“Baby Wessy-yyy” I say with that voice used only when babies have your attention. Immediately my toddler looks at me studiously and corrects me: “No, no, no, mama!” she says with her eyes closed, a shaking head, and a finger waving from side to side. All the while walking toward me and Wesley. “Mines ah baby’s! Baby Yomi!” She continues, as she points to herself.
I repeat what Yomi said, just to make sure I understand. She starts nodding her head, chin tilted down, eyes looking up at me with that this-is-redundant & mom-pay-attention you-know-that-is-what-I-just-said look. So in defense I say that she is a big girl and Wesley is a baby. She corrects me without hesitation: “Nooo, Yomi baby!!”
Mmh… This reminds me of when I told my first born I was pregnant with Yomi, and she said “Okay, but we can’t call her Stink Face, or show her our secret handshake.” I realize that although we may take what two-year olds say to not be as important as what adults say (as ridiculous as this is) she is serious. She, is Baby!
(By the way, as soon as Yomi was born, her big sister was totally cool with showing her all her secrets and even sharing her endearing names.) Smile.
“Yomi?” “Yes, mommy?” Yomi answers. I ask her “Can we call him The Boy?”
Yomi starts nodding her head in approval: “Yes, Baby is a Yomi, Wessy is a Boy!!”
So it is decided: my two-year old is The Baby, and my 8 month old is The Boy. If my teen was a part of the conversation I wonder if things would have gone as smoothly. I go with My Star, and hope she is cool with that.
All in all this simple occurrence, along with the one that happened with my teen, is actually pretty important. Many questions came to mind when both conversations ensued and after they had ended. I will share some of them so that you may shed some light with your own experiences, if you would.
Do I always actually listen to what my children say?
Do I let age factor in, when I listen and place importance in what my children say?
Do I apply the same filters when listening to other children?
Do other parents listen to their children?
What happens to us as children if our parents don’t truly listen to us?
What happens if in toddlerhood a person feels his/her baby sibling is more important to their parents?
One on hand I think letting Yomi’s worldview on this issue be the worldview of our household is healthy and empowering, and on the other hand I believe there will be instances when she will have to know that things aren’t as she wants them to be, and that some times that’s okay; and at other times she can be the agent of change.
Instead of asking more questions of you, I hope you’ll be kind enough to share your thoughts by answering any and all of the questions above, as well as contribute with anything else you’d like to share on this topic.
Photo credit to the author.