If I offer other types of choices where she has to quantify her feelings or how much she likes something, especially if she likes something over another something, she looks at me blankly or gets frustrated.
Mommy: Gracie, which do you like better: pumpkin muffins or apple muffins?
Gracie: I… but… YOU CAN NOT MAKE ME CHOICE THOSE! THAT WAS A BAD! CHOICE!
Mommy: Do you like both?
Gracie: I eat both.
Mommy: Do you like pumpkin more than apple?
Gracie: YOU ask TOO MANY QUESTIONS!
Mommy: If I make muffins right now, which muffins would you like me to make?
If I ask her leading questions about her day, about new things we did or tried, it’s very similar.
Mommy: Gracie, did you have art class today?
Gracie: We did leaf impressions. I colored them…
Mommy: How much did you enjoy it?
Gracie: Ummmm… that is not a very good question.
Mommy: Did you like coloring with real leaves?
Gracie: I had fun.
Mommy: A lot of fun?
Gracie: I don’t know.
Mommy: Okay. Did you like coloring leaf impressions so much that you would like to teach your sisters and me how to do them at home?
Gracie: NO! Never ask me again! Leaves belong outside!
Mommy: Gracie, did you have pizza?
Gracie: I had pizza! It had pepperoni!
Mommy: Was there cheese pizza too?
Gracie: Yes. I had pepperoni.
Mommy: Do you like plain cheese pizza too?
Gracie: It is PIZZA.
Mommy: Which flavor do you like better? Plain cheese with nothing else? Or pepperoni?
Gracie: I like PIZZA!
Mommy: If I ordered you a pizza right now, what kind would you want me to order?
She must think I have this weird obsession that requires her to quantify everything. I’m learning how to rephrase and break the habit of adding, “how much” and other qualifiers onto questions with her. I think that’s really what throws her off. I should probably simply present two choices and ask her which one she wants and let HER be the one to choose to clarify as needed. She also doesn’t necessarily see where I’m going with a line of questioning, so she sees things as pointless. I have to also learn to just get to the point and be a lot more direct with her. I would save her a lot of frustration.
Thinking about it, she doesn’t use very many qualifiers in her speech. She doesn’t use “a lot” or “a little” when she talks about liking things or disliking things. She simply says she likes it, dislikes it, loves it, or hates it. That’s it. Four descriptors. When she loves someone, she just loves them. She doesn’t love someone MORE than someone else unless it’s her baby cousins. Because, duh, she clearly loves babies MORE than anyone else.
I really look forward to more expansive conversations when she’s older, if she’ll allow it. I have to be careful right now because if she gets too upset by too much questioning I risk triggering a meltdown or overly frustrating her enough that she’ll shut down and refuse to speak for a while.
Or maybe I have it all wrong. Any insight?