When Elsie is running around like a mad thing and I need her to calm down and get ready for bed, or eat her dinner, or generally behave more like a human being and less like a wild animal I tend to bring her to me, give her a big cuddle and look into those big brown eyes. 'Calm down, my love' I say, 'try and calm down.'
Sometimes she stays for the cuddle, the thumb might sneak over to her mouth and it works. Generally though, she gives me a cheeky smile, pulls away from me and carries on as before.
The other day, I was asking her not to do something. Details escape my poor tired brain, but let's say I was asking her not to kick the back of my seat in the car. It was definitely in the car.
'Why not Mummy?' she asked, all innocent sweetness.
'Well, when you kick my seat, I can feel it in my back and it's not very comfortable.'
'This isn't comfortable?' she asked, giving the seat a good kick to double-check.
'No! Elsie please stop, not only might you hurt me, but the back of my seat will be all muddy from your shoes.'
'Muddy?' she twisted her foot around to check, and scraped it along the back of the seat in the process.
'Elsie!!' I shouted, losing my cool completely. 'Why can't you just take my word for it and do as I ask sometimes? Why do you have to check everything I say is true? It's it true! STOP KICKING MY SEAT!'
'Mummy!' Elsie said, quietly but firmly. 'Caaaaahhhhhlm down.' I turned round in surprise. There she was, hands out in front of her, bringing them down slowly in a perfect copy of my familiar gesture. 'Calm down, Mummy.' she repeated. 'Don't shout.'