Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Time for an Object Lesson, part 2

His face freezes, his eyes widen in alarm. "This is MY sweater that my granny made for me!" I radiate sincerity. Well, not sincere sincerity, but a good enough approximation to fool a three-year-old. Parenting, done well, requires some acting ability. "Yes, but I like it." I undo the next button. Harry is starting to panic. His voice rises and quivers, tears spring to his eyes. "You can't have my sweater!" I stop. Put my hands on his shoulders, and look him dead in the eye. "How do you feel right now, Harry?" He looks at me, mute with unhappiness. "It looks like you're feeling sad. Maybe you're worried, too, or a little angry?" He nods his head. "I am sad because you are taking my sweater." "You don't want me to take your sweater, do you?" "No." "Even though I really like it?" "No." "Harry. George didn't want you to take his horse. He was playing with it. When you tried to take the horse, George felt sad, just like you feel sad now." I put my arm around him, draw him onto my knee. "I'm not going to take your sweater. I really like it, but I won't take it, because it's yours. You can't take toys from the other children, even though you really like their toy. Understand?" "I understand." I think - I'm not making any rash bets on it, mind you - but I think he really does this time. At least a little bit.


Blogger CyberKitten said...

Classic.... I'm impressed.

10/19/2005 01:23:00 p.m.  
Blogger Simon Peter said...

Excellent. Nicely handled Mary. (But you knew that or you wouldn't have posted it!)

Oh, and please don't leave us dangling like that again! I had to have a cup of tea to "settle me nerves".

10/19/2005 02:18:00 p.m.  
Blogger Jill said...

Simon cracked me up in that comment! You are such a genius! I'm stealing your idea, though.... just so you know. :)

10/19/2005 03:12:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

CK: Yup, I am. Classic and impressive, that is!

Simon: You know, the cliffhanger was my daughter Emma's idea. "You should stop there, mummy" she says as she reads over my shoulder. Pretty bright, isn't she?

Jill: LOL Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Steal away: any and all ideas are up for grabs! (Oh, and welcome to the comment box! Good to see you here.)

10/19/2005 05:13:00 p.m.  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

I will be tucking this story in my "file" for future use. This is why I love the internet! I may just write a book entitled, "All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned on the Internet."

10/19/2005 05:30:00 p.m.  
Blogger kimmyk said...

Great story Mary!
I miss having children this small to battle wits with. Now they just roll their eyes at me and walk away. I'm left feeling a bit at a loss when that happens.

10/19/2005 05:45:00 p.m.  
Anonymous MIM said...

Mary, you soooooo damn GOOD! I love "watching" you in action!

10/19/2005 10:21:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Hausfrau: Why muddle along all on your lonesome when there are so many other people out there with good ideas? I don't do much muddling about toddlers, perhaps, but that's in large part because I've had close to twenty years dealing with the little munchkins. Given that you only get two toddler years per kid, most parents don't get anywhere near that much. There's a reason I have those gray hairs... :-)

Kimmy: Ah, the passive resistant teen... "Pick up the other end of that rope, dammit! We're having a tug-of-war here!" Frustrating, ain't it, when they leave you feeling like you're falling on your ass?

Mim: I loved this interaction, I really did. The boy needs a serious dose of empathy, and there's no other way to learn it than by experiencing at least some of the feelings of the other guy. Damn, I'm good! Some days I even impress myself!

10/19/2005 10:40:00 p.m.  
Blogger Anon said...

A nice lesson for him :-)

10/20/2005 07:11:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Si:We hope. I don't think anyone is born empathic. Though it must be learned over time, some have a more natural aptitude: Harry,thus far, seems to be almost completely lacking in it.

10/20/2005 11:17:00 a.m.  
Blogger LoryKC said...

Bravo, Mary!

10/20/2005 02:07:00 p.m.  
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10/29/2005 06:45:00 a.m.  

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