I say everything three times now. I don't even think about it anymore it's just "stop, stop, stop!" I even do that to my husband, who rolls his eyes but does not berate me for treating him like he's 4.
I'm lucky that way.
I'm not sure how psychiatrists would diagnose my automatic triple play.
They'd probably say that I'm not giving my children (or husband, for that matter) enough credit. Or, they'd say I'm setting myself up to be ignored the first two times because my children expect a third.
Really, I just think I'm covering my bases.
It's not just the admonitions that come in threes. So does the good stuff.
I always tell Katie "I love you, I love you, I love you." I also ask her "Do you love, love, love me?"
She's paying attention and noticing that I tend to repeat myself. I know this because she broke my heart when she said, "No, mom I only love you one."
It also hurt when I showed up alone to her preschool graduation and she said, "Where's my friend Daddy?" Her eyes lit up until she realized it was just me.
Nikki's a little different -- to her, affection distracts the ruling adult from the bad thing she's done or is planning to do.
When Katie runs out of the bedroom crying with Nikki on her tail saying "I luz you, Mom," I know Nikki will be spending some time in the corner while Katie gets cuddled.
The babysitter's telling me that Nikki's been very loving. She lives in a fantasy world where she wants to believe that Nikki's a darling. She refuses to believe me when I tell her the little cutie's pulling the wool over her eyes.
Nikki's a manipulator (and darn good at it, if I do say so myself. I have a hard time not being impressed).
I walk into a room and find Nikki with markers (she's not allowed to have markers unsupervised) drawing on the carpet (need I say?). Instantly she smiles and says, "I luz you."
Should that not work, she's falls back on the "I'm sick" defense. She has a tummy ache when dinner is pot roast and not hot dogs, when she gets water instead of chocolate milk and when dessert is something involving fruit.
She's learning about the impact of language. Katie's learning about the power of it.
The lesson is sweet and bitter.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.