29 June 2009


My children have all had a few annoying habits in common, corresponding with specific developmental stages.

First, was shoe flinging, which they all did as young walkers. Whenever they were seated in a stroller or car seat, they immediately proceeded to kick their shoes off. After you spend five minutes wrestling your baby's limp feet into, and then tying the laces of their first pair of shoes, only to find on arriving at your destination that said shoes are nowhere to be found, you get a little annoyed.

On more than one occasion when he was a baby, Sacha flung off a shoe while we were out for a walk, except I did not discover this until we were home. With one shoe. (Retracing our steps didn't help.) And so, I let him go barefoot in the winter. THAT REALLY TAUGHT HIM A LESSON.

Then, there is sock stuffing, which all three are still guilty of. Whenever I do a thorough house clean-up, I find socks hidden in every imaginable crevice; under couch cushions, behind radiators, under rugs, in the dishwasher (really; that's Sacha, I'm sure). They are all so reliable about this that it is a wonder I keep buying them socks, rather than sweep the premises when they tell me they need new ones. Sometimes a trip to Target is quicker than an archaeological excavation.

But the most annoying habit is the carping to watch television AS SOON AS WE GET IN THE CAR FOR A RETURN VOYAGE. This is a toddler habit which Sarah and Gabriel have aged out of, but Sacha is still in his prime. When the key turns in the ignition, Sacha brightly asks, “Can we watch TV?” I don't have a television in the car, so he is referring to the one in our den, which, when he asks, IS MILES AWAY.

That I refuse to answer this question in the affirmative does nothing to deter Sacha. So, we now have a well-worn conversational loop.

“Can I watch TEEVEE?” Sacha asks as I pull out of the parking space.
“Do you see a TV here?” I respond. I try to handle many discipline issues via the Socratic Method.
“Can I watch TEEVEE?”
“Please don't ask me about TV until we are home.”
“Can I watch TEEEVEEEE?”

This is followed by the sound of me banging my head against the windshield.

Today, on our way home from the pool, it began as soon as Sacha was buckled in his car seat.

“Can I watch TV?”

I opened my mouth to repeat my line, and Sarah chimed in: “Sacha, do we have a TV in the car?”
“Can I watch TV?”
I opened my mouth. Again, I was beaten to the punch.

By round three, I no longer bothered trying to speak. I gave Sarah the keys, and let her drive home.

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