"Oh no! What have I done!?"

My daughter just yelled from the kitchen, “Oh no! What have I done now!?” So, I walked in there, ready to observe the new disaster. Last time, it was cracking a dozen eggs onto the ground and then smearing it all over her skin, which warranted Benadryl for a day given the egg allergy she suffers from.

Oh, I know, you’re thinking that I should get a baby lock for my fridge right? Well, she figured out how to pick it when she was merely one year old. So, we raised the child lock higher, to the freezer door. Then, we bungee corded the fridge and freezer doors together. That just taught her  how to push chairs across the room to be able to reach the higher lock. So, we started tying the chairs to the kitchen table’s legs. That taught her how to untie knots.  So, we had a system of knots and strings, which she turned into a playground. Once I saw the inevitable danger there, I tied the chairs to the table legs in such a way so that there was no space through which she could shove her apparently mouse-like squeezable head.  So, she just built up her muscles until she could pull the entire table and all four chairs across the room. So, I gave up. I removed the bungee and the child lock. I untied the chairs.

I started telling her, “No,” more firmly. I soon learned this translates into toddler as, “Be quieter about it next time so mom won’t catch you.” So, she learned about consequences. That taught her to make sure it was worth it. Once she found herself unable to control the fridge curiosity impulses and realized that there was no turning back, she was sure to touch every SINGLE thing she wasn’t supposed to.

Now, she’s three and she helps me cook. The fridge curiosity is less compelling. But every so often…

So, where was I?

Ahhhhh yes.

My daughter just yelled from the kitchen, “Oh no! What have I done now!?”

She found the five dollar box of unopened organic raspberries that were supposed to be for my salads. No one else likes raspberries but me. She hates them. Though, apparently she loves opening the box up, dumping it on the floor and making raspberry jam silently while she makes voices like she is playing with dolls. Oh yes. She is that clever. She has this stretchy guy that she calls a prince and a Barbie that she says is his princess girlfriend. And they dance together. So, she sat in the kitchen buying herself time, while I cleaned the bathroom, making me THINK she was playing innocently with her dolls, making them have a conversation, but all the while she was making raspberry jam on my kitchen floor.

I didn’t know what to do. So, I told her I was very sad because they were my raspberrries for my salads and now I couldn’t have them. I told her I was just going to have to just give them to the birds. She was sad until she heard the part about the birds, and then offered somberly to do it for me. It seemed like she was going to take responsibility for her actions, so I let her take them all outside.

It seemed like I handled everything right, until my little girl ran back over to the fridge and said, “Let’s go see what else we can feed the birds!” Then, I realized I was in way over my head with this little ginger child and tried to figure out ways to shove her back into my womb until she turned thirty. Truth be told though, she wasn’t very considerate of me when she was in there either.

Oh well. At least she’s cute:

redheaded children


  1. yes she is cute, but at somepoint stop making excuses and disicple this highly intelligent hyper active child. She needs to lear respect for other people things, and for the household. Yes even at 3 respect needs to be taught.

    • Dawn

      Oh, Kimberly, I SOOOO agree. And I’ve tried very firm methods, and she consistently outsmarts and surprises me. If you have suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them. Because so far, while my discipline usually works, for some reason, that fridge is just too enticing, no matter what I try. In other areas, we managed to get her to listen, but not this darned fridge. So, I’m all ears if you have any ideas!!!! PLEASE!

      What we’ve tried that has worked in other areas:
      Natural consequences.
      Taking away toys.

      What we haven’t tried and won’t try:
      Excessive shaming.
      Hurting her.

      • Dawn

        But she’s not hyperactive, just more clever and determined than I sometimes give her credit for.

        What I should have done is taken her into the bathroom with me and had her help me clean that rather than let her play with her dolls. She tricked me, which is embarrassing to say, but it’s the truth.

  2. Kristen

    What worked for my little busybody was an extra tall child gate with locks, which were put up on the side of the gate that he couldn’t get to. Just let her know, in a firm but loving attitude, that when she stops messing with the fridge and shows you that you can trust her alone in the kitchen, that she is only allowed in the kitchen when she is with you. When she earns the right to go into the kitchen alone without making a huge mess when your back is turned, then the gate can be removed and perhaps moved to block off another troubled area.

    • Dawn

      That’s a pretty good idea. Maybe I could put a door up though because she learned to climb baby gates at less than a year. But I bet if I put a barrier she actually couldn’t get to, her desire for freedom would be bigger than her desire to get in the fridge. Good idea. There really aren’t any other problem areas… unless you count her brother’s room. 😉

      • Kristen

        Good luck! Let me know how it goes! It has worked very well with our little man, the only place that is still gated away is the staircase, but that is mainly because we live in an old historic house with those crazy tall, narrow stairways… and slippery hardwood at that! I just don’t feel safe on the stairs, much less feel safe letting him run up and down them on his own so that gate will be there for a while, I fear… more for my peace of mind than his! I find that when our boy becomes “a chronic misbehavor” in one area of the house, like the fridge (we had that battle too!), restricting his access to the area for a while was enough to remind him that he would rather be able to enter the kitchen at his leisure than to get into the fridge, and that when he got into the fridge, he would be banned from the kitchen again. It took a few tries but it did work. I also make a point to never ridicule or use the word “bad” when I am talking to him in reference to his behavior or himself in any way. I always tell him that he made a poor decision, or that he shouldn’t do those naughty things.. That might help too, it seems to help with his attitude when he knows I don’t think he is a bad boy, just that he didn’t make a good judgement call.

        • Dawn

          Agreed, I never tell her she is naughty or that she is bad. I share your beliefs there. I’m sure I could stop her behavior in a minute if I didn’t mind also squashing her spirit. Have you read the Dr. Sears books about raising the spirited child? It seems like you have it mastered.

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