Chips and candy for every meal!
Yesterday I explained “opinion” to my five-year-old son, Li’l D.
I washed dishes as I followed up that even two people who love each other very much can have different ones. (My godmother and I are a great example of this.)
As usual, Li’l D tested my explanation immediately. “Not me and Daddy!” he cried. “We agree about everything!”
I gave him my version of The Look. Unfortunately, mine has not yet been captured on film, so I have to demonstrate my husband’s.
“Do you think Daddy should have let you win your Smurfs game a few minutes ago?” Li’l D had only joined me in the kitchen after sulking his loss under our dining room table for several minutes.
“Yes!” He didn’t even hesitate for one full second.
“Well, then, you and your dad have different opinions. You–”
“Okay, we have one different opinion. But everything else is the same!”
I searched for another good example. I asked, “Do you think you should be able to watch TV all day every day?”
Li’l D’s face lit up as he completely forgot what we were talking about, latching onto this as a genuine possibility for new world order. He was all in. “Yes! Let’s turn it on now!”
I laughed. “No, kiddo. See, that’s something else you and your daddy have different opinions on. He knows there are other things you have to do to be healthy.”
Li’l D waved off my statement. “That’s only two things! Everything else, we’re exactly the same.”
“Really? Do you think you should get to eat chips and candy bars for every meal?”
“Yesyesyes!” I chuckled at his enthusiasm. Based on his answer, a stranger wouldn’t believe he contentedly eats mostly Whole9 with me, or that he’s had only about a half-dozen pieces of his Halloween candy. His dad and I haven’t withheld it from him. He just usually doesn’t think much about that jar full of treats.
Still, there’s clearly a discrepancy between what he lives and his ideal.
“Sorry, sweetheart. This is something else your daddy and you have different opinions on. If you only ate chips and candy, you’d get pretty sick. So that’s three things right off the top–”
“Yeah, yeah, but everything else we agree on!”
I stopped doing dishes and looked at Li’l D. I’d just pulled out three examples in a twenty-second window. If I wanted, I could probably find dozens more in another two minutes.
Sometimes I have to let go of expecting his understanding now. Yesterday, looking at my son’s sweet, optimistic face, I understood that he admires and wants to be like his daddy. Time will take some of that away as he finds more and more things he wishes his daddy would do or see differently. Why hurry this process to which time will attend?
“Sure you do, kiddo,” I said as I kissed him on the top of his head. “Sure you do.”