “How cool is this?!” I say to myself. Through our little piggy bank ritual, my toddler is learning about saving and spending money and figuring out how the world works. I feel like mom extraordinaire! But this feeling is fleeting. As I watch Hailey figure things out through her two-year-old trial and error processes, yes, there are those things that make me feel like we are doing things right and teaching our daughter all the essentials. But there are also parts of her toddler behavior that just flat out confound me. I can only think that these behaviors are the result of some kind of ulterior motive on her part.

What Hailey Does: Grabs four stuffed animals, a hair brush, a flashlight, two shoes, a headband, and a receipt from Rite Aid, then decides to climb the stairs holding all of these items in her tiny little arms.
What Hailey Must be Thinking: It’s looking a little cluttered downstairs. I will help mommy clean by randomly dispersing items around the house. And I must be efficient and do this all in one trip!

What Hailey Does: Poops. It’s obvious to the world that she has pooped. I ask her, “Hailey, did you poop?” She replies, “No, honey.” (Yes, she is still calling me “honey.”) Why the lie?
What Hailey Must be Thinking: Mom worked hard all day and I really want to spare her from this monstrosity in my diaper. I’ll just pretend it’s not there. No one will be the wiser.

What Hailey Does: Kicks daddy firmly right between the eyes. And, is it my imagination, or is there the ever so slight look of satisfaction on her face?
What Hailey Must be Thinking: Daddy’s glasses look a little crooked. Hi-yaaah! All fixed.

What Hailey Does: She says, “No want ‘chickie’ to eat.” I make her pasta. She grimaces at it and says, “want chickie.”
What Hailey Must be Thinking: Mom must be bored with our mealtime staples. I’ll help her add some variety to our dinnertime offerings.

So, I’m certain our child is complex enough to have these ulterior motives, because otherwise, she’s just out to get mommy. And that will not do.