“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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Bulk up in preparation for impending 1-to-3-year battle by eating all the French fries and lollipops.

Once bulked, to weaken the enemy’s resolve, refuse to eat anything except:

a. Cuties right before bed (eat only half and then hurl the remaining chewed up orange at the nearest large human)

b. Raisins right before you leave the house (again, hurl a few at the Enemy)

c. Pizza bites at all other times

On rare occasions, eat a few broccoli florets. Make sure the Enemy is watching. This gives them hope (suckers) and forces them to let down their defenses, making your next surprise hunger strike offensive a crushing blow.

When the Enemy appears agitated by people, places, or things other than yourself, feign weakness and console them with weapons of war like hugs and sweet smiles. Throw in an “I love you” if you’re feeling especially stealth. Then, just when they appear relaxed and soothed, ATTACK. This can be accomplished in several ways: by dropping to the floor in a sudden, unprovoked rage; by pouring a large cup of milk onto the floor (very slowly, making eye contact as you pour); or by hiding their keys between the logs in the fireplace.

To assert your supreme excellence and claim all territories as your own, wage mini-battles whenever you’re in a public place. Refuse to sit in a high chair, wail and scream when you’re hoisted into a car seat, or fling your body onto the asphalt in a busy parking lot for no reason at all. The Enemy will waste precious energy and stamina in their attempt to soothe you and keep others from staring, making it easier for you to manipulate them for the rest of the day because they are so traumatized and exhausted by your tactics.

Remember that whining is a weapon that takes warrior-like discipline to perfect. Wielded correctly, it can cripple the Enemy in 20 seconds or less.

Rally the troops. Cousins, siblings, your neighbor — anyone with an agenda that matches yours will do. Entice them to draw on walls, or run screaming through the house as soon as you see your Enemy put a phone to their ear and say, “Hello?” Remember, there is strength in numbers. Plus, it’s noisier.

Become a master of espionage. Watch when the Enemy doesn’t think you’re watching. Learn all of the skills without letting them know you’re actually absorbing anything, so that they expend precious energy reserves teaching you how to “go potty,” how to dress yourself, or how to brush your teeth. You understand how to do these things but they don’t need to know that yet. Let them suffer.

You know how your Enemy gets all red-faced when you start maniacally throwing around all of the clothes and socks and towels they just painstakingly folded? Do that often. You are too adorable and small to re-fold the clothes, and this reinforces their (false) image of you as a harmless innocent who would never intentionally harm them (ha).

Turn your own weakness into strength. When you’re tired after refusing to nap for two weeks straight, channel that feeling into a burst of superhuman energy, mania, and anger that drives the Enemy to tears. Let their agony fuel your lunacy.

When you do go to bed, make sure to position yourself so that the Enemy has a perfect image of you on the monitor, so that they can stare lovingly at your innocent sleeping face for much longer than is necessary. This causes all memory of your battlefield tactics to be erased from their feeble mind so that you can rise to fight — and win — another day.