Friday, September 14, 2012

Teach Your Children Well

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.
B.B. King

In each day, I strive to teach Merrill a number of things.  It's a given that in the formative years of a baby's life, it is up to us as parents to help them learn the basics...such as walking, talking, using utensils instead of chubby fingers to shovel food into their mouths, etc.  We take great pride in our ability to help our tiny offspring master such tasks.  We brag about it to other parents during playdates or at the playground, discuss it with strangers in grocery lines and share such milestones among ourselves at the end of the day. 

Now that she is three, I am sensing a subtle shift in the roles of teacher and student.  Sure, I'm still explaining many many many things in response to the ever present questions.  We discuss everything under the sun in great detail, and it never ceases to amaze me when I stop to think about the vast world of things she has yet to learn.  However, I'm also increasingly aware that when it comes to toddlers, they are very often the teachers...and you better pay attention, take notes, and remember everything you learn from them.  Otherwise, when you get it wrong, there will be hell to pay.  Tantrum-laden, wail-heavy, limp-bodied hell.

Things I have recently learned about Merrill:

For breakfast, she will want toast.  And an english muffin.  Or eggs.  But not cereal.  Or toast and cereal.  Or neither.  But no matter what you make, it is wrong and you will need to start over.

She LOVES (insert object, person, stuffed animal, show, food, etc.) until she doesn't.  And when she doesn't, get it the hell AWAY from her.  Quickly.

She will point at something, then immediately ask you where it is.

She is a big girl.  Unless she's a baby.

If it is whole, she wants it cut up.  If it's cut into pieces, she wants it "big".  If you peeled it, didn't peel it, heated it up, cooled it off, added something extra, took something off, you're wrong.  Start over. 

She will remember everything you say, promise, or discuss.  But she will never remember where she put the one thing you really need (the remote, your shoe, her blanket at naptime).

If you're going to take her someplace special, best not to mention it until you are actually en route...otherwise, the incessant chant of "when are we going" may indeed kill you.

She is a walking, talking contradiction.  Except when she isn't.