Today while “playing” with her brother, my 4-year-old daughter started shouting, “NO! How many times do I have to tell you that?” rhythmically stressing every other syllable.
I stopped what I was doing. Yeesh. Is that what I sound like?
And, regrettably, the answer is yes. Because admittedly, her father doesn’t sound like that, the adults at her school all speak Dutch, and TV parents have perfectly behaved kids these days. So yeah, that would be me.
Look. I’m not saying that I don’t incorporate child-affirming language into my daily interactions with the kids. There are plenty of “I’m listening”s and “I’m proud of you”s in there. And there should be more. But, like block towers, early parenthood is a work in progress (if progress can be defined by constant cycles of very colorful chaos followed by faithful, if fragile, re-assembly).
But, as even the most positive, gentle parent knows, for every “You can do it!”, your small child needs at least half a dozen “Don’t do that!“s. This is not to stunt their creative spirits, but often simply to keep those spirits in the flesh a bit longer.
So, I dedicate this little post especially to my fellow stay-at-homers, whose entire daily transcripts may or may not resemble what I imagine to be* (in no particular order):
My 30 most-uttered (SFW) phrases as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM):
- Don’t do that, sweetie.
- Come here, please.
- What happened?
- Do you have to go potty?
- Where are your shoes?
- Why are you all sticky?
- Honey… Momma’s asking you something.
- What are you doing?
- Why are you doing that?
- Do you need help?
- Ok, now where’s your other shoe?
- Is that water or pee-pee?
- Well, let’s clean it up.
- Didn’t you just have a snack?
- That’s not asking.
- Ok, would you like X or Y?
- We don’t have that.
- Maybe later.
- Eat that at the table.
- Down from there!
- Are you ok?
- Where does it hurt?
- All better?
- Yeah, ok. I’m watching, go ahead!
- That was great!
- Ok, but last time.
- Fine. But really last-last-last time this time.
- Honey, please don’t make me ask you again.
- ONE….. TWO…… THREE.
- I SAID NOW!!!!!!!!!!
- Sorry Momma shouted.
- I love you so much.
*This list was not scientifically assembled. I lack the energy, technology, and most of all courage to record what actually sound like on any given day. For example, there’s also probably a lot more “not right now”s than I’d care to hear. (But also, I think, more giggles than “sh*t!”s.)
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P.P.S. What’s on your list?