So: We are big on sitting down to a family dinner every night. I insisted that my toddler sit at the table and learn manners that make her a pleasant dining companion. After all, it's not uncommon for me to spend unpleasant time dining in company with adults who talk with food in their mouths, chew with their mouths open, don't use a napkin...you get the idea. Ick.
On the other hand: There was a period of almost a year when she was 3 that Gem insisted on wearing her shoes on the wrong feet. Everywhere we went, people would say, "What an adorable little girl!" and then whisper aside to me (as if I didn't know about it) "You know her shoes are on the wrong feet, Honey." I would just smile wearily, "Yes. That's how she likes it." But honestly, I don't know any grown person who wears their shoes on the wrong feet, so I decided not to care. (It may be a relief to you to know that this problem did resolve itself.)
Like all little kids, Gem would mix up words on a regular basis. I am a teacher. An early childhood person. A reading specialist even. But how I cherished those adorable mistakes! I confess I often did not correct them.
Once we were in a public place and my 2-year-old decided to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the top of her lungs with a special flourish at "the bombs burping in air." She insisted that "Jingle Bells" were "on a one house open sleigh." And the Little Star twinkled "like a diamond ring in the sky."
There was a little song I used to sing, "The red light says to stop. The green light says to go. And in between the yellow light says, 'Caution, now go slow.'" That ended up as "And beenatween the yellow light says, 'Carwash, now go slow."
Makes perfect sense to me.