A few times a year, my students get hot cocoa and popcorn. I always thought it greedy when they asked for more. But then, when Autumn began wanting extra of everything, rather than toss accusations, I wondered why. Why can’t we all just be grateful for what we get? One day, I discovered the answer. *** There’s so much I adore about my daughter, like how she understands jokes and shows compassion, dances freely and loves unconditionally. But there’s one thing that’s less than endearing. No matter how much she gets – whether it’s reading books or watching Bluey, eating chocolate or sucking popsicles – her response is always the same.
“Just. One. More.”
Sometimes I wonder if I’d mind as much when she asks if, in fact, her desire was satisfied with that extra bonus. However, I can’t recall a time when – after one more – she stopped asking for yet another. Lately, the pleading has taken a new twist.
“I promise,” she says (if Mommy gives into the one more), “I won’t ask for another.”
Here’s hoping there’s a money back guarantee on promises – because hers are consistently broken. And while I don’t place blame – she’s only two and Daniel Tiger hasn’t yet waxed poetic on keeping one’s word – I do often find myself in a conundrum. When the request is made, I have two options.
1. Give in, in which case the ‘more’ onslaught continues until I’m forced into #2 2. Stand firm
By this time, I’m annoyed and frustrated, and sometimes guilt-stricken. Even though it’s late, and we’ve read a dozen, and I’m beyond exhausted, isn’t it awesome she’s demanding more books? It’s a good thing Motherhood isn’t a sport, because no matter how hard you try, there’s just no winning.
Although I do my best to stay calm when spinning in the One More cycle, one afternoon, I lost it. My words – not the ending of the activity – created tiny tear streams down her soft face. I hugged her, apologized, and imagined my mom with that look she gives when I’m impatient – the one admonishing me cruel and heartless, unworthy of mothering her granddaughter.
We made amends, and after tucking her in – “I love you infinity forever everywhere. Sleep dreams, sweet girl” – I had an epiphany while unwrapping the Yasso bar that had been calling my name for hours.
To a two-year old, it’s another episode or scoop, to someone 92, another breath or minute. And in between, it’s me, wishing for another morning of my baby snuggled skin-to-skin on my chest. Because when we love something, we all want to indulge. It’s not greediness, as I used to think, nor does it imply we’re not thankful. In fact, gratitude and wanting are not mutually exclusive – we can be both grateful and yearning. Such was the case with my students and daughter, and such is the sentiment we all share.
I began to realize Autumn’s ‘more’ manifests itself in other ways, too. Before we leave anywhere she says:
“I want to come back here.”
And I find it adorable, the way she doesn’t discriminate – it could be the Oriental Theater or the local diner, a vacation in Portland or NanaPapa’s. How fortunate am I to have a child who enjoys it all so much?
So even though ‘more’ is human nature, and also sometimes quite dear, there’s no doubt on any given night when she’s pushing it, I’ll continue feeling insane. But then, during the calm, I’ll remind myself that at times, I’ve been known to eat two frozen treats in a row, and I’ll think of the future, when she’ll go to kindergarten, then overnight camp, and eventually college, and I’ll find myself wishing for one more day, one more night, and one more childhood.