Here’s why you should clean your house–sometimes, you go into the archives of mess and find inadvertently-preserved glimpses of an older life. Six and a half years ago, I took a writing class when I was mother of a 2-year-old and an infant, and had to write a transcript of 15 minutes of my life. I don’t know about you, but reading it makes me pretty tired. Is this your life, too?
If you want to come down from the highchair, you say, “Down, please.” That’s good. But can you eat a little more of your egg before I put you down? Great. Go bring me a book, please, and then we can read it together.
Oh…you have a dirty diaper. Let’s go change your diaper, okay? Did you go to the bathroom? Well, you are saying no, but I think you mean yes. Yup, you pooped. Okay, all done. Let’s go.
Don’t pat your brother that hard on the head. He’s just a baby. There, that’s better. Oh, how nice! Do you see how he’s looking at you? He loves you so much. He wants to be a big boy, just like you.
E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a…what? A rhinoceros? Okay, sure, a rhinoceros. With a snort snort here and a…
Oh, the phone is ringing! Let’s go see who it is! Oh, look who it is! It’s your aunt Dee! Say hi, Aunt Dee! Say hi to baby Katie too!
Yes, I can talk for a few…Sweetie, NO. We do NOT jump on the couch. Please get off the couch. I am going to give you one more chance but then you get a time out. Do you want a time out? Okay, that’s better. Nononono…yes, Dee, call you later.
What do you mean, “Raisins please?” We just ate breakfast. Are you sure you’re hungry? Okay, okay, let’s go. No, your brother is fine in his crib. No, we can leave him there and don’t need to bring him to the kitchen. No, don’t do that! Remember, you can’t pick him up. Only Mommy or Daddy or another grownup can pick him up. No, you can’t do that either. Don’t pull his arm that way, okay, sweetie? Hey–race you to the kitchen–GO!
You Are SO fast! You beat me! Yay! You’re a great runner. How are your raisins? Can you say thank you? Oh, that was nice. You’re welcome, honey. No, eat the raisins in the box. Right, that’s the right end. No, don’t hold it like that. Turn it over, turn it…
Okaaaaay. Let’s play, “Pick up the raisins!” Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere! Clean up, clean up, everybody do their share! No, your brother doesn’t want the raisin. No, he can’t eat it. He’s not a big boy like you! He doesn’t have teeth. Only big boys have teeth.
Look! He’s smiling. Yes, he’s happy to see you. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! Good clapping! I like the way you jump up and down while we sing. You have excellent rhythm. You’re a great dancer.
Hey…do you want to go out for a walk? It’s such a nice day. No? Okay, maybe later. Okay, we can read. Oh, Olivia and the Missing Toy again? Yes, that sounds fabulous. Let’s sit near your brother so he can hear the story too. That’s right, baby brother. What’s his name? Right.
Yes, that’s true, his head IS soft, particularly in that spot you’re touching right now. Let’s leave him alone now, okay honey? Yes, he is crying. I think when you patted him on the head, you might have patted him a little too hard by accident. No, you don’t have to cry too…you didn’t mean it. You just say, “I’m sorry.” Very good. Now you give him a gentle kiss. That’s great. Can you tell him, “I love you”? That was SO NICE. He loves you, too. What? No. I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t have teeth, so he still can’t eat the raisins, so they’re all for you. But it’s nice that you want to share.