After telling my 5-year-old three times to get dressed, he approaches me in the kitchen with a serious request.
“Mommy. Could you stop bossing me around? Like, stop telling me what to do every day?”
“Really? Seriously? Because that would be awesome. I would LOVE not to tell you what to do. Not to have to tell you to get dressed. To put your shoes on. And to keep them out of water and mud and off my couch.
“It'd be great not to tell you every single day to brush your teeth, wash your hands, comb your hair and go to the bathroom.
“And if I can't tell you what to do anymore, I can't tell you it's time to get up, or time to go. You might miss a few things like camp, play dates and birthday parties. But you probably don't want me telling you to get your racquet, mind your manners and take your present.
“You're gonna be naked because I can't tell you to get your clothes out of the dryer. You're gonna be sick because I can't tell you to eat your vegetables. And your hair is going to look like it's wet all the time because I can't tell you ‘Stop, that's not shampoo, it's baby oil'.
“I won't tell you to watch your step, look both ways or what will happen if you don't stop crossing your eyes. But you should be OK. It's not permanent. Not always.
“Don't plan on getting any sports scholarships, because you're gonna miss every practice, since I can't tell you where to go. Even if you figure it out, they won't let you play because they don't let naked kids play sports. Even in Europe.
“Kindergarten is gonna be harder now that I can't tell you to practice your letters and do your homework. And you're gonna be starving because I can't tell you how to use your prepaid lunch card. Oh well. Sometimes kids leave food on their trays.
“I won't tell you to hug me or to gimme a kiss. And I won't tell you come here so I can spank you. I'll just blindside you.
“I won't tell you to wear a hat so you don't get sunburned. Or wear shoes so you don't get splinters. Or take water so you don't get thirsty. Or hurry up so you're not late for the movie. And I won't tell you to sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite. Good luck with that, 'cause they will get you!
“But yes, Colton. The answer is yes. I will stop telling you what to do.”
“He blinks. And then with those big green eyes he says:
“It's just … you forgot to say, ‘Please.'”
Tracy Curtis: email@example.com