What part of NO, don’t you understand? Have you brushed your teeth and made your bed yet? Have you finished your chores? Piano practicing done yet? Because I said so!
The above questions/statements are common in a mother’s repertoire of everyday conversation. But one week many years ago, I was sick and tired of saying the same thing over and over again to every child. So I got ingenious—I wrote each statement on a piece of construction paper, punched two holes at the top, then threaded a piece of yarn through the holes and wore the stack of papers as a necklace around my neck. Woa-lah! Everything I needed to say all day was right there hanging around my neck. Now instead of wasting my valuable breath, I just went up to a child, whipped through my papers until I found the right saying and held it in front of his eyes, smiling gleefully while he read my question. Then I pointed him in the right direction and went looking for another child.
We had a lot of fun that week. If I didn’t happen to be wearing my “necklace” and an incident or question arose, I ran and quickly put it on my neck and showed my comment without uttering a sound.
Looking back on that week, if I had the chance to do it over again, I would add some pages to my necklace. I would add “Thanks for doing your chores” and “You’re awesome” but most important I would add a page saying, “I love you!” and I’d be sure to put that one on top.