There are words and experiences that I have never given much thought to, that is, until becoming a mommy. All of us parents know that relevancy is everything when it comes to those cathartic moments when something suddenly makes sense. Whether we experience our parents channeling through us or a popular phrase or parody plays out right before our eyes, we begin to understand the facts and myths of life with little darlings. I offer the following examples as derived from my own personal experiences. My guess is, if you live with anyone averaging an age of 2 years old, chances are you can relate to more than a couple.
1. Are we there yet???: Typically this phrase is heard in the tone of a whine or whimper. It is powerful in its ability to disturb concentration and devour even the most enduring stamina of patience. For this reason, when used in consistent succession which it typically is, it often exhausts efforts of rational response and is ultimately met with intolerant brief orders. An example of such sequence may include “Not yet, Soon, Just a little bit longer, When the car stops, I know you don’t want to be in the car any longer” and then followed by a more severe series of “Don’t ask again, Stop asking, We’re just going to go home if you continue, It’s necessary to be in the car to get places.” I have to say I don’t recall asking this in my own childhood (although more than likely I did) and prior to having a toddler I figured it was just something that people exaggerated as a side effect of innocent curiosity. Not so, this phenomenon is in fact TRUE, and my guess is that it’s probably the second leading cause of “If I have to stop this car” syndrome.
2. Car = Sleep: Continuing on our automotive theme, it was during my first pregnancy that I heard the circulating rumor that assured me that if I should fall into the unlucky fortune of having a sleep dis-liking infant, the car was going to be the answer. Mothers both young and old described that this was a “well known secret” of sorts. The soothing motion, white noise, etc. Right, this was now my well known secret and confidence booster. As I do in fact have, not one, but two sleep dis-likers I must say that either I had high expectations or the world has not met my two. While the car has helped on more than a few occasions, it is not a sure-fire certain fix that my darlings, despite a high level of exhaustion will fall asleep in the car. In fact, we have driven so many ‘wasted’ miles in an effort to lull the unlullable, that with gas prices as they are, we could have taken a family vacation. Maybe a plane ride would have worked better. I sadly stand defeated in this department and have to say MYTH.
3. I spy = Good game for all ages: So what do you do when you’re in the car and you’re not there yet, and your kids aren’t sleeping? You play a game. A game like I spy. A game which seems like it could be fun and attention-keeping to prevent in transit melt-downs. Only, playing I spy with a toddler turns out to be quite literal.
My darling: Mommy, I spy something brown that you look through and it’s your sunglasses.
Mommy: Oh sweetheart, you don’t tell mommy what it is you’re seeing, you just give mommy clues (here’s an example) Ok? Let’s try again.
My darling: Ok mommy, I spy something sparkly and pretty and gold. (Pause) It’s my shoe mommy!
Mommy: Darling, you told me what it is you saw, so now mommy can’t guess. How about I spy something and you guess. I spy something black and white.
My darling: What is it mommy?
Mommy: I’ll give you some more clues, let’s see if you can guess. It’s soft and comfortable.
My darling: What is it mommy, just tell me. I don’t like playing this game.
And there you have it folks, no fun for anyone. And usually a rapid segue to “Are we there yet???”
I spy is not appropriate for all ages. MYTH.
4. Ice Cream = Happy: I scream, You scream, We all scream for Ice Cream. Clearly it was the parent of a toddler who coined this phrase as he or she observed the abundant screaming that really goes on. However, there is really none like the shrieking shrills of excitement over ice cream. Now I like ice cream, but I’m not a “If I had to choose one food for the rest of my life it would be ice cream” kind of a person, which is why it perplexes me even further to understand the magical powers of ice cream, over almost any other treat in fact. Amazingly, ice cream seems to produce the fastest recovery time from almost any ill, whether a hurt feeling or a hurt knee or just your average daily spastic meltdown, the mention of ice cream seems to triage and salvage even the most critical situations. I have personally witnessed hysterics, unsoothable by most anything else, completely cease within milliseconds of tasting this cold treat. The tears didn’t even stop falling and the smile was already there. Truly amazing. (So yeah, in some situations we’re ok with sweet treats as soothers versus emotional processing and support). I think it isn’t hard to find adults who agree that ice cream = happy which is further validation that beyond the laws of nature and the ability to explain this in fact, is a FACT.
5. Five second rule: In my former life, prior to having kids, I adamantly said NO, that it is not OK to salvage food. Your goods hit the ground they belong to the ground (of course you pick them up and discard properly, but you get what I mean). However, as us parents know, this isn’t always a controllable situation. Not only are our children inquisitive scavengers who pick up everything they see regardless of whether it once belonged to them or not, they have no concept of time, wiping ‘extra additives’ off, or to just let something go. Unless you are super-humanly fast, it is likely that you will not intercept that lollypop going back in the mouth after having hit the ground 100% of the time. Unless you have an immediate replacement of equal or greater value, you will lose the battle. Being sensitive to germs myself (I phrase this very lightly), I have struggled with keeping my freakout reaction to a mild minimum. Over time I have worked on rationalizing that unless it’s wickedly horrible, dangerous, poisonous, or contaminated, they will be alright. So in fact, I have to say the five second rule is a MYTH as it’s more accurately the 35 second rule by the time those little hands retrieve their missing item. (Grateful for health benefits)
6. Cool = Calm = Collected: It is no coincidence that these three C’s are clustered together. There is something highly correlative between overheating and the complete and utter breakdown of little darlings. On more than one occasion I have witnessed my babies whimper and complain, cry and seemingly dissolve over being hot. It doesn’t seem to matter that we are somewhere “fun”, somewhere they wanted to be, like the zoo or the farm, an amusement park, or an outdoor adventure. It doesn’t seem to matter that it’s summer! That it’s hot and that everyone is hot! They completely malfunction! It is not until they are cooled down by way of water or air-conditioning and endless hydration that they gain their senses and turn human again. I can’t say that I blame them but the immediate decompensation is astonishing and drastic. So if there’s one sure way to prepare for an enjoyable experience, it’s to keep them cool! This is a FACT.
7. Love means never having to say you’re sorry: Interestingly, it depends on who you’re asking. If you ask my three year old daughter, she would tell you without hesitation, exactly what it is you did that was not according to the ‘rules’ and the exact manner and verbiage which she expects to hear from you in an effort to rectify the situation. So no, according to little darlings, love means you have to say you’re sorry, quite often. However, if you ask most parents, they’ll probably agree that their heart automatically, and almost instantly forgives just about any wrong their darling causes. I can only relate this to the abundant unyielding unconditional love that is sacredly shared between parent and child. Often the exchange is unspoken and unacknowledged, just felt and known in a way that is deeply inherent. So it seems this is a MYTHICAL FACT.
And so it goes, the more we live, the more we learn (FACT) and get to know what works and what doesn’t, for us, in our lives. We constantly prove and disprove our own hypotheses and theories and the greater lesson becomes to laugh and enjoy the process. And of course to share and support each other along the way, especially when we stand corrected, or defeated, whichever.