“If my answers frighten you, then you should cease asking scary questions.” -Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction
The Sock Dialouge
Picking up my two-year old daughter from daycare is war. My family lives in Brooklyn where everything is crowded: our apartments, the subway, both the popular sandwich franchise, and the mode of public transportation, and our daughter’s daycare. Life in New York is done in close proximity to your fellow man or woman.
The pick-up area at my daughter’s daycare is especially tiny, about the size of two or three phone booths. The space can only accommodate two parents getting two children ready to go home: putting on shoes, hat, scarves, and talking to teachers about their day. If you arrive and see two parents already in the pick up area, you must wait outside until they are finished. You must have battle plan in this pick up area. It is not a place to doddle around or casually socialize. You get in and you get out.
The other day I arrived to pick up my daughter at the same time as another mother. No other parents were there, so the two of us filled up the pick-up area and began getting our daughters ready to go.
A third parent arrived, but since the pickup area was full, they were forced to wait outside. Now this mother and I were on the clock, it would be polite for us to hurry as someone else waiting. We set our respective daughters on a bench and began putting their shoes on.
The mother squatted down, gave her daughter her shoes and socks, and asked her,
“Can I help you put your socks on?”
The child, just under 2 years old, bounced back with a curt, “No.”
The Mom stood up, and was a bit annoyed as she watched her daughter struggle to get the first sock on. She mouthed the words ‘sorry’ to the parent waiting outside, and gestured to her daughter, shrugging her shoulders suggesting, ‘she wants to do it herself, what can you do?”
I would have asked my daughter the same question but she just got new shoes that had laces and zippers. There was no chance of her being able to put them on herself, no matter how much time she had. So I bit the bullet and did it for her.
After 30 precious seconds I had put my daughter’s first shoe on, while the younger girl next to us was still trying to find the opening of the first sock. A fourth parent arrived outside, a line was forming. The Mom realized her daughter had made no progress and squatted back down.
“Are you sure I can’t help you put on your sock?”
“NO!” The child snapped.
The Mom shot back up to the standing position and had a “well ok miss sassy pants, I tried, nothing further can be done here” attitude.
I shoved my daughter’s second shoe on, and we were ready to go. I wished the Mom and her daughter a goodnight as I squeezed past them, and let the next parent in to see their kids.
This mother, the two parents waiting outside, their two children inside, were all waiting on the whim of a little girl. If a 2 year old girl is controlling the life of 5 people, then something is not right.
What is happening?
Modern parents have replaced commands with suggestive questions. Can I help you with your sock? Your diaper looks wet, do you think it would be a good idea to change it? You don’t want to watch Moana again do you? It’s very weird when you think about it.
This would be a great parenting strategy if it ever worked, but it never does. Children never want help with their socks. Children never want to change their diaper, and they will always want to watch Moana again. Always. Yet we continue to ask. Why? And what effect is it having on our children?
Are we parents? Are we in change? Then why are we asking our kids so many questions?
”Stop Asking Your Kids So Many Questions” By Tyler Schwartz is schedule to be released in the Fall of 2018.