I realized a few months ago that there are two things that I say now more than anything else to my son. That is, other than "No!" or "No, sir!" or "William, NO!"
"You're all right" or its alternate, "It's all right." See also: "You're okay."
Seriously. I don't think I ever uttered the phrase "good job" before in my entire life, before I had a baby. And then I had a little guy, starting to do things, and all of a sudden, I started saying it all the time. I didn't even think about it. And the funny thing is, other parents say it all the time, too! What, is it some latent parental thing that's encoded in our DNA but only manifests itself when your child hits, oh, say, six or seven months of age and starts trying to Do Stuff? Maybe.
The "you're all right" is a staple of the toddler's parent because the typical toddler is always doing things like bonking his head or stumbling, thus necessitating the all-clear from Mom or Dad. For example, William was running through the family room and slipped on the three thousand annoying flash cards that were fanned across the carpet. He skidded and fell down, landing on his diaper-padded bottom, which really just surprised him more than it hurt him. I automatically said, "You're all right." Because he was. He just needed to hear me confirm it. If I say he's okay, well, then he usually is okay. It's sort of the Mom version of the old Jedi mind trick.
There are plenty of other things that we find ourselves saying that we never really imagined ourselves saying. For example, take this sentence that I spoke tonight: "William, please do not poop in the bathtub." And another gem: "William, we do not put our toothbrush in our ear." Ooh, or the other day when William was carefully using his plastic spoon to "feed" part of his lunch to one of his little toys: "William, eat your yogurt. Don't just feed it to the sheep." As my child gets older and even more inquisitive, I expect that I'll be adding some new ones to my personal list. I could probably collect such gems from all my parent friends and make a book out of them.
Hey, maybe I will...