I’ve decided to use my kids nicknames instead of their real names in this project. My two year old daughter is Lunch Bucket, and my 10 month old son is Tootles. Jenni is my wife, and I will use her real name.
Have you ever skipped through a grocery store? Have you ever done a synchronized skip with a two year old in the grocery store? I recommend it. It enlivens the spirit like few things do.
We’ve started a tradition in the last couple weeks of me singing to the kids before they sleep. I decided shortly after Lunch Bucket was born to write a lullaby for each of my kids. So Lunch Bucket and Toodles each have their own song.
I recommend that to anyone who has even the remotest poetic or musical skills. There is something powerfully bonding about singing to a child a song written especially for them.
For Tootles, it usually takes singing the song about five times before he catches on that it’s time to sleep.
Lunch Bucket loves her song, and demands it every night. She spends most of the song trying with all her might not to smile – but efforts are always in vain.
Conversations with Lunch Bucket:
I use a Neo to do most of my writing. It’s a simple word process or that looks like a calculator with a keyboard. I had just got out the Neo in my bedroom and began writing when Lunch Bucket came bounding in the room.
“What is that?” she asked.
She bounced against the bed a few times, watching my fascinating little device. “If you push that button, it will stop.”
I was curious what button she referred to, so I waited to see what she would say next.
Putting her hands in the air, she said, “It works! Good Job!”
Ignoring my gratitude, she held out the balloon she’d been given at the doctor’s office today. “I’ve got my balloon. It’s trying to get away.”
Then before I had a chance to respond, she said, “Mom get little present. Get BIG GREEN present.”
“Did momma get a present for her birthday?”
“Yeah. She got a big present for her birthday. My balloon is trying to get away.”
“Yeah. Are you going to let it?”
“I don’t want to let it. It wants to go away. (pause) Is that my toys?”
I looked up from my Neo. She was pointing up at a box on a high shelf, where the limbs of a stuffed animal hung over the edge. I knew that Jenni occasionally stashed boxes of toys away, rotating them every month in order to maintain some kind of order in Lunch Bucket’s bedroom. “Yeah,” I replied, “it might be.”
“I want my other toys.”
I knew I was now being set up for trouble. I would have to manuever through this one carefully, or I’d have a bawling toddler on my hands. “You have toys in your room.”
“I don’t want the toys in my room. I want those toys.”
“You like toys, huh?”
I think she sensed my efforts to bend the subject away from the box, and said, “I want these toys. Can I have these toys?”
“Do you know what time it is, Lunch Bucket?”
“It’s time to go to bed. Are you ready for bed?”
Complete silence. Then slowly she slips out of the room as inconspicuously as a 2 year old knows how. No more mention of the box of toys.