My 3-year-old was having one of those mornings today where he was willing to do just about anything for my attention, even if it was negative. Granted, it was my fault — I penned him and his sister in a room full of (dazzling, entertaining, educational) toys so I could do a few things around the house before we started our day (brush my teeth, ponytail, pee solo) instead of keeping him engaged with activities and my full participation. So upon my return, he began doing things he knew he wasn’t supposed to do and would then shoot me that shifty toddler side-glance to make sure I was noticing. (For the record, it’s hard not to notice getting whipped by the business end of Tow Mater while he spins with the truck’s rope in his outstretched hand.)
Touting myself as the best mom ever, I suggested we skip our errands for the morning and just head straight to a playground. We can enjoy this end-of-summer weather while he burns off some energy, and I would save the errands for a time when the threat of him melting into an angry puddle on the floor or licking the public garbage can was less prominent (LESS). He was thrilled.
“But we need to remember,” I cautioned to him gently, hoping to snap him out of the mischievous mode. “What do we need to do to make sure we’re having a FUN day, and not a day with crying or yelling or maybe even having to leave early?” Make sure we’re following the rules, being nice to everyone, and playing safely, I recited in my head. It’s a sentiment I repeat so often I expected him to just spit it out without even having to stop pretend-drilling his sister’s hair.
“Feed. The. Mommy,” he said instead, matter-of-factly.
Yep. I’ll go ahead and take the applesauce.