Just when you think you can pat yourself on the back and are flying high in the "My good example is really paying off" clouds, your kid says something or does something to bring you straight back down to earth. For example, a couple of months ago, I (randomly) decided I was sick and tired of Zoe kicking off her shoes every single time we go somewhere in the car. I've never really cared in the past, but I suppose once this second child came along it just became one more thing I have to do when I get out of the car, so I asked her to just please stop taking her shoes off. She didn't listen for a while, and I'd always get annoyed with her, but all of the sudden a few weeks ago she started saying "Mommy, do you mind if I take my shoes off?" I couldn't believe my ears! I was so pleased that she asked that I said "You know what? I guess it doesn't matter--go ahead! Thanks for asking I really appreciate it!" and she would say, (ever so sweetly) "You're welcome, Mommy!" From then on for the next few weeks every time she asked I'd say the same thing and always be sure to say "Zoe, you know, I really appreciate you asking me first. Thank you so much!" Then, the other day, she asked and I was in a not-so-patient mood (which RARELY happens, I swear) so I said "Actually no, just keep 'em on today please, Bug." Then I heard one PLUNK and two PLUNKs and I said "Zoe. Did you just take your shoes off?" and she said "Yeah, Mommy." I said "Why did you even ask me if you were just going to take them off anyway?"....Silence....."Thanks a lot, Zoe."......"You're welcome, Mommy."
Well, of course I can't HELP but notice now that this is the pattern with everything. She sweetly asks "Mommy, do you mind if I..." and no matter what my answer is, she does whatever she wants to do. Boy oh boy. I guess the good thing to come of it is that sometimes I realize that my requests are kind of silly. I mean, if her shoes are easy enough to kick off in half a second then they are honestly just as easy to slip back on so what am I getting my nose all out of joint for in the first place, right?
Another bone of contention I have with this kid is that I have asked her not to lick her lips. She was doing it so much and with so much gusto in the beginning of the winter that the skin under her bottom lip was getting all red and chapped. I started telling her why that was happening so was gently reminding her not to do it whenever I saw her tongue covering up half her face. It didn't take too long for her to stop doing it as much so I haven't had to remind her in a long time. Then randomly the other day she said "Mommy, when I was at school, sometimes I do that thing with my tongue." and I said "Oh yeah, why is that?" and she said "Because sometimes when I don't see you, I don't listen to you." Oh great! Well, of course what could I do but just say "Oh well" and laugh it off because the truth of the matter is that she's with me most of the time and her little lip hasn't been chapped in weeks. It's working for me now at least. When she's a teenager I'll have to get more serious about this "When I don't see you..." business.