If you have toddlers you know the deep breath of which I speak, it’s the one you let out as soon as the little ones are in bed and you’re able to sit down in peace and quiet, taking a moment to congratulate yourself on surviving another day of parenting young children.
GOOD JOB YOU.
Tonight was the first night in my parenting experience that I witnessed two little girls in the bathtub screaming, “MINE!” back and forth at each other over a washcloth. A WASHCLOTH. It’s amazing how well those three plastic walls echo in that tiny little space, isn’t it? The tub was an effort to get them to calm down after screaming, “MINE!” at each other over – wait for it – LED candles. Vivi wanted to stack them, Addie wanted to arrange them by height. It went well enough, Addie can hold her patience with Vivi fairly well, but there are times when the baby of the family just butts right into what Addie is doing. And I don’t think Addie should have to hand over what she’s doing to Vivi just because Vivi is younger and screams, “MINE!” all. the. time. Addie knows if she truly want to play alone she has to do it out of sight of Vivi, behind closed doors. Thankfully she loves her little sister so much that there aren’t many times when she’d rather play alone than with Vivi. But when the two of them get into “MINE!” matches, whew.
Sometimes the timing of Vivi and her shouts of, “MINE! MINE! MINE!” are kind of funny, but as parenting goes, you’re not allowed to laugh lest the little people you’re forming into responsible adults assume it to be acceptable (and humorous) behavior. My final grocery store trip of the day ended with me peeling a toddler off the floor, who was screaming, “MINE!” at a wall of gift cards. A bomb could have gone off and I wouldn’t have noticed with all the yelling and delft maneuvers I made so she wouldn’t slam her head on the hard concrete floor.
We’re in one of those phases. The one where Vivi tries to exert her power, independence, and authority while Cody and I attempt to
squash her resolve redirect her anger and teach her what is acceptable behavior and what simply won’t fly. Another fun *thing* she’s started doing? The plywood sit into the stroller, carseat and shopping cart. I’m not very tall, so trying to get a kid who refuses to bend their legs into a Costco shopping cart is probably HYSTERICAL for onlookers. Cody had to learn this past weekend about buckling an absolutely board stiff toddler into a stroller (THROW AND BUCKLE! THROW AND BUCKLE!) and the “MINE!” thing. Oh, the mine thing.
Way to stand up for yourself kid, but let’s work on, “Please,” shall we? It doesn’t help that MINE is much easier to scream than PLEASE, not to mention the whole idea of, “Please,” is kind of lost on kids of a certain age, yet we as parents keep encouraging “pleases” and ignoring “MINE!” in a solemn hope that one day it will click.
And one day it will click, or I’ll simply go mad in the process.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.