Last week, as I was tucking Jayce into bed at nap time, he said, “Mom, I scared of something in my crib.“
I paused, because he said it in a kind of playful way, not like he was actually scared but like he was trying to stall going to sleep. But I wasn’t going to ignore something like this, so I said, “Well honey, you don’t need to be scared of anything in your crib. Mom and Dad are here and we’ll protect you.”
“No Mom, you and Dad not a-tect me. You and Dad not policeman and not fireman.”
I smiled at his solid logic. I wonder which book or tv show taught him that policemen and firemen protect you? But I said, “Well, I know that we’re not policemen or firemen, but Moms and Dads protect people too.”
This seemed to satisfy him for a minute. And then, “Mom, what’s a-tect mean?”
“What does protect mean? It means that we won’t let anything happen to you. We keep you nice and safe.” It occurred to me as I was saying this how it we can’t actually keep everything bad from happening to him, or always keep him safe, and was sad that some day I’ll have to talk about that too. But for the purposes of whatever he was scared of in his crib right then, I can protect him from those things.
This answer seemed to satisfy him as well. “Yes Mom. You keep me nice and safe. Nice and cozy. Cozy and warm.” Then he derailed a bit. “Cozy and warm. Warm and hot. And cold.”
Funny little kid.
Once of Chris and I’s favorite parts of the day is after Jayce is in bed and I relay little stories like this to him. We smile over the sweet mistakes, laugh over the little nuances, wonder where he picked up various ideas or phrases, and laugh even more when we realize which ones are from us. It is such a joy to experience the way that he is learning and processing the world around him through these little comments and conversations. It has been one of the most fun things about being a parent.