Parents can give you a long list of words and phrases they’ve grown to hate since having children. The ones I find particularly annoying are “That’s enough” and the infamous, “No.” As in, “No. No. NO. NO. NO!” But, there are bright spots amidst the verbal drudgery of parenting. They come in the form of the strangest commands and distracting phrases you’ve ever heard come out of your mouth. And you never thought to say any of them until you had kids. My personal favorites include:
1. That’s GOOD listening.
Every time my son follows through with a direction I congratulate him like he’s just made his bar mitzvah or scored a perfect A on a test. “That’s good listening!!!” You’d think I was going to throw him a party for not trying to flush the toilet or hurl himself down the steps.
Seriously. In the middle of a supermarket, during bath time, when we learn how to walk down steps, we’re all about toes. Or head. Or any other random body part we find amazing and/or distracting at that particular moment in time. For a while I was cutting car tantrums in the bud by removing my son’s sandals and shouting, “Toes! Play with toes time!” Worked like a charm.
3. That’s a fantastic poop!
Yes, Jimmy Fallon, everyone talks about poop when they talk about babies. It’s a parent thing. Usually as in, “Did the baby poop?” which is what my husband would find himself asking the minute he got home from work not all that long ago. The reality is that kids this young go through so many dietary changes and they can’t communicate, so the minute they start acting weird your first line on the checklist involves ruling out gastrointestinal issues. Non-parents don’t understand this and think you’re just insanely scatological, which makes for slightly amusing, Monty Python-esque conversations if you know how to pull them off.
4. I love ABC food!
A-B-C: Already Been Chewed. Why do toddlers think sharing food means pulling a half-eaten piece of whatever out of their mouth and aiming it in your direction until you give in and let them put the food into your mouth? Then, they need to watch you chew it and suddenly, you give in and find yourself sticking your tongue out to display half-eaten food like you did for kicks when you were at the elementary school lunch table. You know why you give in? Because your toddler is both amused and willing to keep eating. ABC, baby. That’s high class cuisine.
5. The potty is an alone activity. One person only.
Usually said while pointing a finger at my son who feels, as all toddlers do, that mommy quality time shouldn’t stop just because mommy needs to pee. If the kid could, he’d plant himself on my lap and study the plumbing. Your personal space dies the day you become a mother.
6. I don’t feel I should be penalized for not using points because I was busy birthing and raising a future customer.
This is my prize. It came out of my mouth during a phone conversation with a major hotel chain that decided my hard-earned points had expired over the first year of my son’s life. Because every new mom decides to book a trip six months in so she can retain points, right? Please. You’re a mom now: Put your new authoritative powers to good use.