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Friday, October 22, 2010

Lasting Impressions

Last week, my husband and I gave in and bought the babies a pair of bicycles.  For months prior, every place we saw a bike became a 20-minute rest stop for us.

"Bike!" they'd say.  "Bike!  Mine!  My bike! Up, up, up!"

Then we'd explain that it was not their bike, and I made them say bye bye.  Imagine their excitement then, when on one Saturday morning, my husband set off in search of baby girl bicycles.  I was excited for them.  I told them over and over while we waited for him to come back, "Daddy's getting your bikes.  He's getting them right now.  Bikes?  Daddy's getting you bikes!"

Little did I know what I was doing.

When he did come back, of course, it was time for a nap, and by the time they were up, my husband and I had totally assembled, pink tiny bicycles waiting for them.

Only, I was no longer part of the equation.

As the babies had cutely repeated my mantra of "Daddy!  Bike!" back to me that morning, they must have connected those two terms permanently in their minds.  So that when we went to take the bicycles outside and ride around on them, I was not allowed to touch the bicycles.  Any time I went to push, or help my husband in anyway, we'd end up with a screaming toddler.

"No, mama!  No!  Dada push!  Dada bike!"

That was cute for the first five minutes.  Eventually, though, we made a rule.  No bicycles unless mommy can push, too.  They haven't ridden their bikes since, really.  A few minutes here and there.  But only Dada is pushing.  It takes 30 minutes of cajoling to get them to even consider letting me help, and even then they only let me help to push them toward where Dada is so that he could take over.

And, honestly, they'd rather push it themselves than let me near it.

The moral of this story is always think before you say anything to babies.  Especially if it's something you're going to repeat.  They are constantly making connections that they will stick by as if it's permanent rule.  There is no logic involved, and no way to convince them after the fact that the conclusion they have made is in any way false.

Of course, I don't really mind not having to push a 30-pound toddler on a bicycle, so I suppose it's a win-win.

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