Where are your shoes?
Put on your shoes.
You need shoes.
Go to your room and pick out some shoes.
We can't leave until you find your shoes.
It's time to put on your shoes.
No, you can't have a lollipop.
She is deaf to these words. Barefoot, wearing her favorite pink dress, hair in a yellow barrette, she flits about the room, savoring the feel of the cool tile against her toes. I wonder if my request is unreasonable. Can you expect a 3-year-old to know where her shoes are and put them on unassisted before school?
Ask her where her princess is. The black one wearing the orange flower dress and the blue tiara (not the pink one). And she'll tell you immediately: she's in a corner under a blanket, next to her tortoise book and beside her nightgown, the shiny purple one left exactly where she took it off two days ago.
The clock is ticking.
About the 15th time I mention shoes, Miles comes toddling up to me carrying his shoes. Not yet 18 months, he hears me. He gets it. And his shoes were harder to find than hers, strewn about the playroom. One hiding under a corner of the couch. He can't yet say "shoes," and he fetches his shoes.
I buckle her into the bike trailer and hand her her backpack and shoes.
"Lollipops are for good listeners," I say.
"I am a good listener, Mommy."