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Feeling Troubled Leads To Trouble

, , , , , | Related | October 16, 2021

Three-Year-Old: “I’M IN TROUBLE!”

Spouse: “What’s going on?”

Me: “She’s upset because I won’t go play with her upstairs.”

Spouse: “Is she in trouble?”

Me: “No, she’s upset to the same degree she is upset when she gets herself into trouble. She thinks that ‘in trouble’ means the level of upset she feels when I tell her she’s in trouble, not the consequences of that level of upset.”

Spouse: “Ah.”

Me: “Give her a minute. If she and I can’t come to an agreement on a place to play that doesn’t involve deadlifting children, she’ll start shouting and get into actual trouble instead of just feeling like it.”

Communicating With Toddlers Isn’t All Black And White

, , , , , | Related | October 8, 2021

Me: “What do you want for breakfast? Oatmeal? Eggs? Yogurt? Peanut butter and jelly?”

Toddler: “I want white and black.”

Me: “What’s ‘white and black’?”

Toddler: “It’s white and black!”

Me: “Maybe you’d better show me.”

My toddler opens the fridge and points at the plain yogurt.

Toddler: “White.”

My toddler points at some homemade cherry jam.

Toddler: “Black.”

Me: “Oh, you want cherry yogurt, like what Daddy made you for breakfast last weekend!”

Toddler: *Happily* “White and black!”

Me: “We’d better take a picture to send to your father so he knows what it is when you ask him for it again.”

Papa Didn’t Even Know He Needed A Supervisor

, , , , , | Related | September 10, 2021

My wife is away for the day and only due to return late in the evening, so I collect our two-year-old son from daycare, play a bit with him, cook dinner for the both of us, and then try to bring him to bed.

Me: “Time for bed, [Son]!”

Son: “Papa also go sleep!”

Me: “Papa can’t yet. I’ll stay with you until you fall asleep, but then I have to clean the kitchen. When I made dinner, I made a mess in the kitchen and now I have to clean up before Mama comes home. Or Mama will scold me!”

Son: “Papa clean up mess now!”

Me: “It’s okay, Papa can do it later. Now sleep and I will do it then.”

Son: “Papa now! [Son] go with you!”

He led me into the kitchen and there, under the watchful eyes of one little human and two stuffed animals, I had to clean the “mess” I made in the kitchen. When the kitchen was satisfactorily clean, he insisted on me cleaning the dinner table, as well, before we could go back to bed, and there he fell asleep within minutes.

When Veggies Are Involved, You Do What You Gotta Do

, , , , , , | Related | September 9, 2021

My aunt used to run an in-home daycare. One day, my two youngest brothers, both under the age of seven, were refusing to finish their lunches. One didn’t want to eat his vegetables and the other didn’t want to eat the rest of his sandwich. My aunt told them that they couldn’t leave the table and go back to playing with the other kids until their food was gone and went back into the kitchen to clean up.

While she was starting on the dishes, my brothers swapped plates and ate each other’s leftovers. My aunt figured it wasn’t worth preparing more food and fighting them on it, so she let them go. To this day, I admire their problem-solving.

Wait Until They Discover Venus Flytraps

, , , , , , | Right | September 6, 2021

I’m babysitting a brother and sister who are four and three, respectively. The brother has recently started preschool and is always excited to tell his sister new things he’s learned.

We’re taking a walk around the neighborhood and he points to a fir tree.

Brother: “This is carnivorous!”

I laugh and he asks why.

Me: “This is a coNIFerous tree; it has cones. The word you said is carNIVorous, which means something that eats meat, like a tiger.”

The boy thinks about this for a moment and starts laughing, too. He turns to his sister.

Brother: “Watch out! The tree’s going to eat you!”

The whole rest of the day, the kids chased each other pretending to be man-eating trees.