But still. It would be nice if he could just say:
“Mom, I pooped and you didn’t notice. It’s starting to get uncomfortable. That’s why I’m suddenly unhappy. Please change my diaper.”
“Mom, I’m fully capable of swallowing this food, I just prefer not to. I’m pretending not to be able to swallow so I can just keep nursing exclusively. Can you just wait a couple of months to introduce people food to me? Scratch that. I’m going to nurse until I’m at least 18.”
Frankly, I feel it wouldn’t only be helpful to have a baby fully express himself, it might be downright funny as well.
“Mom, I know this teddy bear outfit is super cute to you, and I know that strangers everywhere stop you and tell you how adorable I am, but it’s not adorable. I hate this thing! Whenever you put it on it means I’m going to be shoved into that uncomfortable car seat where I won’t be able to move around or be held. Can’t I just be naked and be free to crawl around the back seat of the car when you drive to the store?”
“Mom, you know, this teether was great yesterday but today, it’s passé. I’d really prefer you gave me that shiny, pointy fork in your hand. Better yet, your cell phone. Or the power cord for the computer. I’m sure those would taste much better. No, Mom. I’m serious. Give. Them. To. Me. NOW!”
“Mom, can’t you tell I’m cutting a tooth? Two of them actually. Fair warning. I’m going to be super fussy and needy for the next week. You should just put the amber necklace on me now. Oh, and prepare not to have any clean dishes or laundry either because I’m not going to want to be put down during this time. And I plan on waking up during the night too, so be sure to nap when I nap. Wait. Scratch that. I don’t plan on napping very much so you’re just going to be exhausted for the next couple weeks.”
“Mom, my sister is SO FUNNY when she’s being loud and rough with me. Can’t you just let her keep doing it? I like it! NO…no, wait I was wrong. I don’t like it. Mom, SAVE ME!!! Mom, save me NOW!”
“Mom, why don’t you just keep your breast out all the time? It would certainly save you the trouble of opening and closing your bra (which always takes far too long anyway), and I can just nurse at the drop of a hat that way! Yes, breast out and I never leave your hip. That would be ideal."
“Mom, I hear that you’re up. I don’t care if it’s 4:30 in the morning and you’re just trying to have some time to yourself and I’m fully capable of continuing to sleep. If you’re up, I want to be up. Drop what you’re doing and come get me. “
“Wait…why is Daddy holding me? He doesn’t have boobs. MOM!”
“Let me save you a half hour of trying to figure this out: one of your hairs is wrapped around my toe.”
“Mom, you know, I wanted my toy until I saw your coffee. PLEASE give me your coffee. It looks absolutely fantastic, and you’re putting it in your mouth, so why don’t you let me have at it too?”
“What? You’re putting me down? Why? Why don’t you just pee in a diaper like me? It’s great because someone else deals with the mess for you!”
It’s not just infants who should have full control of their speech. Preschoolers need it too—in that they need to be able to use their speech in reasonable ways. Now, granted, my daughter has an amazing vocabulary and can express herself better than most kids her age, but sometimes forgoes that for a temper tantrum in the sudden shock of “I’m not getting what I want right now!” she resorts to screaming, growling, and impressive bodily contortions followed shortly by chameleonlike discoloration of her face. Also, preschoolers should come with the ability to understand and accept sound reasoning. I wish I could simply discuss things rationally with her. I do try, but she often can’t hear me above the screaming. Or, if I wait until the screaming is over, she starts it again. It would be nice if our conversations could be calm and rational like this:
Bunny: I realize that we have naptime every day, but I like to pretend it’s news to me that it is going to happen every time you mention it because I’m hoping you’ll forget about it.
Me: You need your rest. You know you get grumpy without a nap. Yesterday you told me you weren’t tired and then you slept for three hours. You need to take a nap.
And let me break it to you now: I’m going to give you a nap every day because I need a nap every day. That won’t stop until you go to school so you might as well stop fighting it.
Bunny: Okay, that makes perfect sense. Now that you put it that way, I admit that I am truly exhausted. I was just hoping to play and ignore my sleepiness and then take it out on you later with some yelling and screaming, but your way makes better sense. I’m going to sleep quietly and you should get some sleep to, Mommy, because Baby Bear will only sleep for a little bit and you need your rest.
Me: Bunny, it’s winter. You cannot wear that dress without a sweater over it and tights underneath it.
Bunny: Well, this is what I want. I want the short sleeve dress with flipflops because it’s what I envisioned in my head as perfect and now that I’ve got it in my mind to dress this way I can’t imagine any other outfit and if you try to change it you’ll RUIN it because I’m a fairy princess and fairy princesses don’t wear sweaters or tights.
Me: Fairy princesses dress warmly when it’s cold too because they don’t want to freeze. Don’t you remember what happened to Tinker Belle’s wings when she didn’t wear her coat? (Thanks for that, Disney!)
Bunny: Now, that makes perfect sense! I’ll go change right away, Mommy. Thanks for making sure all my needs are met. I wouldn’t want to lose a limb to frostbite.
Or maybe this:
Bunny: I’d like to sit in the shopping cart basket seat with my little brother. And I’d like to get a lollipop. Those are the things I want and nothing else will do. I can’t really focus on anything but getting those two things. Mommy, let’s stop what we’re doing and take care of that, k?
Me: There isn’t room for you in the seat with your brother. Don’t you remember you never wanted to sit in there before he sat there? And I love your teeth so much I’m going to say no to the lollipop because I want you to have those teeth for a long time. When you eat too much sugar, you get holes in your teeth. Also, it doesn’t make your tummy feel too good.
Bunny: Now that you put it that way, I realize that you’re saying No to me because you love me and you want the best for me. You don’t actually want to ruin all my fun. I’ll just walk quietly and calmly next to the shopping cart and I won’t even look at the candy as we walk past it. I also realize that you are on a tight schedule and my stopping to distract you is just going to make us late for the chiropractor appointment later, so I won’t bring anything else up until we’re in the car.
Of course, if things did go that way, parenting would lose some of it’s spice. I’ll admit, even when everything is a guessing game and I fall into a bed after a long day and feel like I lost a long wrestling match of the wills, there has never been anything more rewarding than parenting my two, sweet babies. Despite the times I get frustrated at their inability to express themselves, I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.