My preschool-aged son has taken to lamenting that if I don’t help him RIGHT NOW then whatever his need, it will go unmet “fo-evah!”
Case in point, I was nursing the baby on the couch next to him and couldn’t spare a hand at the moment to dig through the couch cushions for the LEGO Batman helmet he dropped. This is after I told him to be careful not to drop the LEGO Batman helmet so naturally this was all my fault. His response to my failure to respond immediately was, “Now it gonna be gone FO-EVAH, Mom.” Direct eye contact, sad puppy face, he repeats, “Fo-evvvvah.”
This is a silly example. My kid is smart and sometimes lazy and he could easily have gotten his own damn LEGO piece. But “forever” is a concept that gets thrown around a lot more often than it applies.
I have no problem with children and teens misunderstanding the nature of “forever” because they haven’t lived long enough to see how often things change. I can’t think of a better example right now than with my infant. Days go by and everything changes! She grows, she learns a new skill, she likes a faster speed on her baby swing, she can hold a bottle by herself? (That one’s new!)
And most things, I realize, change so slowly that you don’t always notice: how my preschooler needs a haircut before I realize it looks any different than the last time it was cut, that he doesn’t need his food cut in such small pieces anymore, that he knows the word “catastrophe” and uses it in hyperbole like, way too often.
But there are people who should know better. There are people who should have the experience and knowledge and insight to know that, at least with children, “forever” isn’t necessarily true.
So explain to me why my son’s doctor told me, when he was only nine months old, that if I continued to rock him to sleep, I’d be rocking him to sleep for the rest of his life. “Do you want to be rocking your thirteen year old child to sleep? No? Then maybe you better stop that now.”
Or how lots of people think I nursed him too long and he’d never be able to give it up.
Or how some of the older people in his life think that if he’s not potty trained by NOW, he’ll be wearing diapers until he’s in college.
Or if I still have to help him get to sleep at night, he’ll never learn to fall asleep on his own.
I stopped rocking him when he was ready for it. I weaned him in the span of two days, after I started taking a medication that could affect my breast milk. We’re slowly working on potty training when his mind and body are so inclined. And I’m giving him strategies for falling asleep on his own and letting him backslide on bad days.
People who lose limbs are dealing with “forever” type situations. People who insist that potty training is just a bag of skittles and a weekend of cleaning up messy floors away? Those people need to reassess.
Also, we finally left that terrible doctor. That’s a fantastic story if you’re looking to get riled up toward people who mistreat children. Another day, perhaps.