Most recently I had the unmitigated gall to pour her a cup of milk and serve it to her at the table. How dare I? In response? A milk boycott of epic proportions. She couldn't be near the tainted cup of milk, couldn't even have it in her eyesight, so ruined was this cup of milk that mom had the nerve to procure without Violet's careful instruction and subsequent assistance. Her highness has ruled the milk disgusting, UNDRINKABLE, therefore it must be sent into exile. And I am the worst mother ever what with all my willy-nilly, permissionless milk-pouring.
The aforementioned milk boycott manifested in Violet leaving the dinner table in tears and placing the small cup of milk on the floor of the living room, like some sort of shrine or offering to the Milk Gods, where she wouldn't have to see it and where Max would immediately gulp it down without regard for the Milk Gods. And then, AND THEN, 30 seconds later she calmly requested "Cold milk, please." in a no nonsense tone that implied No more shit from you, lady, or there'll be hell to pay. As if the whole thing never even happened. Cool as a cucumber she got the milk out of the fridge and assisted in the pouring and returned to the table to drink it down, lickety-split.
This kind of thing happens all day long. If I dare pour milk (or attempt to accomplish any other similar task involving Violet) without express permission and assistance from her highness the milk is tainted, immediately rendered undrinkable and we must painstakingly repeat the milk-pouring routine to Violet's satisfaction. Same goes for snacks. Hand her a cookie from the container and it's no good, asshole. She must choose which cookie from the package on her own. Therefore, the offensive cookie mom grabbed from the package is put directly back and then she must wave some kind of magic wand in her brain to erase what just happened because she then proceeds to pick a cookie as if one wasn't just given to her. Sometimes the cookie she chooses is the very same one I just handed her and sometimes the cookie choosing process involves up to five minutes of handling seven to ten cookies before her little fingers settle on just the right one. As if the fate of the planet rests in this one decision. Violet is Ben Affleck and the cookie is a giant asteroid headed straight for Earth. Minutes tick by, months tick by, Jessica Simpson gets pregnant for forever again and gives birth in the time it takes Violet to pick a cookie. It's like she's mentally communicating with the cookies, determining whose time is up. Back and forth between this cookie and that. Back and forth, this one or that one?
Finally, after what feels like three hours, when my insides are begging for mercy, screaming for the kid to just CHOOSE A FUCKING COOKIE ALREADY she plucks one from the pack and utters the sweetest "Thanks, mama!" you ever heard and, like the Grinch, my heart immediately grows three sizes. Of course, it immediately shrinks like a dick in cold water ten minutes later when she tries to kick Henry down the stairs, but, well, you gotta take these small mom victories where you can get 'em.
She's also turned into a big ol' know-it-all. But she's twisted. For example, if we're driving through the woods I'll say, "Look Violet, we're in the woods." Her immediate disgruntled response is "That's not woods, it's a forest!" The fact that I'm an ignorant asshole is implicitly implied. Okay, all right, I'll go with your forest, kid. The difference is negligible. But recently she's just started fucking with me. "Look, chickens!" I'll say in feigned Mom Excitement as we pass a bunch of scraggily chickens meandering down a country road. "That's not chickens, that's cows!" She'll yell at me as if she finds my stupidity astounding on levels that I couldn't even possibly understand. That's when some inner need to prove to a 3-year-old that I'm not an asshole takes over and i respond "No, those aren't cows, they're chickens, silly."
Big mistake. Huge.
"NO, NO, NO! Cows! COWS! Not chickens!" I mean, she's just messing with me like some tom cat batting around a defenseless little mouse, isn't she? We're both looking at an assload of chickens, clear as day. She knows these are chickens, dammit. If I'm feeling feisty (suicidal) I'll try one more time. "No, look, chickens. What does the chicken say? Bawk, bawk, bawk!" My confidence is faltering and the forced joviality backfires. The kid smells fear like a cadaver dog closing in on remains.
NO NO NO NO NO. That's not chickens, IT'S COWS. COWS! COOOOWS! Then she checkmates me with the waterworks. There we are, arguing over chickens and cows and Henry's gawking at her like, Oh for Chrissakes, what kind of shenanigans are you trying to pull here? Even I know the difference between a bunch of chickens and cows. But it doesn't matter, people. Those chickens are cows now as far as this family is concerned.
"Okay, all right. They're cows!" I'll say.
The tears stop immediately and I swear to God I see her smirk and then, as if nothing untoward just occurred, in the sweetest, kindest voice you ever heard she says "Ice cream?"
Mom - 0, Violet - WINNING
You can read Serge's version of the same scenario here: Conversations With A 3-Year-Old Part II