What Did We Learn This Week? My 3-Year-Old Is Better at Parenting Than I Am

Just when I thought I had it all figured out and was really starting to hit my parenting groove, boom, my mom tells me a story about how my 3-year-old developed a new parenting strategy to employ if you ever find yourself in the unenviable position of being in a store with your kids.

My mom had to pick up some paperwork at the hospital the other day and Jacob went with her. They stopped off in the hospital gift shop, which is basically a cross between Toys R’ Us and paradise as far as 3-year-olds are concerned. But apparently, instead of demanding that my mom buy him something from the array of irresistible stuffed chipmunks, flower pens, and novelty candies, he picked up items, inspected them, made a mental list of things he might like to buy next time, and put them back. No tears, no begging, not even a polite request. 

My mom thought that making a list of things he might like to buy next time was a particularly brilliant parenting maneuver that we had developed. Unfortunately, I had to confess that no, we weren’t that good, he made that up on his own. 

Come on! I’ve been writing all this stuff down for like a year and I haven’t delivered even one fully-formed parenting strategy? And yet, my 3-year-old has already developed a really good one? Sure, you love it when your kids succeed and do better than you and blah blah blah, but….come on!

Anyway, I don’t really like giving advice because it feels a little pretentious. But, passing along parenting tactics devised by my 3-year-old feels pretty okay. So, test this one out. Let me know if the old “think of things you’d like to buy next time” strategy works for you. If it doesn’t, just blame Jacob, it was all his idea.