The other day I fixed Scarlette a snack while I was making dinner. And by “snack” I mean an entire peanut butter and honey sandwich because apparently that is all that my three year old intends to eat, ever. I’m okay with this because I used to have to put a feeding tube down so as long as she is feeding herself with her own two hands, I’m basically happy.
But I was busy making a real, actual dinner for Jeff and myself that involved more proteins than crushed peanuts and so I had situated her at her little table with her milk and her PB&H and possibly an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood so that I could cook in peace.
(Don’t judge me.)
So when she came around the corner sweetly carrying her plate because she was being a good helper and clearing her place at the table without me even asking (I get some things right, y’all) I was a bit distracted. Her little voice piped up behind me “Mommy? I all fru wif my shammich!”
And without looking I answered “Great job baby! Go ahead and just throw it all in the trash.”
I should mention that I had given her a paper plate, on account of how we had just had her birthday party and I hate the environment. Just kidding, I normally do try to be conscious about things like that but they were on clearance at Target and my propensity for breaking dishes meant that we did not have enough for the twelve family members who joined us to celebrate her birthday.
I glanced over as she dutifully walked towards the trash can and then turned my attention back to the chicken because Jeff insists that I overcook it and I wanted to prove him wrong but I also wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to give me salmonella. I sort of heard her throw her plate away and then I heard her start sobbing uncontrollably.
“Scarlette? What is the matter? Why are you crying?” I asked her
And she sniffled and said “But Mommy! I weally weally didn’t WANT to frow my monkey cup away in da twash can!”
I lifted the lid and there among our refuse sat her precious monkey cup, half full of milk.
I gathered her to me to comfort her (and also so that she wouldn’t see me sort of laughing) and assured her that Mommy did not mean she had to throw her milk away,that she was a great listener and we would get the monkey cup out of the trash can. And wash it off because Mommy is creeped out by germs.
I felt bad for her because she was genuinely stricken that I had asked such a thing of her. She LOVES that monkey cup, y’all. But I admit I was a little bit proud that she just stoically tossed it in the trash because I asked it of her. As she gets older I’d like to teach her critical thinking skills and how to ask for things like clarification or give her opinion on things she disagrees with, like disposing of her beloved monkey cup. But at three, I’m just happy she followed directions and didn’t hurl it at me while screaming like a banshee.
In other stellar parenting moments, I had pulled Scarlette’s pants up after an especially, um, intense potty session which left me a tad flustered and asked her to come with me into the living room. I was all the way to the front of the house when I noticed she wasn’t behind me and I called “Scarlette, please come in here with Mommy right now.”
And again with the tiny voice, she said “I coming Mommy! I weally coming wite naow!”
I tapped my foot impatiently because WHAT was taking her so long to traverse such short a distance and then turned to look down the hallway to see her progress.
She as about three feet from the bathroom and shuffling with teeny, tiny little footsteps towards me as she chanted “I coming! I coming, Mommy!”
I was all “Scarlette? Why are you walking like that? Can you come here please?”
She looked at me with wide eyes and said “My wegs are jusht twying to coming!”
And that was when I noticed that I had put both of her legs into a single pant leg of her pajamas, and she was carefully shuffling her way down the hallway towards me, her little legs trapped together.
Last night I turned on a nature show and said “Scarlette! Come sit with Mommy and watch these baby lions! Aren’t they so cute?!” She cuddled up next to me and said “Oooh, dey sho ca-ute Mommy! I wike dese wions!” as they frolicked merrily about the plains.
And then the littlest one had a seizure and died.
I contemplated how to explain this to Scarlette as onscreen the brothers and sister cubs paid their last respects to their lost sibling when she turned me and asked “Mommy? When da Wild Kratts coming?”
It’s totally possible that I might have let her watch far too much PBS as I worked on this little bit of news.
Like I said. Parenting. Nailed it.