"We have to stop eating dinner in front of the TV," I used to say back when I was pregnant, "so she can learn that dinner is something to be done at the kitchen table, as a family."
"You have to improve your eating habits," I used to say, watching my husband sprawled across the couch in the back room, a tall glass of soda at his side, his hand buried in an extra large bag of Cheetos. "I don't want her learning about all that processed crap too soon."
"There needs to be limits on screen time," I used to say, referring to the television, our laptops, our iPhones, our iPads. "I want her to learn that there is more to life than staring at a screen."
Oh, I had lofty goals alright. But I also think I had the right idea. After all, if I wanted her to learn about healthy living, healthy eating, positive body image, the joys of reading, and all that other stuff, I had to model that behavior. Not just pay lip service to it.
But habits are hard to break. And at this point, eight months into motherhood, I feel as if Em has already seen too much.
So while she may indeed learn that there is joy to be had in reading, and that yoga is fun and can make you feel good, and that vegetables are yummy, there are a slew of other less than ideal behaviors and truths I think she's already internalized:
1. That the single most fascinating thing to do, at the exclusion of all else, is to stare mindlessly at one's Twitter feed, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling for large swaths of time despite all of the other items on one's to-do list.
2. That coffee is the nectar of the gods and, if one's loved one happens to drink the last cup of coffee, which was obviously meant for you, it is well within one's rights to tackle that person to the ground and put them in a headlock and demand that they brew more coffee.
2b. That just because your coffee mug happens to be ridiculously large does not mean that you are not afforded the same number of cups of coffee as the person you are splitting the pot with.
3. That it is totally fine to wear yoga leggings all day, even if the class you took/taught was at 9 in the morning, leaving plenty of time for you to change into non-workout apparel.
4. That 30-minute showers are one's God-given right.
5. That there is absolutely nothing wrong with streaming just one more episode of "Buffy" before getting back to work.
6. That when dinner is still four and a half hours away, it makes perfect sense to bake two dozen cupcakes and then immediately eat five of them, just as a "snack."
6b. ... and then continue eating them every time you walk through the kitchen over the course of the next few days, eventually eating all two dozen of them singlehandedly.