Something has been happening for some time now. I had the feeling it was coming. I thought it’d be fairly cute—and it is—but it can also be very convicting.
My son is starting to repeat what I say.
I don’t always pick up on it, but my husband usually does. He’ll tell me, “You say that all the time.” I know everyone has his or her own “catch phrases.” I mostly notice this when I’ve been spending extra time with someone. It seems to be human nature that we pick up on other’s phrases and mannerisms. If I spend a weekend with my mom, I’ll find myself gesturing or laughing like her.
But what happens when you’re with your small children 24/7? Apparently, you can’t hide some things from them.
Thankfully, neither my husband nor I tend to curse. Every now and then, I feel like a situation calls for an under-the-breath word, but my husband disagrees with even this. Yes, I married a saint of a man.
However, George can repeat other things I say and still have an impact.
This weekend, we drove seven hours on Friday evening to visit my husband’s family in Alabama, then turned around and did the same thing on Sunday afternoon. If I didn’t love my in-laws so much, it would’ve felt like a larger burden. As it turns out, though, we had a great time, even with the insane amount of car time.
Rabbit Trail: On the way there, George told us very clearly, with arms crossed, “I’m not happy!”
Well, this was a first. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not the most compassionate person, so I basically responded with, “Well, I’m sorry to hear that, but too bad.”
I mean, he can’t exactly escape from his car seat and leap out of the minivan, right? Plus, he had four hours left of Florida-Alabama scenery to enjoy!
It’s mostly fun when they learn how to talk, right?
When we finally rolled into home last night, I just wanted to get the kids in bed. I slapped together cheese quesadillas, because that’s pretty much all we had available, and took turns with the husband to bathe and pajama the babies.
While I was organizing George’s blankets and 253 stuffed animals on his bed, I started to get short with him.
It wasn’t his fault, truly. It was me. He had been asking questions and “Mom, look at this!” all day. I spent a lot of the road trip craned around looking at elements of the periodic table he’d typed into the search bar of his tablet. I was tired of catering to the younger crowd.
He asked yet another question about something or other and, while I didn’t yell or explode, I said something along the lines of: “Stop asking me questions. We’re just going to read a story and go to bed.” Note: It wasn’t exactly that, but that’s the gist.
George looked at me and said, “I don’t like that face.”
And my heart went…ouch.
I’ve used that line on him when he’s cranky and crabby and generally being obnoxious. I tell him to go to his room until he’s in a better mood. I tell him to be nice and be happier or leave.
And, apparently, that’s how it feels when I say that.
He was right. I was being impatient and self-centered, as I simply needed to give a little more of myself and finish my job as mama for the night. It wasn’t his fault I was tired and cranky and just wanted to sit on the couch and read a book.
And so, I took a breath, sat on his bed, apologized, and read him a book. Then his Bible story. And then I told him two stories—as we’re in the tradition of doing so now—before praying with him and kissing him good night.
Sigh. I didn’t explode and yell. I didn’t do something obviously mean. I simply got impatient. And he noticed and called me out on it.
Whew. This parenting thing is hard some days, y’all. #BuildsCharacter