The other day started out a bit rocky for Zoey. She was feeling a rather cranky, apparently, and by the time she had finished breakfast I had already heard a litany of “I want (insert opposite of whatever she just asked for and received)” and “I don’t want…” and various other whining. When I’d had enough I finally said, “Zoey. You have been given many things this morning and I haven’t heard a ‘thank you’ for any of them. I did not hear a ‘thank you’ for the stories I told you this morning, or the breakfast I made for you, or anything else. I don’t want to hear any more about what you ‘want.’ I want you to think about being happy with what you have.”
She processed this for a few minutes and then, without any prodding from me, recited off a list of “thank you, Mommy, for the… (fill in all the things I mentioned to her earlier).” I was feeling content that the message had gotten through, and a bit smug that I was being such a proactive Mama about raising a polite child, so I proceeded on with taking my morning shower and getting dressed, and then sat down to play with the girls for awhile. After about ten minutes of playing with my daughters sitting quite close to me and crawling in my lap, Zoey gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you for taking a shower, Mommy.”
Clearly, my work here is done.