January 18, 2007
Earlier today I was in my bedroom folding clean clothes while James played happily in a ginormous pile of dirty laundry. For those of you who know me well, I have an amazingly high threshold for nastiness. Whether it's using a greasy dish towel to dry my hands, picking up goopy dog poop with a holey plastic bag, or eating a Dorito that has fallen onto a pawn shop parking lot...none of these things bother me in the slightest. But today, for some strange reason, my kid playing in my own mountain of dirty laundry grossed me out, so I decided to lure him away. To do so, I used the always successful diversion technique that I like to call "Mommy needs some help." Despite having me for a mother, my 21 month old has somehow developed impeccable manners. He never forgets to say please, thank you, you're welcome, or sorry, and he most definitely never ignores someone's polite please for assistance. Here's how it went:
Me: Hey James-buddy, Mommy needs some help over here. Can you help me match the socks? ***Not an easy task considering that there are 20 something socks in the pile and only about 4 of them have clean and available mates***
James: [as he struggles to get off the top of the pile] Oh? Ohhhhh. Mommy!
James, being the Mr. Manners that he is, shimmies off of his laundry pile, runs over as fast as his chunky, little legs will toddle, and gives me a big hug (or "ug" as he likes to call it). He plops down on his little bottom and starts tossing the socks all over the place. He is, however, doing his best.
As I fold and he throws, I decide that this is an opportune time for a mini vocabulary lesson. So I start with the obvious, and clearly say "shirt." He clearly repeats "uut." Pretty good! So I cleary say "pants," and he clearly repeats "bents." Really good! So I give him a tough one and say "hanger." He comes back with "ang-o." "Wow", I think, "this is one smart kid."
Just as I'm about to toss out another garment-related term, I realize that he's capable of much more...my child is, in my estimation, capable of paying me compliments. So I take a bit of a different approach.
Me: James when we're out in public, or any time at all, you can just look at me, point your finger and say "hot mom!"...ok?
Me: There ya go, buddy! Now take your finger like this, point it right at me and say "hot mom!" with a little more enthusiasm than the last time.
James: [holding his entire arm and hand in my direction] ot-mom!
Me: Yeahhhh!!!! You've got it, I'm hot mom! You can always call me that, ok? I mean, c'mon, it's a little more fun than just calling me plain-old mom, don't you think???
Me: Buddy, we're not talking about ducks, we're talking about me, hot mom! Ok, listen, I want you to try another one...you can say this one at the grocery store, too. Point right to mommy's pants and say "nice jeans!"
He hasn't quite mastered "nice jeans" yet, but I'm really looking forward to when he does. That will be great! Now I'm not crazy, am I? It's okay for me to teach my child to give polite and appropriate compliments, right? Seriously...isn't it?