As someone who's in school full time, along with a couple jobs, my life gets crazy at times. Actually, it would be safer to say that it gets calm sometimes, the rest of the time is pure craziness. So the other day, I was finishing up a paper, and printed it out. I immediately reached for my stapler and it wasn't there. I looked, dumbfounded, at the spot where it should have been. As if staring hard enough would make it appear. I had no clue where it could be though. After a quick sweep of the den area, I realized it wasn't in the room. After some more searching, I finally gave up. I was thinking to myself that I must have picked it up and left it somewhere else at some point during the week. After all, when you're a mom, stuff ends up in the strangest places. I've found my keys in the freezer before.
Sometime later, I was helping my daughter with a craft activity. She asked me to pull out another a glue bottle, and I happily obliged. When I reached for the glue bottle in the craft box, my hand brushed up against something cold and hard. I grabbed it and pulled. Underneath all her craft supplies I fount it! My stapler. I wasn't crazy, I just had a little thief for a daughter. Upon closer inspection, I also found, hidden amongst the art supplies, my camera, an old wallet, some of my school supplies, and some of my mail. The little stinker had been pilfering my goods without me even knowing it.
Of course, I just had to ask her about this. I calmly showed her everything of mine that had been placed in the craft box. Her eyes said it all. They got momentarily large and then glazed back over to an indifference only practice could have accomplished. She then stated, just as calmly, that the dogs must have placed the items there to hide from the cats. She shook her head ruefully, as if we would never be able to truly understand the motives of our wayward dogs, and then went back to her art.
At times like this, it can be the hardest thing not to laugh at the ingenuity and craftiness of our children. While I'm thinking that she's getting creative with paper and glue, she's practicing the art of persuasion, and theft apparently. However adorable and creative, I knew this was a teaching moment not to be passed up. I quickly grabbed the glue from her fingers, hid it behind my back, and, when she stared open-mouthed at me, stated the dogs had taken it. She quickly retorted that she knew I had it and that I had lied. I asked her how she felt losing something of hers and being lied to about it, and behind those baby blues, I saw a little light turn on. She said that she was sad and wanted her glue back. I told her that I was sad and wanted my belongings back as well. I told her that it had made me sad that she took my things without asking, and it made me super sad that she had lied. I explained to her that if she wanted to borrow something of mine, all she need do is ask.
She seemed to understand, but honestly, how much of what we say really gets through to an almost three-year-old? I have to assume that they understand a good deal if mine can pull off a stunt like she did. That's why I encourage parents to talk to their children in a more grown-up way. Baby talk is fine in moderation. But most parents really underestimate how much their child is taking in and processing. This is the best age for parents to teach values and manners and to enforce them. Your children are more than capable, so don't hold back. If an opportunity presents itself, take advantage of it!
Remember, God loves you and gives us the ultimate parenting manual, pick one up sometime! Feel free to click on my picture for access to my e-mail if you'd like to ask me a question or shoot me a comment. Happy parenting!