- Whether it is day or night
- Whether or not the car is going forwards
- Whether the car is going “North” or “that way” (they were both wrong)
- What day of the week it is
- Whether we are going to the grocery store or to Aldi (aka the grocery store)
- Which of them is sad
- Whether “my ABCs” belong to Perpetua or to everybody
- Whether you can recite the Lord’s Prayer in the afternoon
I didn’t expect philosophical conflict quite this early
Anselm and Perpetua were born a mere 20 months apart, and so it’s been easy to predict most of their conflicts. They squabble over toys and compete for our attention — all par for the course at this age, really. What I hadn’t anticipated is that they would be engaging in philosophical debates. And yet —
It all started yesterday, towards lunchtime, when we were taking a long, meandering route home as I tried to find a gas station with a working air pump for my tires. Perpetua started complaining that she was tired.
Anselm objected: No, it’s lunchtime!
Perpetua: I’m feeling very tired!
Anselm: No! It’s time to eat lunch!
Apparently one is not allowed to feel tired before eating. Anselm prefers things to be in their proper order, thankyouverymuch. And as everyone knows, nap follows lunch instead of the other way around.
But it didn’t stop there. I will admit that I was doing my best to tune them out at this point — but when I tuned back in they had begun arguing the root issue of their respective positions on sleep vs. hunger: whether it was day or night.
I ask you.
I had been prepared to side with Perpetua on the issue of whether one is allowed/capable of experiencing sleepiness before taking the noon repast. Unfortunately she was now the one who had taken the unreasonable position, arguing vociferously that it was not day, but night. (I do have to admire her commitment. Nobody sticks to their guns quite like an almost-two-year-old.)
Around this point I was finally able to air up the tires, and the argument had petered out by the time I got back in the car. Anselm was right on its being day, of course, but Perpetua struck a final blow for her side by falling asleep in the car before he got any lunch.
I’m going to call this one a tie.
The best thing about having a precociously verbal two-year-old is getting to find out what, exactly, goes on in a toddler’s mind. (This is also the worst thing about it.) Here’s a peek:
On his sister: “This is a big heavy kid. I think you should lift it off my bed.”
On interpersonal relationships: “Can I thump you? Can I bump you? Can I push you and you will fall down and cry? Can I bash you to bits?”
On beauty regimens: “Can I put my pee in your hair?”
On the preaching ministry: “Daddy is writing his sermon loud, Loud, LOUD!”
Wishful thinking: “Can we buy a phone for me and I can use it by myself?”
On alternative medicine: “Mama, can I pass you my hiccups?”
On geography: “Zambia, Gambia. Zambia, Gambia. Zambia, Gambia! Zambia and Gambia… RHYME!”
On chores: “Can you help me clean up this house, because it’s really really messy?”
Keeping it encouraging: “My big fat mother needs to take off all her clothes and have a shower.”