By Jennifer Furner of jenniferfurner.com
I will allow my toddler to watch an hour of Daniel Tiger episodes on this Saturday morning.
Because I get my daughter up, dressed, and fed every single morning of every single day. Because even though it is Saturday and her father did not go to work today, he left the house early to train for an upcoming marathon. Because I slept terribly last night and have no energy yet to play with her or take her anywhere. Because this is my fourth full day with her, and I’m pretty sure she’s just as sick of me as I am sick of her.
I will allow my toddler to watch an hour of Daniel Tiger episodes on this Saturday morning. Because for that hour, she won’t care where I am, won’t cry when I stand up like I’m going to leave the room, even if I tell her I’ll be right back, even if I am only throwing something away in the kitchen trash can.
Because for that hour, I don’t have to rack my brain about what we’ll do next or how to keep her entertained, keep her learning, keep her feeling secure, heard, and loved, which has drained me the previous four days. Because for that hour, I can think about myself, think about what I want to do. Because for that hour, I can clean or I can write or I can check social media alone, without a shadow, without a hand wanting in, wanting to help. Because for that hour, I don’t have to let her help or I don’t have to feel bad about not wanting her to help.
I will allow my toddler to watch an hour of Daniel Tiger episodes on this Saturday morning because she won’t try a new food or share her toys, but maybe if I learn the catchy parable songs and sing them to her like Daniel’s mom does, she’ll follow Daniel’s lead and see that a new food might taste good or that sharing with you is fun for me, too.
I will allow my toddler to watch an hour of Daniel Tiger episodes on this Saturday morning because she doesn’t want to use the potty; because even though she follows me with every bathroom visit, lifts the toilet lid for me and flushes when I’m done, there’s something stopping her from doing it for herself. Maybe if she sees Daniel Tiger and Prince Wednesday and Miss Elaina use the potty, she won’t be so opposed. Maybe she’ll find she has more in common with an animated tiger, a royal, and a backwards dress enthusiast than she does with her own flesh and blood. Maybe because it’s her own flesh and blood asking that she refuses. Maybe there are just some things I won’t be able to teach her. Maybe there are just some things she’ll have to learn somewhere else.
I will allow my toddler to watch an hour of Daniel Tiger episodes on this Saturday morning because she’ll cry if I don’t. Because she doesn’t ask for much: just all my time and attention and an episode or two of Daniel Tiger. Because it’s the easiest way to keep me happy right now. Because it’s the easiest way to keep her happy right now.
I just want her to be happy.
And because I don’t have a good reason to deny her; I don’t have a reason she’d understand or think was fair.
Because she doesn’t have to learn on this Saturday morning that life isn’t fair.
About the Author
Jennifer Furner has her Master’s in Literature, and she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband and daughter. She is a freelance writer and editor, a library employee, and is currently working on publishing her first memoir. She has been published on Indelible Ink and has a forthcoming essay in Akashic Book’s column ‘Terrible Twosdays.’ Find more information on her website jenniferfurner.com, her Facebook @JenniferFurnerWriter and her Twitter @JenniferFurner.