Niko has a bedding set with a licensed character set, Thomas And Friends. They were part of the “please please please sleep in your own bed FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop kicking me all night” incentive when we got his twin bed set up in his room. And he’d refer to it as his “new bed” and his “little bed” and talk excitedly about his “Thomas sheets” but until recently he showed no interest in SLEEPING in that bed. He’d sit on it, he’d play in it, he’d drag the comforter off and roll around on the floor in it, but sleeping? Not so much.
Well, that has all changed (knock on wood)! Which means nobody kicks me all night, or pulls my hair, or scrapes their toenails all over my stomach/thighs while trying to warm their feet under my body. It also means I now have two beds to make every day.
When I make his bed, I put the top sheet on the bed upside down, then the comforter. Then I turn both back, so that the front side of the sheet, the “right” side of the sheet, is facing out. I do this when I make our bed, too. Years ago, when I was a little kid, a babysitter did that and I liked it and have been doing it ever since. But the other day I remembered more about the circumstances surrounding that little lesson, in a very visceral way.
Said babysitter lived down the street from us, and my mom paid her to babysit me and my brothers. She had two kids of her own, both younger than us. Even though she was getting paid to watch (and feed) us, she expected me to do housework for her, including dishes and picking up after her kids and making beds. When she provided us with food we didn’t like, she would literally shove food into our mouths, pinch our noses shut, and hold our jaws closed while we chewed and swallowed. She wouldn’t let go until we did so, which meant we couldn’t BREATHE until we did so. Which might just explain some of my issues with food, IDK. She was a screamer, and a slapper.
She took me to task for making the beds “wrong” once, and when I asked WHY she put the flat sheets on upside down she dressed me down for my stupidity in not knowing the “right” way to make a bed. Our sheets at home were cheap solid colored cotton, there was no right or wrong face to them unless you scrutinized the hem or something. Her sheets, even the plain ones, were far more upscale, with fancy hemming and binding. She came from money, you see, and married a poor dude out of love (he worked construction, he wasn’t what most people would consider poor; her wealthy parents gave her shit for marrying “beneath” her and both talked down to her all the time but also gave her gifts of money and jewelry), so there was a definite element of class to her dressing-down of me. But the biggest thing, and this was actually a theme amongst adults in positions of caregiving and teaching in my life, is that she went out of her way to make me feel stupid and wrong for asking a question.
I quickly learned not to ask questions because if I did, I would be shamed and ridiculed in public for not KNOWING. Don’t know where my seat is? Or the bathroom? Or how to do a math problem the class learned the year before, when I was in a different school? Don’t know the words to a song everyone else learned when I was absent? Don’t know someone’s name, or title, or how to get someplace? Don’t know what a food is called? Try to pick it up from context, and fake it, because otherwise? Someone will call. you. out. in the most mortifying way possible and that person? Will be an authority figure setting the tone for everyone else, every peer, in their interactions with you.
My childhood was incredibly stressful (and FUCKED UP), in so many different ways.
I so don’t want that for Niko. He asks questions and I try to answer them as fully as possible. He isn’t in the chain-of-whys phase, but he is interested in his world and what he sees and hears and experiences. And we ask HIM questions as well (do cows eat grass? do chickens? do cats? do goats?) and talk about the answers. I want him to be comfortable questioning his world, his adults, his peers, his assumptions. I know too many people who had that beaten out of them early.