When I put Ariana to bed for the night, I ask what made her happy, then what made her sad, and any other random questions I can think of. It's not so much for information always as it is to practice conversation and opening up about our days, but sometimes it's really telling. Example: one night I asked her the happy question, and she said, "Cry." (It's almost always one-word answers.) I was surprised and said, "Why did crying make you happy?" and she said, "Show," as in, she got to watch a show, because she cried.
It was so hard not to laugh, and also be embarrassed! But here's the thing - we normally don't give into her because she cries. If anything, she gets so emotional at the prospect of us saying no, she can't listen to us say, "We have to do such-and-such first," when we fully intend on watching a show, or whatever, later. Anyway, I told Chris and I wasn't sure if I should think she really understood what I was saying or if it was just chance. I felt like she understood, but there's no need to jump to conclusions, and he agreed.
However, a few nights later, I asked the same thing and again she responded, "Cry." "Why did crying make you happy?" "Binky." Ok. Something's up! I vowed to be stricter and watch myself more when she cried about something, and start making a harder rule that if she cries, she doesn't get it. It's SO funny, but so telling on my end, too! I thought I had been so good about staying strong when she had tantrums. I probably need to word things better too, but that's for another day.
(And I love that she's old enough to know how to manipulate us, but too young to know not to tell us she's doing it!!)
So anyway, couple nights ago, I asked what made her happy, and she said things like, "Cookie," "Show," etc. I asked what made her sad ("Cry,"), I asked if she did something to be nice to baby ("Sahhhh," (soft)), and then we were quiet for a few minutes. My mind was drifting off to the events of the day - things that had stressed me out, things I knew I needed to do better tomorrow, things I still needed to do that night. Suddenly, she said, "Bee!" All day, she kept seeing this bee, or rather, a gnat, fly around, and she got so excited every time! Being the lover of all God's creatures that she is, she'd ask to hug it, touch it, share her food with it, etc. I gathered from context that she was still thinking of things that had made her happy that day. And then she finished her list with, "Show." (We're on a Tangled kick, as we should be.)
And it snapped me out of my train of thought so fast. So often, before bed, my mind automatically goes to all those negative things, or at the very least, unproductive, and here she was, after a couple subject changes and minutes of silence, still thinking about all the things that brought her joy that day.
I vowed to be more like her. To go to bed focused on all the happiness in my life. Sure, I think about things occasionally - run a quick check-list prayer of thanks for all the things I have to be grateful for, but I never really focus on individual experiences that I just loved that day. I did it last night and it helped me relax so much faster. (Well, that and the lavender oil I used.)(Don't judge.) I love how she shows me the better way of doing things, just by being her tiny, two-year-old self.