Not every day starts with a ticket from the police, but yesterday did.
In the five minutes called breakfast, I attempted to tweet and read the headlines without getting peanut butter smeared on my keyboard.
Vivian, my six-year-old, wanted more attention than our ten minute morning snuggle afforded her. So after she had inhaled her toast, she came over to me and started whacking my computer screen, pestering me for a bite of my English muffin and a whole lot of attention.
“Mommy needs some quiet time,” I mumbled through peanut butter.
“Can I write someone an email?” she asked, trying to take over the keyboard.
“Why don’t you play independently?” I encouraged, with one of those rhetorical questions that adults start wielding the moment they join the ranks of parenthood.
She muttered something and wandered away.
I was content and so was she. Or so I assumed. Wrongly.
Mere minutes later, she presented me with a ticket.
“It’s from the police,” she announced. She knows all about tickets because on Father’s Day, I received one for going 42 km/hr in a 30 km zone. I am aware of the irony of a mother in a minivan speeding through a playground.
I looked at Vivian’s ticket. Our phone number was inscribed at the top. Under that, it said, “You don’t love me.”
I glanced up. “Sweetie,” I said, hoping to buy some more breakfast time, “can you write it with an I-statement?”
I sipped my tea and started packing my laptop.
Moments later, she appeared, and handed me my second ticket. Once again, our phone number was prominently displayed. This time, underneath it, she’d written, “I don’t feel loved.”
Tea down, laptop away, cuddle time.
Any kids out there correcting your behavior?