I don’t know how to…

I know know how to…


…be kind.

…be a good girl.

All common phrases out of Adi’s mouth these days. We’ve given her demonstrations, oral how-to books, and reinforced when she HAS been able to do these things.

“What CAN you do? Have you asked her that?” Dawn said as I finished recapping our bedtime shenanigans from the night before.

Brilliant. What would she say? Would this end the endless whining about what she can’t do?

When I first asked Adi, “what can you do?” as a response to one of her “I don’t know how to…” statements, she hesitated for a second, thrown off by the question. Then she responded, “I know how to be kind. I know how to share with my friends.”

Maybe Dawn was onto something.

Tonight at bedtime, right after she said, “I don’t know how to sleep (which actually sounded more like sweep),” I asked again… what she knew how to do.

“Eat and draw pigeons.” A few seconds later, she added to the list, “I also know how to be kind to everyone…except my family.”

“That’s two things. Plus, you’ve been pretty kind to Rose,” I reminded her.

“I hit her today.”

Thanks to Dawn for helping us to switch up the dialogue! This is life with my soon to be five year old middle child. Never a dull moment.

Proof that she does, in fact, know how to sleep.


17 thoughts on “I don’t know how to…

  1. What a fabulous and subtle shift of perspective. I wonder what will happen when I turn my own talk around…
    Thank you (and thanks to Adi & Dawn, as well)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great way to change the conversation. I think we can try this in so many places. My favorite line of this piece is that Adi knows how to “eat and draw pigeons’. Brilliant! What an incredible line. She may be tough, but she sure gives you some great writing material,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not only is this a great way to shift the conversation, it also fosters independence! I try to do this in the library when a student comes to me looking for a book. I ask what they know about it, and then how that helps them find it. Not that I’m not willing to help, but it makes them realize how independent they can be in that setting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great idea–shift the perspective. Adi knows how to engage us too. I love your descriptions and I’m happy to see that she does know how to sleep! Some day you’ll have to share these posts with her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the way Adi recognizes that she’s good at being kind to her friends. It can be very challenging for some children to articulate areas of strength. Offering Adi an in to talking about her strengths seems like a great way to also help her see herself in new ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, those were the days! Good luck with your beautiful daughter – I think you’ll be working hard to stay just one step ahead of her for many years to come! Thank you for sharing this delightful story.


  7. There is so much power in just changing the words… and doing so by listening to what is really being said (and heard). Communication. Ah, sometimes I marvel that we understand each other at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well crafted slice with conversation and your internal thoughts! Adi’s personality shines through and your amazing patience with your nugget is apparent in this slice! So glad she can draw pigeons and eat! Thanks for sharing!


  9. Oh, my heart remembers those days. I promise you, all your time, love, effort and tough decisions will pay off. They are figuring out who they will be and how they will impact this world. Hindsight is 20/20 — you are can’t make a mistake that will change their course, you can model vulnerability, stability and unconditional love (which I can tell you do) So.. mom (of 17 and 19-year-olds) to mom (of younger ones) — you’ve got this, trust yourself, be you and enjoy the journey – bumps and all. I am here to tell you-you are a great mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Heck, I could do this with my 19 and 21 year old daughters! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this interaction with your daughter. It makes my heart happy to see these kinds of slices. There’s power in the spoken language, both yours and hers. It’s great you are having these conversations as she may not remember them, but they will be in your heart forever.

    Liked by 1 person

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