Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Apple Doesn't Fall

Our five month old said “Mom” today. It was my daughter that heard it. I’d heard the sound and ascribed it to random chance but today, he looked at me and said it again.

No doubt. None.

She then asked, “Why do you think that was his first word?”

“Oh,” I replied as I stripped a toddler for bath time, “He probably picked it up because it’s said so often around here.” And as if to underscore the point, from somewhere, the siren call “Mom, mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom…” which translates to “I’ve got a juicy tattle just waiting to be told and oh boy is my brother gonna get it once you hear I hope I hope I hope.”

“Hmmm.” My daughter looked at me skeptically. “So you’re saying kids are like parrots when they learn speech?”

“Not exactly, no.” I started the bath and started stripping the second toddler who was trying to get into the tub, shoes and all. “But kids learn what they hear.”

“If that’s the case then why wasn’t his first word, “Pick up your shoes!” “Turn off that TV!” “Get in the car!” “Stop that right now!”


The tattler Mom cry now came in breathless and certain that this sort of breaking news couldn’t wait. Mom, mom, mom, somebody started eating the pie that’s for dessert and I thought we couldn’t so I think he might be in trouble but if he’s not can I have a piece?” I mollified the tattler, explaining that I had actually taken my piece of pie first. I started soaping the girls' hair.

Being an adolescent, my first daughter wasn't finished with me. Once the tattler left, she couldn’t resist adding on, “Am I the only one who sees the trash around here? Would it kill you to put your shoes in the closet?”

“I might remind you that I cleaned your room today.” It was time for the rinse.

She smiled and offered to help, getting out the towels, still shouting choice imitations of me, “This room is a mess! I’m going to count to five…or three if you make me mad. Did you do your homework? This is a benevolent dictatorship. The benevolence is my option.”

“Don’t you have saxophone to practice or something?”

“Oh, good one Mom.” She smiled as she got the first girl out and began drying her off.

I got the second toddler out and another cry came out, “MOMMMMMMMM. MOMMMMMMMM. MOMMMMMMM?” Each with higher and louder intonations. This tattle was about a mess. My older daughter finished dressing her sister and they left to allow the tattle to continue in relative privacy.

“What’s up?” I diapered up my little girl and she ran away while I was fumbling with her pajamas.

“We spilt some of the pie when we were serving it but it’s okay because we gave it to the little ones who don’t care if their pie has been on the floor or not and so they’re eating…and we wiped up the mess with towels.”

“Paper or cloth?”


Running to the kitchen, I find the first once and future clean toddler with pie on her face and in her clean hair. On the floor was a terry cloth towel that had been used to dutifully blot the mess of apple pie and ice cream.

The Diaper toddler had also found an abandoned paper bowl of ice cream and was wearing it as a hat.

I don’t mind parenting.
It’s the Lather, Rinse, Repeat.


Beth said...

Can I borrow that "benevolent dictatorship" line? That would be perfect for when my 9 yr. old asks me why I get to tell him what to do.

wv: typou - a French typo

Oh, no - I made zee typou!

JimmyV said...


MightyMom said...

ICE CREAM?? hey, where'd the ice cream come from???!!

I thought they were just having pie.

I think I only made it through half your kids there, but I got worn out...

I don't know how you do it!!

and HOLY COW!! is he 5 months already?? when did THAT happen?
and talking!! I'm sooo impressed!

PS did you give him permission to get that big? I just ask cause my kids seem to be getting big...and I DO NOT remember giving them permission to grow.

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