I Can’t.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to convince a three-year-old that trying is not only acceptable as a social norm, but also required for living? Well, it’s difficult. Littlest, as most three-year-olds do, is going through his “I can’t” phase. I can’t means I refuse in Littlest speak. And, I get it. He’s not quite three feet tall. He’s recently come to the realization that he’s a people, and people have say. But, as most three-year-olds do, he’s about to come to the realization that I refuse isn’t going to cut it anymore. So many “I can’ts”, so little time.

“I can’t.” (Regarding the pulling of his arm out of his sleeve.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the removal of his shoe.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the turning on of the water in the bathroom.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the clean up of the very last car.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the consumption of sandwich crust.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the five-minute walk to daycare.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the navigation of stairs without being carried.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the last bladder expulsion of the day.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the finding of his slippers.)

“I can’t.” (Regarding the removal of his dirty socks.)


So, today. We had to have The Talk. (The first of many, to be sure.).

There is no I can’t.

There is only I will.

If you say “I can’t.”, it’s like locking a door.

So. You say “I will”. And if you don’t get it right away, you try until you do.

And you know what?

He put his pants on.

They went the right way around.

He said his virtual “I can’t” (meaning I refuse) to say “I did it!”, but he spent the remainder of the time before daycare pretending to be a happy little kitty.

Maybe “Meow?” meant I did it? We’ll never really know. And likely as not, I will spend many more mornings explaining the meaning of “I will.” But for tonight, I am going to say that “I will be going to bed”, rather than “I can’t keep my eyelids propped open anymore.”.

Good night,

Mrs. Handler.


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