The other day my daughter said, "I bet people who just meet us think we're sisters." Frankly, that's a bet I wouldn't take, but who am I to sneer in the face of lovely sentiment? I mean, that's the kind of phrase you would have to train (or pay) a child of 7 to say, but no, she did it of her own volition. No coaxing or prodding, not even in the hopes of getting a new Barbie out of the deal. Though I think a phrase like that deserves a new iPad -- at a bare minimum.
The effect of the simple observation that my clearly brilliant child made was utter joy -- total, narcissistic mirthfulness -- and that's a term I don't use often, as you can imagine.
This got me thinking: If this tiny, guileless thought could make me feel so great, why can't we train our children to say things that will make us feel hipper, younger and smarter, that make us feel like better parents?
Children are like fresh Play-Doh: malleable, colorful and bright. They also smell somewhat edible.
Yes, yes (twist handlebar 'mooostache' if you have one), we can work with this.
Here's a list of phrases I wouldn't mind hearing:
- "Mommy, I'm done with my book. Now I'll just go clean my room, run myself a bath and get along with my brother."
- "Mommy, when I ask you for yet another toy, I'm simply testing your wherewithal to be a good parent and set limits."
- "When I have a tantrum over said toy, I'm utterly impressed when you don't give in! (Also, for the times that you do give in, I promise not to tell anyone.)"
- "Mommy, even though you can't seem to convert fractions into decimals, I still think you're smarter than daddy."
- "Mommy, you shouldn't feel guilty about checking your email, updating your Facebook status, tweeting or playing Scramble while only half paying attention to me. Nay; I'm in awe of your ability to multitask."
- "Mommy, how come all the other mothers look so old and you look so young? Was I a result of teen pregnancy?"
- "Mommy, I don't want to play another game of Barbie right now, because the amount of time you give me each day is just too much -- even if you've been known to nod off in the middle of a ballroom scenario where you're the ugly Barbie with the hand that's been mauled by the dog and I'm the other 50 ones you've bought me during tantrums (ooops, sorry)."
- "Mommy, your butt doesn't look big in that insert any item here (i.e., dress, pants, skirt, shoes... toothbrush."
- "Mommy, remember when I said, "I want you to live next door to me when you're older, so you can babysit my children whenever I want to go shopping at Justice?" What I meant was, I want you to live next door to me when I'm older so we can be best friends forever. Just like our heart charms say."
- "Mommy, I know I said I wished someone else's mom was my mommy because their house had stairs. And also the babysitter because, well, she's awesome, but I just say that stuff to keep you on your toes. No mommy could be as perfect as you."
- "Mommy, you've had a hard day, I can be exhausting, I know. Cab or Chard?"
Look, it's just a few more years before they're teenagers and I have to hear the phrases that don't make me feel so mirthful like, "Can you drop me off here? I don't want to be seen with you," "Mom, could you not smack your lips when you eat? OMG, you're so gross," and "Please stop singing songs in the car, you don't know any of the words!" My daughter has uttered a couple of these phrases already -- and she's only 7.
Until true adolescence really hits, I say, let those little sponges use their powers for good and not evil!
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