My daughter and I were recently at the town library. They have a large area for children with a row of kid friendly computers, puppet stage, apple truck, train and building table and of course, books galore. I smiled at the other mother there with her son. As my daughter settled at the train table, I couldn’t help but hear the pleads of the little boy in the room.
Mommy, can you just watch me do this one more time?
The little boy was perched up on the apple truck and was pretending to deliver apples to the grocery store from his farm. The exasperated look on his mom’s face told me he had been at this for a while. She looked blankly at him and then back to her magazine. “Not now”, she sighed. I chuckled to myself because I know that feeling. My daughter’s most recent fixation is to constantly recite the lines from the movie Moana. Constantly. All day. Everyday.
After my daughter had finished her creation of the train and the town that surrounded it, she decided she had to read a book to the townspeople. The little boy had moved on from his apple delivery and onto the puppet stage.
Mommy, can you play with me?
“Not now,” she sighed. My daughter is an only child and I’m asked the same thing countless times throughout the day. I could definitely relate to this.
Then I saw his face. For a second, just a split second, he had this sad, defeated look in his eyes. Then he was busying himself with puppets.
I wondered if my daughter ever had that look in her eyes. Maybe I just never noticed before. I am sure she has because I have used the phrase “not now” a handful of times throughout our days.
But who can fault us? Momming is all day, everyday. There are no days off or sick days. You are on at all times. So sometimes, there needs to be a second to just breathe. Sometimes there needs to be a pause, a moment, anything. Sometimes there needs to be a “not now”.
But because of “that look”, I will try my best to not use that statement as often as I have been. Not only because I don’t want my daughter to feel like I’m not interested in her or have her feel disappointed but because one day, I will be the one with “that look”. One day, sooner than I would like to admit, I will be the one who will want her attention and she will say “not now”. I will wish I had played one more time, listened one more time, sang one more time, colored with her one more time.
As I put my daughter to bed tonight, she asked me to sing her “The Second Star To The Right” one more time. So I did. She then asked for one more good night hug. So I hugged her tight. I then curled up next to her for a bit. Her whisper broke the brief silence.
Mommy, do you have to leave my room now?
I gave her a squeeze, settled in and answered.
No. Not now.