I expect a lot out of Ryan.
I know he’s only two. I know he’s still learning empathy and the fact that the world does not revolve around him.
I also know that dude is smart. If I spell out “n-a-p” to Mike, Ryan looks at me and pleads, “No night-nights!” He is smart enough to tell me what he did at school hours earlier (play balls with Jack and Finley) or what he dreamed about the night before (crackers).
So when I ask that he “please stop whining,” a command he has heard over and over for the past year? I know he understands what I’m saying.
Ohhhh, the whining. After a day full of incessant toddler whining, I want to run screaming down the street, any street. I want to look him straight in the eye and say: Dude, knock it off. Ok, so you’re not allowed to set your milk right next to the portable DVD player – which is playing any one of 10 episodes of your favorite show – because you might spill it. Is this really the Worst Thing to Happen to You All Year? Do you know how lucky you are to have both milk AND a portable DVD player?! I do NOT want to hear you complaining about the fact that you have to choose which item to have closer to you when you are blessed to live in a situation where these things are considered ordinary and affordable.
I don’t say these things, of course. Instead I tell him, for the 9 millionth time, to please stop whining and to ask nicely and that I don’t understand you when you whine. Because he’s two. He doesn’t understand the fact that there are lots of kids in the world who have nothing, who don’t have ONE blankie, let alone four freshly washed blankies. He doesn’t know that. He only knows his own needs and wants. But I know. So when he chooses milk with dinner, and I pour the milk, and then he decides he wants juice instead, and I tell him “No, you said you wanted milk, so here is your milk,” and he wails as though someone has just chopped a limb off, it makes me a little crazy.
I am very focused on two things as a parent. First, that Ryan has everything he needs to grow up to be a happy, healthy, educated, successful man. Second, that he understands that not everyone lucks into the same circumstances that he lucked into; that he has compassion for those who have a harder road.
Also? I would like for him to please stop hitting me.