Every afternoon, there is a moment when I have to broach the subject of “nap” with the 3-year-old. The target time is 2:00, but sometimes it can be as late as 3:00 before he finally goes in to lay down. This afternoon was typical – The Negotiations started around 1:40 and concluded at 2:30 when we finally went in to prep for nap. Included in the daily Negotiations is the toddler’s choice of “nap buddy”. This has evolved from a time when he was ill and the only way to console him and get him to rest was to have someone cuddle with him. Now, in order to take a nap, he must have someone to snuggle with. Sometimes it is Mommy and sometimes it is Daddy. Today, Daddy had already gone in to lay down. He contracted the mother of all head colds and has been feeling terrible for two days. The toddler was finishing up his lunch, and chose that time to make his opening move in The Negotiations.
Toddler: Are we going to take our nap?
Mommy: I don’t know about “we.” You are going to take your nap.
Toddler: Are you going to come in and lay down with me?
(Mommy is distracted and doesn’t answer within the first four seconds.)
Toddler: I’ll take that as a “Yes”.
When a somewhat common phrase in adult communications issues forth from you child’s mouth, it causes you to stop and reflect on what you say during the course of the day and how much of it your child is really absorbing. Needless to say, that process is terrifying. You think of all the things that roll oh, so easily, off of your own tongue, and discover that, the same verbiage expressed by your offspring would be entirely mortifying. You vow, then and there, that you will police yourself much better in the future. You will be the parent that other parents aspire to be. You will be the best role model you child could ever have.
I was in the middle of this reverie when my child tried to hop down off his chair after finishing his lunch. In doing so, he caught his foot, and ended up falling. It wasn’t a big fall, and he wasn’t hurt. It was, however, enough for him to turn his head, glare at the chair and say, “dammit!”
Still going to try and police myself? I’ll take that as a “Yes.”