Anyone who spends time around kids will tell you there are days that whatever you say goes in one ear and right out the other. As a parent of an almost 3 year old, it seems we have those days about 6 days out of the week. It's actually quite amazing/scary how much kids pick up, even when we think they aren't listening.
Starting shortly before Christmas, Dominic had gotten into the habit of sleeping with his favorite toys. At first it was just his Elmo and his baby, but now it seems to be any toy that he played with that day. It wouldn't be such a big deal if he didn't have them all in his bed at once. I think he's up to 10 things and they all have to be in the same spot every nap and bedtime (the poor kid inherited some of my o.c.d.-ness). Seriously - there are so many toys that he "loses" them in his bed. When we put him down for naptime or bedtime and he can't find one of his toys he freaks out, calling and screaming for us to find it. The first time he calls, we go in, uncover the missing toy and inform him that if he screams again we will come in and take ALL of his toys out of his bed (that usually solves the screaming). Even though we go through this every few nights, it doesn't seem like he gets it...or does he?
Monday when he got up from his nap I went in to lay down with him (sometimes he needs a few minutes to wake up) and this was our interaction...
Dominic: Can I get up now, Mommy?
Me: Yes you may, but I'm going to take a nap in your bed, ok?
Dominic: Oh ok Mom, go ahead. Do you want me to pray with you? (as he pulls the blankets over me)
Me: Yes please...
Dominic (making the sign of the cross): Father, Son...Bless this sleep...AMEN! Ok, now you stay in your bed and don't get up until 4 o'clock in the morning - got it?
Me: Ok... (thinking to myself - he practically repeated word for word what we tell him when we tuck him in - I wonder what he'll do if I imitate what he does at bedtime, so I wait for him to close the door and then I throw his baby on the floor) DOMINIC! I dropped my baby!!!
Dominic (as he walks into his room): Oh, you dropped your baby? I'll give it to you this time, but don't drop your toys again. If you scream again I'm taking your toys AWAY! Do you hear me?
Me: Hear me... (again thinking to myself, he summed up what we usually say to him and repeating what he says when we say "Do you hear me?". Again I wait for him to close the door again before throwing another toy) DOMINIC! Come get my toy for me!
Dominic: Mommy, I told you that I would take your toys away if you screamed again! Lay down and GO TO SLEEP! I'm NOT coming back in here!
Wow. At the point I stopped giggling and got up - game over. So maybe he does listen - a little too well. Not only did he have all of my usual responses down, he even mimicked my facial expressions and tone of voice. While it was interesting to see the whole routine from his point of view, I have to admit, I wasn't happy with the flawless portrayal of my part. Maybe I'm the one who hasn't been listening...to myself. I could definitely use a lesson or two in patience and unfortunately I'm not the only one who noticed. How am I supposed to teach him patience when he's learning the art of impatience from me?