There's like five phrases I find myself saying to my kids on a daily basis.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my oldest daughter dragging my youngest across the floor. They did this in a casual way as if it was how normal people travel. They were giggling, and my little one looked up at me. "Hi, Dad!" she said.
There's like five phrases I find myself saying to my kids on a daily basis. In this case: "What are you doing?" and "Please, stop doing that."
My oldest answered: "Oh, just going for a spin around the house, no big deal." When, again, I asked her to stop, she explained that stopping would be no problem because they had made it to their destination: The big gymnastics competition in the living room. When you are little, "doing gymnastics" mostly means jumping off the furniture.
"Please, be careful," I said. I have said this phrase enough times that I often wonder if it has meaning anymore. My oldest rolled her eyes with such embellishment it forced her whole body to tilt.
"I know that, Dad. You say it all the time," she replied as her little sister flew from one couch to the other.
"I know you know, but I'm going to say it anyway," I said. "And I'm going to keep saying it."
This is a phrase my father said to me too many times to count when I was growing up. I mostly remember it as a soft warning as a teenager when he felt that, possibly, I might act like a teenager, especially when it came to the car. But it prefaced a lot of things. And even though my daughters are little, I say it all of the time.
"I know you know, but I'm going to say it anyway. Put your helmet on before you ride your bike."
"I know you know, but ... remember to say thank you."
The other day, to my 3 year old: "I know you know, but I'm going to say it anyway. Don't forget to pull your pants down before you use the potty." She rolled her eyes, of course she knew. But I looked at her in a way that reminded her we both knew why I was saying it.
Back when my father said this to me, I grew annoyed and never saw the point of his constant reminders. Until I became a father, I didn't realize the effect it had on me. Sure, it might not have prevented me from doing a lot of the stupid things I did as a kid. But it wasn't lost on me.
It's a reminder to your kids that you are there for them and thinking about them. And it's the perfect lead in to saying the things that you need to say to your kids constantly.
"I know you know, but ... I am here for you."
"You are not alone."
"I love you."
"Don't wipe boogers on your sister."
David Manley is an editor at The Canton Repository. Share your parenting stories with him at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @DaveManley