Literally since before they could talk, the girls have been making observations about the world around them.
I love to tell them the story of how we were passing a sign with dogs on it – oblivious to me – when I heard the girls, then about 15 months, slapping their legs from the backseat of the car. It took me a moment to recognize they were signing “dog”, but sure enough, I spotted the billboard outside their window.
I wrote not long ago about how they’ve become full-fledged backseat drivers since we turned their car seats around earlier this year. “Do you think we’ll make that light, Mommy?” “Mommy, the speed limit is 45. How fast are you going?”
Their commentary extends far beyond what we’re doing. Lately they seem to seek what they see as social, moral, ethical, and environmental injustices in nothing short of WonderTwin fashion.
“Mommy! That man is smoking! It’s bad for his health!”
“Mommy! I see a bottle in the grass! That’s not good for the environment!”
“Mommy! Someone didn’t return their cart! That is very inconsiderate!”
“Mommy! Those people are eating at a chemical restaurant!” (This is usually followed by a hacking sound, then laughter.)
“Mommy! That person is riding a motorcycle without a helmet!” A couple of times my A has gone on to say, “He has on the wrong pants, and the wrong shirt, and the wrong shoes.” [I finally figured out that I explained one time why people often wear leather jackets and pants and boots to ride motorcycles…I guess she thinks those items are a “must.”]
“Mommy! That dog is not on a leash! I hope that’s his yard! And I hope they have an underground fence. That wouldn’t be safe for him to be out without his mommy or daddy!” “Be safe, Sweet Pup!”
“Mommy! That car was going FAST! Do you think they’ll get a ticket?”
And these comments are just from our weekend outings. Over the course of a week, the list would be much, much longer.
Many times, the girls will ask “WHY” people do certain things, or make certain choices. I do my best to present my answer in a non-judgmental way.
About some things, I will remind the girls, “Different people have different rules, and that’s OK.”
And about other things – like smoking and eating foods certain foods – I take a more direct approach. “Maybe some people don’t have the same information that we have. Mommy and Daddy read, and we work with your pediatrician and our doctors to know what things are good for our bodies. We know about making good choices for us, and that’s what we do.”
And about some things, like litter, I’ll agree, “Yes, someone was being very inconsiderate. It’s very impolite to throw trash on the ground, and it’s bad for the environment.”
I’m trying to temper the girls from being too goody-goody…at least within earshot of other people…but I have to laugh to myself at my miniature citizens on patrol.