I Spend My Life Saying …
As a parent, it sometimes feels like every day is much like the one before. The same routine of feeding and changing, and trying to get little ones to sleep so that you can get ready to feed and change, and you do it all over and over, again and again. And while the moments in between can be pure magic (have you heard a baby giggle lately? Or had a toddler try to tell you a joke?), it often seems that you go through periods of time where your routine and speech are on repeat.
Put on your shoes.
Don’t torment your sister.
Did you wipe?
Did you flush?
Yeah, I say these a lot. So, based on my own parenting experience, here are the various phrases that can escape my lips almost automatically, seemingly hundreds of times during any given 24-hour period. Maybe you’ve spent your life saying some of the same?
We don’t eat (fill in the blank).
When you’re parenting a newborn, that beautiful, wondrous little human just lays there for what feels like extremely long periods of time, looking up at you. And it’s easy to think, “Geez, I can’t wait until he starts moving.”
And then he does and you think, “Wait. Wait! I didn’t mean it like this.”
Because what is his mission number one, the entire basis of what he wants to do once he realizes he can roll and scoot and crawl? To taste the WORLD. Dirty sneakers? Check. Couch legs? Check. Dog food? (Hey, at least it’s food, right?) Check. And there you are, following him around, trying to save your possessions from the trail of baby drool that’s quickly taking over your entire home.
Good luck with that.
Couches are for sitting.
And then, just when you feel like they might ease up on eating everything in sight, they discover a new kind of fun. Standing. Climbing. Bouncing. Jumping. My sweet little girl figured out how to climb before she could walk; and as toddlers aren’t equipped with fear sensors that suggest, perhaps, a coffee table or the back of a couch aren’t the best places to stand, she would proudly boost her tiny, diapered butt on top of anything that provided footholds for climbing.
I’d run to the restroom, only desiring approximately 25 seconds to pee, while her twin brother and 3-year-old sister either cheered her on or sobbed hysterically due to becoming a not-quite-voluntary boost for her to step on in her quest for the top.
And before my 25, hopeful seconds were had, I’d hear those maniacal giggles from the other room and desperately call out, “Couches are for sitting!”
You get what you get and you don’t get upset.
I have three children. They were all born within a not-quite-two-year period. As such, they share many of the same interests and wishes. I can’t count the number of times all three wanted to claim the same cupcake, or tricycle, or spot on the couch for reading time. I’ll let you in on a little know-how – promising a sobbing two-year-old that she can have it “next time” is like saying “I killed your puppy.”
Instead, I adopted a mantra. In reality, it’s as much for me as it is for them. Just keep repeating it as you block out the noise – You get what you get and you don’t get upset. You get what you get and you don’t get upset.
We look with our eyes, not our hands.
Remember when I mentioned having three kids in less than two years? (I got a surprise 2-for-1 deal the second time around.)Well, it took me almost another two years before I could visit any place of business that didn’t offer carts that I could safely strap them into while shopping.
Think about your favorite spot to shop, browse the aisles, and pick up a few things. Now imagine three small children, each running in a different direction with arms outstretched, wanting to touch everything. Nightmarish, right?
They’re a bit older these days; and instead of saying it under my breath over and over (and over again) the entire time we’re in a store, I can now just stand in the doorway and give them a quick reminder that “We look with our eyes …” and they’ll finish the sentence for me. And we can shop (mostly) in peace.
I can’t understand you when you whine.
Ah, whining. The favored method of communication for kids around the world (and the reason we’re reaching for the Advil and wine bottle at bedtime). This automated phrase has a certain simplicity to it, making it easy to repeat when the assault on your eardrums is in full effect.
Even better? Whisper it. Helping your child find real words at a decreased volume to express themselves? Priceless.
I love you.
This one is the most important. There’s never a wrong time to say it. In the midst of a raging meltdown? I love you. While cuddling on the couch? I love you. After your frustrated 6-going-on-16-year-old calls you the worst mommy in the world? I love you.
While they still manage to eat things they shouldn’t, climb on furniture, pitch fits, make shopping trips miserable, and whine about completely nonsensical things, I do. I love them. And even more than I want them to be well-behaved, well-groomed, polite, funny, and intelligent (because I want them to be all those things!), I want them to know, more than anything and no matter what, they are loved.
I want to know – what do you feel like you spend your life saying? Share in the comments!