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Sherri Richards, Published November 16 2010

Parenting Perspectives: Slow down, sweet toddler

‘Mommy, please I have fruit snack?” my 2-year-old daughter asked me so sweetly the other morning.

It was 7 a.m. “No, honey, you can’t have fruit snacks before breakfast,” I told her.

From her same spot on the sofa, she turned to my husband. “Daddy, please I have fruit snack?”

Craig and I looked at each other and sighed, resignedly.

While she didn’t understand the finer points of this divide-and-conquer tactic – mainly, making sure the second parent didn’t hear the first parent’s negative response – Eve was trying to play us.

Already.

I had hoped this sort of manipulation wouldn’t start until her tween years, or at least until her sentence structure was more refined.

There was a time when I was eager for Eve to do things early – sit up, crawl, talk and especially walk. She was 14 months old before she started taking independent steps.

Now, it seems like she’s always a step ahead. And as her parent, I struggle to keep up.

Eve has recently started the “whys,” questioning everything ad infinitum; another common kid trait I thought would start later.

I’ve found myself becoming philosophical about relationships, scientific about sunsets and frustrated by my lack of answers, all at the incessant asking of my toddler. Some days, I think through my response to make sure I can answer the follow-up “Why?” Other days, I simply answer, “Why not?”

Whether it’s manipulation or inquisitiveness, these sorts of intellectual and social strides make me wonder what else she’ll do before I’m ready.

Likely, the list will include cell phones, bullying and boys. Recent news stories, like the 10-year-old in Spain who gave birth and the potential role of bullying in a local girl’s suicide, scare the crap out of me as a mother.

Does every generation of parents feel like their children grow up too fast, or has society sped them up?

That’s a trickier question than the 18th “why?” in a row.

Maybe I’ll just stick to clumsily worded queries about fruit snacks.


Sherri Richards is mother of a 2-year-old daughter and employee of The Forum. She’s also “Top Mom” at http://moms.inforum.com