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Tonight I am grateful for the family dinner.
This evening, Clara asked that we read to her during dinner, but Elysha suggested that we talk instead. Clara wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, but a little redirection had her devouring apple slices and cheese as Elysha and I discussed the day.

‘Then Clara decided to speak. “Layla took my seat today, Daddy” she said.

Elysha was already aware of the incident, which occurred just prior to leaving school. She explained that while Clara was getting ready to leave, one of her friends sat down in the chair that she was previously occupying.

In the world of two-year old children, this is apparently a big deal.

“What did you do when Layla took your seat?” I asked.

“I told Mommy,” Clara said.

Elysha and I reinforced this decision as a good one. We then role played some things that Clara could have said to Layla in order to solve the problem herself,

“Maybe I can call Ari tonight on the computer and tell him all about it,” Clara suggested.

Ari is her younger cousin.

“Sure,” I said. “If that will make you feel better, that’s a great idea”

Then Clara suggested that we call Layla’s mommy, too.

We tried to explain that this was unnecessary, and after she persisted with the idea, we successfully redirected her back to the idea of calling Ari.

The whole conversation fascinated me. My little girl, who will turn three next week, decided to discuss a problem that occurred at school with her parents while sitting at the dinner table. She explained the problem, described her solution, and offered alternative ways of making herself feel better about the problem.

She also acted a little bit like a helicopter mom in suggesting that we call Layla’s mother, but that’s okay. She’ll learn.

Had we read the book as she requested or not sat down for dinner together, this conversation would have never happened, and the problem solving, role playing and reinforcing that took place would have never happened.

Even worse, the immense pride I felt in listening to my daughter describe her day would have been lost forever.

I’m feeling very grateful for the family dinner tonight and am looking forward to the next one.