Thanks for Reminding Me

February 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.

Project Funway
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.

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13 Comments »

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  1. As always, simply fabulous. I just can’t imagine what I will do when I hear my little girl speaking in such a grown-up way!

  2. I have chills – Fynn’s teetering on the same toddler/boy thing… and it makes me weepy and proud and love him even more than I thought I could.
    It’s breathtaking watching these little beings grow and learn.
    I can just picture the scene where she said “Thanks for reminding me!” too cute 🙂

  3. I can’t wait until I watch my baby girl grow into this stage!

  4. Gee…she is going to want the car keys soon!!

  5. This is interesting. Flora is still in the “ohh look, something shiny” phase of cleaning a room. She needs to be told over and over again — but this goes for anything: getting dressed in the morning, getting undressed for bath time, etc. The girl has an attention span of a gnat. Or her father.

    Now kate OTOH can clean. With maybe just one reminder. It’s weird to think that in one area, she already passed her sister in maturity.

  6. Oh, I have many moments like this. My 3-year-old’s nature stuns me; she is a polite, helpful girl and I have no idea where she gets it. I find it hard to imagine it was anything we did.

    And yes, I know that first line. I know it all too well.

  7. Corinne’s my 3rd and I’m still amazed at how quickly they grow up. She’s able to theorize and empathize and create and… amaze me. I never fail to be amazed at the growth of a child.

  8. It really is amazing to see the changes they make. I am constantly awed by the KID my BABY is becoming. I love it. And hate it. I want to slow down time. And I want to speed it up so I can see all of the wonderful things she will become.

  9. how sweet it is to have such a big girl! it is crazy how much they learn from us. what a wonderful mommy you are!

  10. email me and we can chat about disney

    mommynamedapril at gmail.com

  11. If my kid ever requested peas for dinner, I’d pee my pants.

  12. S:
    It’s my job to teach her to swear — I know all the good words! 🙂

  13. AH – – the first days when you go from being Mommy to Mom! Have no fear though! Because as she grows, she will soon revert back to using Mommy – – when she wants something! They realize too quickly that we miss being Mommy – and when they bat those pretty little eyes and call us Mommy, we have to try with all our might not to become mush! Great post!


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