The other day, I had my folks pick up the kids from daycare for me. I was sick and didn’t have the energy to do it myself.
When they got to the front door, my 3 1/2 year old son picked up the newspaper, handed it to my father and said, “Here, bring this in. My daddy likes to read it when he’s making caca.”
The kid is a sponge. He picks up everything he sees and hears, absorbs it and when pressed, releases it back into the world – through his 3 year old filter, of course.
A few weeks ago, he caught me slipping a tampon into my purse.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Nothing you have to worry about.”
“You put it in your underpants?”
“You put it in your underpants and it goes all gone in your vagina?”
We have to be so careful around him. And her too, of course, because monkey see, monkey do. Whenever we say anything to her, she looks up at you with her big green eyes and says, “Vy?”
She can’t even talk yet! And she’s asking why!
I’ve been saving this message on my voicemail for I don’t even know how long. The boy called me from Bubby’s house, and was confused by the answering machine.
“Who’s dat talkin’?” he asked.
I wish I could remember the original date of the message, as it’s updated every 14 days when I re-save it. A year ago? 18 months? His voice is so young, with so few words – just like his sister’s speech now.
And yet such a short time later, he’s so incredibly articulate. He knows exactly what’s on his mind and how best to express it.
A few weeks back, I tried to take him to his first movie. It didn’t help that it was freezing in the theatre (busted heating system), but when the lights came down and the volume went up, he scrambled into my lap. By the time the trailers were done and the opening credits were rolling, he turned around and said -
“Mommy, do you know? Do you know it’s very loud in here AND THAT’S WHY WE HAVE TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW!”
And with that, he flew out of my lap and bolted for the exit.
Too soon, I guess.
Walking out to the car, he turned to me and said, “We’ll try that again when I’m 5. Okay, Mommy? 5.”
And the easy way in which he takes in and processes his environment really makes me think about how kids really learn from example. It probably doesn’t matter what we tell them. It’s how we act. How we act with them,their siblings, our spouses, our parents.
I ran through a quick mental checklist: We never fight in front of the kids. We spend a great deal of time together, as a family. We’re affectionate – though not always with each other. The boy gets a big kick out of it when daddy hugs or kisses mommy. The girl not so much.
But there are certainly places where we could be setting a better example. Cooperation, domestic tasks (though we’re pretty good with that – they think the weekly cleaning lady does all the work), respect, patience… need I go on?
So I’m really going to try to watch myself now, and watch how my husband is too, though I wouldn’t dare put in my 2 cents there. We’ve each got to wait for our own light bulbs to go on, right?
And for all I know, his may have gone on a long time and I just need to catch up.