Thanks for Reminding MeFebruary 20, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Posted in Lollipop | 13 Comments
Perhaps there’s something there that wasn’t there before.
Don’t pretend you don’t know that line. From Beauty and the Beast. When the lovely Belle finally realizes there’s more to her hirsute suitor than fur. And growls.
And so it goes with Lollipop. Not the furry, growling part. The other part. The newness part. When I look at her these days, I so often see, well … something there that wasn’t there before.
Take last week. She spent “nap time” quietly ransacking her room. (She is a master of silent destruction.) From the looks of it, she put on a one-woman fashion show. Complete with tutus, pajamas, flip-flops, hooded towels super-capes, and the occasional foam alphabet letter accessory.
It was a hot mess. Which I said she would help me clean. And fully expected to do myself. While asking her 279 times to please pick up a shoe, a carpet fuzz, something, anything.
And that’s how it started. Me nagging: “Lollipop, what did I say?” Her deflecting: “Mommy, did you see this book about ducks I just found?” Me nagging: “Lollipop, I asked you to put away all the shoes.”
Outside the Box
And then, she floored me: “Oh, thanks for reminding me!”
Like I had asked her to get a new box of paper clips from the office supply closet. Or replace the water at the cooler. Or grab a round of lattes for everyone on her way back from lunch. So very grown-up.
Then she picked up every shoe — from the Dorothy-red sparkly ones to the polka-dot flip-flops the dog snacked on last week — and put them away. “They go in this box, Mommy. This one says shoes. See the ‘s’ and the ‘h’ together? That’s how you can tell.”
I had to park myself on her tiny green Ikea stool and take a moment. (No, the stool didn’t break. Yes, it took me about 11 minutes to heft myself up.)
Peas Be Polite
And I realized, my Lollipop, she’s teetering on the edge of toddler and girl. She’s still got her arsenal of toddler weapons: whining, baby talk, tantrums, imaginary boo-boos, the tenacity to repeat a question 86 times until someone pays attention. But, every once in a while, she breaks out with a gem like: “Mom, I would love to have peas for dinner.”
Or “Don’t let me forget, Mom, we’ve got to run by the post office after school.”
Or “I bet you’re tired of telling me that, Mom.”
Mom. Not Mommy. Let me take another moment …
Me Mommy, You Baby
Whew, OK. On some level, I know she’s just mimicking things she hears me say. (I know this because of the four naughty words I let slip last week when I dropped my cell phone down the stairs. The four naughty words that came out of her mouth verbatim, in order, every one not two minutes later. Oops.)
But on another level, I like to think I’m teaching her something. (Besides how to spew forth expletives.) How to be an empathetic human being, instead of a grunting, pointing cave-baby. How to be a problem-solver, instead of a tantrum-thrower. How to be a fashion plate, instead of a … wait, that’s all her.
A Slice of Humble Pie
When I hear her actually saying please and thank you, doing chores (cheerfully), using grown-up expressions in her decidedly sing-song little-girl voice, well, it makes me want to be a better parent. A better example. A better person. Who never uses naughty words, even when she’s pretty sure her phone is toast.
Pie in the sky? Probably. But can it hurt to try? Heck, no. (See, improvement already.)
And to my Lollipop, I want to say:
Thanks for reminding me.