Me (at the brink of insanity): Manya you have not been listening and you have been really acting up, I am sorry but your screen privileges for the rest of the day have been withdrawn.
M (at her cruel best): That is not fair. You are being a mean mom.
Me (trying hard to keep it civil at my end): Well, you do admit that you have been giving me a tough time today. I warned you not to push my buttons.
M (in complete earnestness): You are not even wearing buttons - I never pushed anything. I use my words.
Me (trying hard to keep a straight face): Pushing buttons means annoying or troubling a person till they lose their cool.
M (the devil is back): So are you withdrawing my screen privileges because you lost your cool.
Me (fumbling): errr, umm, errrmmm, no. I am withdrawing them because you were having an unnecessary tantrum. You tell me what should I do when you are not behaving yourself - you don't like me raising my voice, you don't accept timeouts, now you don't want me to take away your privileges.
M (in that absolute adorable face): You can hug me and kiss me.
Me (trying to not get dissuaded by this put on innocence): That is always how I start but you refuse to listen.
M: Then continue hugging and kissing me.
Me (trying not to melt): That's not fair Manya - you know you don't come around easily.
M (the horns are back): Withdrawing privileges is not going to help. Screen time is not even a privilege.
Me: It is. You don't get it, you earn it to deserve it.
M: Okay, I will earn it back. How?
Me (finally beginning to feel back in control of the situation): That's the spirit. Here let me put up a chart for you. Every time you are being exceptional, you'll get a + and when you are being really difficult, you get a -. Get your +'s up.
M (with complete dismissal): This is nonsense.
Me (she did not just say that): Watch your language Manya.
M (in great accusatory tone): Fine. But if I had to withdraw your privileges, I don't even need a chart - you would only get minuses for your bad mommy behaviour.
Me (given up on sanity): I don't see that attitude helping the chart.
M (in utter defiance): I will change it if I need screen time.
This 4 year old is going to ensure I really lose it. While at it, can we also get over with teenage already. Just in case you are still reading, I have not given up, not yet.