Don't toddlers have the best range of accessories designed to make us big people go Aaaaw.
Their arsenal includes mischievious smiles, infectious giggles, cuddles, big, pleading eyes, tiny liddle clinging fingers, sweet little toes, chubby little cheeks. An evolutionary thing I know but oh so effective.
The one that has my beloved and I chuckling at the moment is The Voice.
The cute little fluting voice. The sweet little phrases. The intonations. The modulations.
"Ma-ma", "Da-da",from the Poppet and "Ghee is happy!" and "Ghee is Sad" from the Sprocket (this generally leads to a request that we alleviate the sad, usually by letting the sad one watch Toy Story.) and "I sorry".
"I sorry" comes up a lot.
Generally after something has been broken, spilt, spat or majorly hurt.
My beloved son is presently under the impression it is a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.
We are slowly getting him to realise that it is, in fact, not.
We have this conversation a lot.
"I am glad that you are sorry that you knocked over your sister/kneed your daddy in the balls/rammed your elbow into my throat/pulled down all the ornaments/spat your water on the floor but there is this thing called consequences my love. Or cause and effect. In other words saying sorry is an important step but there is more to the story."
I have read that you should treat little people like adults. This struck me as curious. If I treated my toddler as I would an adult (who was not my beloved son nor mentally ill) the level of destruction and pain that said toddler has inflicted would ensure that I would:
a. throw them out of the house and change the locks
b. call the police
c. get a restraining order.
As aforementioned toddler is my beloved son and has an entire arsenal of cuteness this (so far) has not happened.
So instead we are working on time-outs.
As Ghee is three he gets three minutes. Three long minutes plonked on my lap while I tell him precisely why what he did is not acceptable behaviour and what the consequences of this are. (Mummy is sad, daddy is sad, bubba is sad, other children will not want to play with you, you will be ostracised etc, you have spread sick-making germs everywhere, mummy and daddy are cranky they have to 'help' you tidy up all the mess, daddy is still in a miserable heap on the floor all ouchy and will not be able to play with you for the forseeable future)
I have visions of having to sit my baby boy on my lap at the tender age of 21, for say, having invited his ninety closest friends over for a party and trashing the house, and telling him exactly why this is not the best move in the world for 21 solid minutes, so I think that this strategy might stop at 4.
But every single time my beloved and I hear that sweet, tremulous "I sorry", our hearts melt just that fraction (that is probably an evolutionary neccessity)
Even when, as happens often, it is the fifth, sixth or seventh time we have heard "I sorry," for that particular offence that day.
We figure that it is a toddlers role in life to test boundaries and explore the world while it is ours to
a. keep them alive
b. keep them in one piece
c. keep them happy
and d. teach them to be responsible, curious, caring and self-disciplined human beings.
But let me just say, it is a very good thing that toddlers have that arsenal of cuteness.