“When your mama was little,” I told Jet, “her grandpa took her to this park, and when I was little my grandma and grandpa took me to this park and I’m pretty sure when my mama was little her Papa took her to this park too.”
“This is Papa’s park,” Jet agreed, in reference to the fact that she’d been here before with her Papa and me. It’s a good park for toddlers with less-than-steady legs. The walkways are smooth and relatively flat. I took my dad to this park when brain cancer made hiking difficult for him, too.
“Maybe when you get bigger, you’ll take Grandma to this park,” I said.
Our walks are usually about one mile in length, but the weather was perfect (not too hot or cold) so before we knew it, we’d covered two miles and were ready to go home to a cold drink.
Jet sipped her drink slowly, but I finished mine in minutes. “Grandma get another drink, she commanded.
“No, I don’t want any more right now,” I told her. We repeated that conversation about four more times before I realized she had entered broken-record mode.
“Get another drink. Get another drink. Get another drink. Get another drink.” I regarded her without further response through 20 more repetitions and various failed attempts to turn her attention to something else. She was neither angry nor frustrated, but she was very insistent and persistent.
At this point I began counting. I counted100 more phrases before becoming bored and wondering what she was learning from this process. Jet often begins to nag before I have the opportunity to respond to her desires. At lunch, for example, she doesn’t just ask for milk, she chants, “milk, milk, milk, milk” as I walk to the refrigerator, retrieve the milk and place it on her tray. I usually wait for her to add the word “please” before letting her have the cup, but maybe I’ve also inadvertently taught her that nagging produces results.
On the other hand, she might be engaging in an experiment of sorts to determine the effects of repetition using me as a guinea pig. If so, she was certainly being very thorough. If this level of perseverance is eventually applied to her schooling she’ll do very well!
“Jet, do you know what time it is now?” She stopped chanting and looked at me with an expression of interest.”
“No, not story time.”
“That’s right, it’s lunch time!” She was halfway to the kitchen before I took another step.