By Amy Shearn, REDBOOK
One of the many joys of parenthood is the gimlet-eyed view of yourself that you get. Seeing how you stand up under the pressures of pregnancy, childbirth, and a child screaming for bunny crackers on a crowded city bus is a bit like surviving torture, which is to say, your true self is laid bare. For example, I have learned that I am much more of an impatient and humorless shrew than I would have suspected. Also: entirely unoriginal. How illuminating! So, with apologies to my truly amazing kids, I offer you five things I hate hearing myself say (but totally say all the time).
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5. Are you listening to me?
I mean, if you have to ask, the answer is probably no. I know this. But I get so tired of saying the same thing ten times in a row. How many times can a human say, "Put on your shoes, we're leaving," before her head explodes? I can't wait until my kids are older and have learned to listen to me all the time and immediately obey everything I say. That happens pretty soon, right?
4. Just three more bites.
I know, I know, you're not supposed to food-bargain with a toddler. (Or maybe you are, depending on which child-rearing book you're reading.) But I really can't help myself. Every meal I tell myself I won't do it, but then she trills, "I'm done!" and I say, "But you haven't eaten a thing." To this, she indignantly replies, "I ate one bite!" and I counter with, "More. You have to eat more." I even dangle treats as rewards, though it never, ever works. Hey, my whole body is basically programmed to make sure my offspring eats enough to survive. The human race needs me to force-feed her organic chicken nuggets.
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3. Someone is going to get hurt.
I am straight-up channeling my mother with this one, which (as it was when I was on the receiving end of it) is always uttered in the middle of some super-awesome game. Plus, during said game Harper and Alton are actually playing together, which makes me reluctant to interrupt-except that it's usually something that's played like: "Let's climb onto the couch and then tumble off," and someone usually gets hurt before the words are even out of my mouth.
2. Get your finger out of your nose.
Self-explanatory, right? And yet I say this a minimum of 12 times a day.
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And the number one thing I hate hearing myself say, but say all the time is...
1. What are you thinking?
My children are three and one. The answer to this question, which is often prompted by some outrageous show of marker-chomping or booger-wiping, is always (and accurately): "I don't know."
Amy Shearn is the mother of two small children, and is the proprietress of Household Words, a blog about babies, books, and Brooklyn. She also writes for Oprah.com and MommyPoppins.com. Amy is the author of the novel How Far Is the Ocean From Here (Shaye Areheart/Crown 2008) and a forthcoming novel about, what else, a Brooklyn mother, which needs a title and will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in 2013.
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