I just finished having lunch with my almost 4-year-old daughter.
When we sat down to eat the first thing she said was, "Please don't look at me, and please don't talk to me."
So I said, "I was hoping to talk with you over lunch today."
And she said, "I don't want to."
So I said, "OK."
And we sat in silence. Occasionally I would notice her glancing at me, but I just continued to eat, enjoying my food, enjoying the peace.
After about 15 minutes she said, "Do you know that Camryn likes jelly?" And then our conversation began.
As we drove away from the restaurant I immediately reflected on our last 35 minutes.
Initially I was taken back by her request, but then I wondered, why? Why is not a good thing to ask for space, peace and quiet?
The mom in me wanted to explain why that could be offensive, but really, it wasn't offensive to me, and in that moment her emotional need seemed a lot more important than teaching her yet another way to please other people.
I appreciate that my daughter let me know what she needed. And what she needed was space.
She didn't want all the questions like at school, or when she is at her friend's house or when she's with her sisters. She wanted to sit and not be "on".
I can so relate.
This might be a difficult request in another setting or with people she doesn't know well, but I can handle it.
And I admire it.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.