"Fired! You not do what I telled you!"
And so it happened. I got fired for the first time in my life- by a three year old who hasn't even mastered English grammar.
When he was single, Bryan was fairly convinced that children were a blank slate. You simply molded them into the kind of people you wanted them to be. Good parenting- that's what was called for. Then we had kids. He learned quickly that much of those little personalities is inborn. As soon as he was born, Nathan was looking all around the room with big serious eyes. Bryan joked at the time that if he could talk, he would be quizzing the doctor on how all the equipment worked. And anyone who knows Nathan knows that he hasn't stopped observing and asking questions! Evan was born two weeks late, and he still is completely unhurried. Justin was two weeks early, and he's been rushing ever since.
And then there's Steffen- my sweet little Steffen. He made it clear from the moment he was born that he was the BOSS. He knew exactly what he wanted (to be held ALL the time), and he made sure that he got it.
His "I'm the boss" mentality comes through in the way he talks. In addition to firing me for unsatisfactory performance, he uses my last name when I do something that upsets him, "Mommy Bain!" And he'll shake his little finger, "Do you unnerstand me?" The trick is to take his little "attitudes" seriously and not just crack up at the little three foot person spouting such disrespect.
He's learning to be a more benevolent dictator, coupling his demands with compliments and encouraging words. "Mommy, open this for me! 'Cause you really good at opening." And, upon completion of said command, "Good job, Mommy!"
He is also smart enough to know precisely when he's gone too far. His brown eyes get really big and he says, "I so sorry! I so sorry!" punctuating his repentance with a smothering hug.