mama, I have to tell you something

I’m sitting in the family room. Crappy Boy enters and runs up to me:


He says he has to tell me something. So I answer, “What?” 

This is supposed to be the part where he tells me the thing he wants to tell me. Only something else happens instead. 


He forgot what it was. So I wait, silently. If I give him some time he’ll probably remember.

But he doesn’t.


And what is worse, he seems to think that I know what he was going to say. 

Sometimes, I can follow his train of thought and I can help steer him back on track. If we’re talking about butterflies I might ask questions about wings or flying or birds or airplanes. And he’ll suddenly remember.

But this time, we weren’t even in the same room together before he approached me. I have no context. How the heck am I supposed to know what he was going to say? I visualize the rest of the house. What room was he coming from? What could he possibly have seen? What has he been thinking about lately?

But I’ve got nothing. This train is a mystery. So I shrug. And admit that I don’t know.

I tell him that if he waits a bit it will probably come back to him and he’ll remember. 


But this makes him even more frustrated. And accusatory.

How could I possibly know? 


I’m being attacked for not being able to read his mind. (Oh. So this is what that feels like. Apologies to Crappy Papa for that period of time in my mid-twenties when I was in my mid-twenties.)

So I proceed the only way I can think of:



Train diverted. It worked!

We spend the rest of the afternoon playing Twenty Questions. And all is well. 

That night as I’m tucking him into bed, he says he remembers what it was he wanted to say earlier:


I keep on smiling and wait for him to proceed. (Inside however, I’m thinking, “Uh oh, I really hope he actually remembers and doesn’t expect me to guess.”)

Then he says:


Huge relief. Huge. I tell him that I love him too. And he asks:


We laugh and say goodnight.

It’s the little things. It really is. 


This entry was posted in crappy pictures, five, good stuff, parenting, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

142 Responses to mama, I have to tell you something

  1. Amy says:

    You are right, it is the little things that make all the difference. Good job, Mommy.

  2. Heather Bridges says:

    Aw, I love this one!

  3. Gabrielle says:

    AWWWW! Love this. Like a sequel to “Guess How Much I Love You”.

    • Gabrielle says:

      Other Gabrielle, it made me think of that, too. My daughter tells me that she loves me around the whole universe and back.

    • elin says:

      I love that book so much! I can’t wait until my little one can understand what it is saying!

  4. Oh my goodness, that is the cutest thing ever! A children’s book in the making :). My son does the same thing with the mind-reading. Or when he wants to find something. “Yes you DO know where it is! You DO! Stop saying you don’t know!”

    • martinet says:

      I agree totally about this being a great narrative for a children’s book! (Also, the assumption that we can read their minds is SO weirdly common in kids. For us it was always about stuff that happened in school–they’d talk about something that we’d never heard about before, with absolutely no context, and get annoyed or frustrated with us when we probed for more info. I think my older stepdaughter felt like “well, you’ve been to school, you should know what happens there, down to the last detail, in spite of the fact that it’s been about 30 years and [for me] was in a completely different state!”)

  5. Mary-Michael says:

    My little girl is 20 months and it is so fun to read your blog. It gives me a glimpse of all the stages ahead! Thanks!

  6. Megan says:

    It is the little things! Love it. Also loved,
    “(Oh. So this is what that feels like. Apologies to Crappy Papa for that period of time in my mid-twenties when I was in my mid-twenties.)”

    That is also very true.

  7. Shir Kaduri says:

    Mid-twenties. lmao that part made me about piss myself. This is so sweet and that kid seems like the most fun child to be around! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Liz says:

    Now I’m crying a little bit….your blog makes me laugh, AND cry!

  9. Liz says:

    I love it!! (I get that same you-should-be-able-to-read-my-mind thing from my son, too.) But what a great thing he had to impart!

  10. Jessy B says:

    Awwwwwww!!! That’s the best thing to remember. <3

  11. Maximus says:

    Awww. This one is just sooooo cute. <3

  12. Jen says:

    I loved that mid 20s apology to your husband, that made me lol.

  13. Jessica says:

    So sweet. Every night when I’m tucking my 6 year old into bed I say, “I love you.” He says, “I love you too, mama.” I say, “I love you more.” and he says, “No I love YOU more.” And I say, ” Nico, that’s just NOT possible” And he says, “it is possible, mama, it IS possible” He just doesn’t understand that it just isn’t. But EVERY night we play the same game. I heart that game.

  14. OK I laughed heartily at “I’d like to apologize to Crappy Papa for that time in my mid-twenties when I was in my mid-twenties.” Ah yes.


  15. Tacy says:

    One of the best you’ve ever posted! Thank you!

  16. Is Crappy Boy four? Because Sunshine (my nickname for MY four-year-old) does this ALL the time. And she gets PISSED when I DON’T know what she is trying to tell me. I’ll have to try this redirection technique! Here’s to four-year-olds!

    • amber says:

      No, he is five now but he certainly started this when he was four!

      • Emily says:

        I use the mind reading to my advantage with my 4 year old. When I see him do ‘the wee dance’ I tell him that I know he needs to wee and he looks and me and says ‘do I mama?’ and runs off to the bathroom!!

  17. joanna says:

    This post makes me happy. Oh, how I wait for when my little guy can talk.

  18. amanda phillips says:

    so cute!! my 6 year old always says I have a secret for you *whispers* I love you!

  19. Christina says:

    Such an awesome story! I got a little teary there!

  20. Shir Kaduri says:

    By the way, im very upset ๐Ÿ™ whenever i try to “share” your stories with facebook… i click the little “like facebook” link thing and nothing happens… Whaa! so i usually copy and paste the link but is this happening to any one else too? ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Meghan says:

    Oh my gosh, that is just the sweetest thing ever! Love it!

  22. Aww…love it! My 22 month old just says ‘Peeeeeaaaaas!’ and ‘Ooooooooookay!’ over and over while we all scramble around trying to figure out what she wants, lol.

  23. Shari says:

    Teared up when I read “it’s the little things” and my baby is 19 – that’s years. It’s still true. Try not to lose that perspective, young moms.

  24. Deborah says:

    Awww! I’ve been there with mine and that accusatory tone for not knowing lol! Especially after I’ve told him many times I know everything because I have Mom Eyes……..

  25. Stephanie says:

    So sweet ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Megan says:

    So sweet! I’m actually a little weepy ๐Ÿ™‚ The first part of the post could have been a dialogue straight from my house on a daily basis.

  27. Liz says:

    Awwwwww ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Amy says:

    You DID know all along! Maybe that should be your go-to comeback when the kids forget what they were going to tell you. You say, “Was it that you love me?”. When they get older you’ll get an annoyed, “NO!”, but maybe for now you’ll get a hug instead. Good luck.

    • amber says:

      Oh trust me, if I tried that I’d get an annoyed “NO!” now but I might just give this a shot!

      • Aleigh says:

        That’s my husband’s reply when *I* can’t remember what I was going to say. It’s very disarming.

  29. Michelle says:

    Too cute! I love it when things like that happen. You are expecting sinking of crazy statement then they say something profoundly sweet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Beth says:

    This post is absolutely my favorite. It brought tears to my eyes. Also, I just sent an apology to my husband at work, because I went through the same ‘why can’t you read my mind’ period in my mid-twenties. I’m sure it made his day. Thanks for making mine!

  31. Beth says:

    Awwwww, loved this one! It makes me so happy when a new post of yours pops up on my Facebook feed. And this one made me super duper happy. I need super duper happiness because now I”m going to log out and take my kids to the Dr… know, where all the germs are. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. Lisa says:

    My 2 yr old can’t talk yet, but whenever I’m holding him in my arms (usually carrying him up to bed) he gently pats me on the back. I like to think that’s his version of saying “I love you”.

    • Samantha says:

      My lil Eli is 14 months and he pats me on the back when he is sleepy, he is hurt and I rescued him, or if I get onto him he wraps his arms around my leg and pats me with the saddest teared up blue eyes LOL it’s hard to still be upset with him!!

  33. Kira says:

    Your posts aren’t supposed to make me cry.

  34. NCMama says:

    Beautiful. That story is more than a blog post. It’s a children’s book just waiting to be published.

  35. Dana says:

    Good job diverting the train. I love this post… made me teary-eyed at the end. (Oh my hormones!) The story reminded me of my daughter saying “You know!” ALL the time when she was 3 and 4.

  36. Samantha says:

    Awww. I’m pregnant and hormonal and now I’m crying! Thanks!

  37. Sarah says:

    I just get “Mommy, I hate to tell you…” Me: “You hate to tell me what?” and then silence. Until five minutes later when he tells me that he pooped in his underwear. Lucky me. I get the I love yous, too though.

  38. Aleigh says:

    What a little sweetheart!

    Mine gets mad at me for not knowing the lyrics to songs I’ve never heard. “Sing the one that goes doo doo doo that Grandma sang to me.” But he’s also very fond of musical improvisation, so generally a made-up song instead is acceptable.

  39. Jenni says:

    Last night, after 5 or more times of putting my daughter (she’s 3 1/2) back in bed, she walked into the living room. I told her to go get back in bed, and she looked at me with her lips trembling ” But Mommy, I have to tell you something!”
    me-“What, Clara” Obviously, frustrated at this point. She’s been using this excuse for quite awhile now, to get a few extra minutes before bedtime. Usually it’s something about rainbows, or kittens, just trying to start a conversation so she can put off going to sleep a little longer. I was ready to tell her that it was bedtime, and we could talk in the morning…
    Clara- “I love you. Goodnight” I wasn’t expecting that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Erika says:

    Great story. I love it when kids surprise (you in a good way!)

  41. Colleen says:

    Sweetest post ever….two tears ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Jenn says:

    OMG…I just melted into a puddle. It IS the little things and I love them all.

  43. christina says:

    LOL As soon as I say what…My 9 year old says Chicken butt… And then asks me when am I ever gonna learn to not say what….

  44. J says:

    cute story! i love the ending.

    my 2.5 yo says, “mama, i want summmffing!” and then it escalates into yelling until i figure it out. usually the “sumfing” is chocolate or gummy bears. =)

  45. Kathleen says:

    My 4 yo daughter admitted to doing this just yesterday. “You know mommy, when I ask you ‘you know what’ and then I can’t remember what I was going to say? Well, I just say ‘I love you’ instead.” It sounded cute out loud, but I am sure there is some underlying deviousness – and I will let you know what it is as soon as I find out.

  46. marcy says:

    I hear that statement “mommy I have to tell you something” very very often from my 4 yo. Sometimes its random, ir its about something he wasn’t supposed to do. More than anything though, he says “i love you” or “you are such a sweet mommy”. I think he knows it makesmy face light up.

  47. Stephanie says:

    My 7yr old is like this. However, he is now doing charades to try and help me remember what he forgot. I should take videos of it. It’s priceless. It looks like he is dancing around like a confused duck, all the while saying, “you know, that thing?!”

  48. Jo says:

    I did not see that coming. Sweetest story EVER. I love it bigger than a breadbox too ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. mbwest says:

    My four yo does the accusatory tone thing fairly often too, but sometimes when she realizes she forgot what she was saying, she’ll say, “Ahhhh…” look around, find something apropos to discuss, and start an entirely new subject as though that’s where she was headed all along.

  50. Jen says:

    so sweet! My 9 moth old has just started blowing kisses (although she doesn’t discriminate who she blows them to. When I was pregnant I’d be thinking about something then start a conversation (halfway through) with my husband and when he didn’t know what I was talking about I’d tell him “You should LISTEN TO MY BRAIN!”

  51. Lula says:

    my mother often does that to me: she calls me to say she wanted to tell me something and I’m supposed to know what it was… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  52. Madeleine says:

    Nice tactic and how is your heart after that melting it must have done?!

  53. Aww, that was the sweetest ending! Great post!

  54. Toni says:

    That is soooo precious! <3 My heart just melted.

  55. Lisa says:

    So amazingly sweeeeeet!

  56. Johnolulu says:

    My son does the same thing! Except he yells at us for “stealing his mind”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. AMY says:

    My boys do this too me ALL the time! What was I going to say? I going don’t know. You DO know!! You’re spot on as usual! And the “love you” part was so sweet!

  58. Apple says:

    Growing up, whenever my mom couldn’t remember what she was gonna tell us she’d simply say, “I love you, that’s all that counts.” I passed that along to my kid and hopefully, he’ll pass it on to his.

    It really is the little things like this…

  59. Ellen Lloyd says:

    Bwahahahaha! He is SO adorable!

    (Also, I’m suspicious that he knew very well what “that thing” was all along. Extrapolating from my own childhood mindset, I’ll bet he was just shy or hesitant about volunteering the information. Cutie!)

  60. Amanda says:


  61. Rachel211 says:

    Try telling him about ‘googleplex’. My husband talked to my daughter about it for some reason about two weeks ago and now she uses it for everything and thinks its the coolest word ever.

    “Mama? Do you know how much I love you?”
    “How much, Doodle?”

  62. Ceri says:

    melt! I heart this SO much!!! We play I love you, I love your more and I love you most…. I always switch it on him. ๐Ÿ™‚ He will never love me more than I love him. Thanks for the heart string tug today!!!

  63. Mama Meerkat says:

    Awwww, that’s really sweet.

  64. Sarah Ross says:

    This happens with our 6 year old son all the time; we do the same “distract” thing.
    As usual, laughed myself silly reading your post.

  65. Amanda says:

    Oh my gosh! Love this! Aren’t those just the best moments? I had to take the baby to the doctor yesterday and so my 4 yr old DS went to my parents for the afternoon and the whole evening was like that! I guess he really missed me while he was being all spoiled and everything. ๐Ÿ™‚

  66. Jennifer says:

    I LOVE this one!!

  67. Heather says:

    I loved this story. So adorable!

    (and so true when they expect you to be able to read their minds!)

  68. Pia says:

    I love it when little boys tell their moms they love them!!!!

  69. Lidia says:

    How cute, funny, and sweet. Thanks for sharing!

  70. Melody says:

    Love it!!!! Brought a tear to my eye! What a mid-day treat!

  71. Ted Isham says:

    I get this from both of my kids. I just take it as a compliment. It seems they consider me omniscient!

  72. Julia says:

    Freaking pregnancy hormones. Not only am I crying because it’s so sweet, but now I can’t get home to hug my 2 year old fast enough!!!

  73. Gorgeous. What a sweet little man.

  74. Heather Sutherland says:

    I think the reason kids get upset when you aren’t able to read their minds is that they are still at that stage of development where they think that everything they experience is shared – it’s why when you ask a little kid to show you their fingernails, they hold them facing themselves, and why they can’t keep secrets. They can’t concieve yet that they are separate from everyone else. It’s actually kind of cool – as was your story!

  75. Stewart Farr says:

    “(Oh. So this is what that feels like. Apologies to Crappy Papa for that period of time in my mid-twenties when I was in my mid-twenties.)”

    Just thought I would let you know you are the first woman in history to apologize for this. The world should give you a medal or something.

  76. mama bea says:

    dammit, amber–you can’t write stuff like this while i’m ovulating!

  77. Pam S. says:

    This brings to mind a habit of my granddaughter. Even though she is 7 years old, she still seems to think I have the magical to see through the telephone. “Here, Gramma, I’ll hold it up to the phone so you can see it. What do you think?” (On the landline, starting back before the advent of picture phones ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  78. Kristine says:

    Ahhh – that made me tear up! Great story ๐Ÿ™‚

  79. Heck, my husband does the exact same thing to me all the time, minus the touching “I love you” finish…

  80. Woolies says:

    Those precious moments. I hope you’ll always remember. ๐Ÿ™‚

  81. Adriane says:

    Your kids are awesome!

  82. Lizelle Alkema says:

    I really enjoyed this one! Good of you thinking on your toes! Hope I can do that when it’s needed!

  83. Esther says:

    my two-year-old was tugging at my shirt last night when I was on an important call, saying “mommy, mommy, mommy” in an endless recital until i lost my patience and snapped, “what”. and she whispered i love you – felt like crap

  84. Nicola says:

    My kids say “Mum……I love you” a lot. They let me in on a secret once – when they get my attention by saying “Mum” and then forget what they were going to say, they substitute “I love you.”

    Since then, they often clarify: “Mum, I love you. And that is what I was really going to say, not just because I forgot what i wanted to day”.

  85. Jessica says:

    Awww, Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  86. jamye says:

    Best story ever. Literally brought tears. I can’t wait until my lil guy says I love you for the first time. He’s 18mths.

    • KiwiBunnz says:

      The first time is awesome. The first time he says it without mimicking you is even more awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

  87. Beth says:

    That is the most adorable thing I’ve ever read — ever. Aren’t kids so sweet?!

  88. Dana says:

    Awww I love you to the moon and back and bigger than a breadbox ๐Ÿ™‚

  89. Jenny Q says:

    Reading this on the train on my way home from work and got teary-eyed. I thought, “this can’t be true because it’s too damn cute!”. Thanks for the smile after a rough day! My almost 21 month old sometimes says a barely, decipherable, “I wub nyoo mommy” after I tell him I love him. It makes everything all better!

  90. Karen M says:

    Naaaawwww so cute

  91. Lucy says:

    love it!

  92. Toya says:

    Awww!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  93. Kat says:

    Haha he forgot to say he loves you. So funny & cute at the same time. They really do expect us to know everything. ๐Ÿ™‚

  94. emily g says:

    So much <3

  95. Lisa M. says:

    Soooo sweet!

  96. Mary Ellen MacLennan says:

    So sweet. My wee guy is only 8 months old but I can’t wait until he can talk. I know, I’m sure I will shake my head & wonder why I had such thoughts when he CAN talk. But I am really looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

  97. Heather says:

    I had a really bad day, and this warmed my heart. Thank you.

  98. Heather C says:

    Awwwww love this! My boys have a bad habit of talking over each other and when I make them wait until the other is finished, one usually forgets what he was going to say. And they DON”T want to hear “I’m sorry you forgot, that must be frustrating.” It is the little things for sure. My younger announced to me the other day “Mama? Today I will poop on the potty, because I know you like that.” Yes. I would like that. Very much.

  99. KiwiBunnz says:

    I used to think my son could read my mind when I was pregnant. I’d have whole conversations with him in my head and then remember he is a different person and I actually have to talk to him… I can understand where crappy boy is coming from ๐Ÿ™‚

  100. shanny says:


  101. Children are our Future says:

    I love it…! THANK YOU For sharing!!

    That is EXCEEDINGLY precious…make sure you look back at it when hes a teenager….it will help you through!
    Although I cannot WAIT to read these when you have teenagers…lol……
    how about the mood swings……<MOM!! and then they hug you later……….oh boy, to go back to this age!(: LOVE IT!
    Thank you!!!!!!

  102. Teresa says:

    My daughter hates it when I say “I don’t know”. She will get so frustrated she eventually yells, “Stop saying those bad words, Mama!” This turns out exceptionally well in public. So now if I don’t know I just make stuff up to avoid the conflict. “What was the name of the lady on the show I watched yesterday, Mama?” “Uh, Abby Megan Winchester.” Problem solved, for now…

  103. Suzaan de Kok says:

    Aaaaaah!!! That’s so sweet!!

  104. Alicia S. says:

    This was my favorite, ever!
    My freaking kid does this to me ALL THE TIME. That is hilarious, I thought it was just my kid… lol

  105. Kelly says:

    Awww. The part about being in your mid-twenties had me laughing out loud. ๐Ÿ™‚

  106. Lynny Hailes says:

    I LOVED this & laughed all the way through. Thanks for the humor in it all. Fantastic! <3

  107. Sarah says:

    See- you did know! You just didn’t know that you knew! LOL

  108. Deborah says:

    This morning on the way to the babysitter, Zac, my 21 month old, leaned into me and said “squeeze.” (He rides in my lap b/c the babysitter lives 3 houses down) Anyway, it was the sweetest little word I have ever heard. I keep trying to get him to say “I love you, mommy,” but when I prompt him, he says “pupppppyyy.”

  109. Terri says:

    Yesterday my 3-year-old asked me for some yogurt. I reminded him that he had just had some yogurt, and that he may have some grapes. He began his usual fit of “awwww maaaaa-oooooom” and “but-mooooooooooooom.” Then he abruptly stopped, looked up and said, hopefully, “But Mom, it’s nutritious.”

    How can I argue with that?

  110. marie says:

    you should SO make a kids book of this episode! you could make a few pages of your kid doing different activities during the day and you saying “do you remember now?” or something like that, and then your ending is perfect!

  111. erica says:

    I need to learn your diversion tactic with Cinderella. She expects you to know what she is thinking also. And come to think about it, so does my boss. He gets irritated, too.
    Sweet, sweet story.

  112. June says:

    3-year-old daughter: Do you love me?
    Me (opening arms wide): I love you THIIIIIIS much!
    Daughter: That’s a lot of much!

  113. Becky says:

    I <3 cloth diapers, and I would love to try Ninja diapers!

  114. Dorothy says:

    That is so cute and funny.

  115. April Ellis says:

    I remember the ‘breadbox’ poster! Hahahahahah!
    My son now says “Momma, guess what?! I love you…” Sweet!

  116. Wenonah says:

    Aww, this is great! I’m so glad he remembered!

  117. Baby Cots says:

    I have one word for you after reading this beautiful post:


    Hugs-and just keep doing what you are doing because it matters to all of us who know you and love you:)

  118. ulla seckler says:

    Hey Amber. I just found your crappy pictures blog. I love it! Thanks for making us laugh!
    Do you ever do guest cartoons? I got some stories for you. LOL

    xo ulla

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