A while back I made the unfortunate mistake of teaching Samantha the phrase, "zip your lip." I didn't tell her to zip her lip; that would have been obnoxious. I used the phrase as an example of something she could say to express her desire for me to be quiet. I think I was trying to lighten the mood or something by finding a cute way for her to say it, but now the damage is done. You see, she always wants me to shut up. Not only does she resent it when I try to do things for her, she can't stand it when I give her instructions when she doesn't need or want them.
So she is constantly telling me: MOMMY, WILL YOU PLEASE ZIP YOUR LIP? As long as she uses a respectful tone of voice, I don't mind. It's just her way of saying, I WANT YOU TO BE QUIET NOW. When she wants to emphasize how important it is to her, she asks me to run my fingers over my lips in a zipping motion - another little gem that I wish I had never taught her. But, alas, this is her way of controlling her world and getting too-helpful-Mommy to just butt out. I respect that.
So, when we were at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Sam was totally into the dinosaurs. She was fascinated. I think it took her a while to get the idea of bones; these were the bones of the dead dinosaurs. (We did a lot of explaining beforehand, but that's a tough concept for a 3-year-old, don't you think?) But I do think she got some sense of it - that this was all that was left of them. The point is, she really, really loved it.
She was being really good on this trip in general, but at one point I asked her to do something and she started to yell at me. I told her that if she wanted to stay at the museum and see the dinosaurs, she had to speak kindly to us, or we might have to leave. She started to yell again, but then she took her fingers and zipped her lip. Over and over, she zipped her lip, until she was sure that she would not yell at me again. And it worked!