My little girl can say please. Well… ‘peas’, if we’re going to get technical. Amelia’s daddy and I, with the help of Persistent Repetition, have taught my 18-month-old sweetheart that if she would like something, “please” is the word. She also ‘signs’ please by bringing her little hands up to her chest in a beautiful gesture of all things polite.
We started by asking her to say “please” when she gets a treat after lunch or dinner. And after a couple of days she had cottoned on to the concept… almost too well. I am now faced with the Beast of Please also known as ‘Peas’, whose best friend is Unparalleled Sweetness.
My darling Amelia brings me a toy saying “peas, peas, peas” – a toy that has no buttons, no complicated switches, nothing to turn… and I am utterly befuddled. What am I to do with so polite a request and so obvious a toy? Desperate not to disappoint and discourage the pleas of ‘peas’ I make up some ridiculous game to distract the unfathomable intent of the questioner, and my child seems happy. Until…
… until, the Beast rises again. In strolls Amelia, carrying two pairs of tights, a hoodie and three shirts, begging “peas, peas, peas.” This time I am not confused. She wants to wear all of the above. I try to rationalise by telling my little lovely that her tiny person cannot possibly accommodate so much clothing. Reason shmeason. I end up dressing her teddies, which seems to compensate for and appease the ‘peas.’
Then there is the dreaded I-would-like-to-wash-myself-in-copious-amounts-of-soap “peas, peas, peas” and the I-would-like-you-to-spend-all-morning-making-my-dollies-dance-to-Disney-classics “peas, peas, peas”, which are never as bad as the point-randomly-in-any-direction “peas, peas, peas” or the may-I-play-with-mommy’s-very-expensive-Venetian-masks-all-the-way-from-Venice “peas, peas, peas” – both of which cannot be satiated.
The… Beast.. of… Please… is… wearing…me…down! It’s cuteness is heart-breakingly, unashamedly precious!
After the euphoria involved in the joy of bringing my daughter one step closer to social propriety, lesson number two in ‘correct social conduct’ is that ‘peas’ is not in fact a magic word that grants all wishes. Following which, is lesson number three; this unfair state of being need not be acknowledged with unearthly screeches and bouts of melancholia. Life’s ambiguity is a tough lesson for a toddler…