Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Small Window of Opportunity

It's great fun to take advantage of a child's small size and their naivety.  It can come in handy for solving problems, or for entertainment purposes.  Let me explain...

Solving problems:

Kids can so easily be convinced of nearly anything.  (Although, I have never convinced my 4 year old that if he keeps eating all those hot dogs that he will become a hot dog.  He says "Mom, that does not happen.  People do not turn into food."  I have yet to get him to believe otherwise.)  Sometimes issues arrive in a kids life that simple logic and reality do not solve.  They can't get past their magical thinking, or they do not understand how reality can be so different from what they think is really going on.  One day, out of nowhere, my son became terrified of monsters.  It became a phobia.  He was shaking and crying, unable to eat or sleep.  It was exhausting and heart breaking to see him so scared.  He'd jump at every noise.  Well, telling him monsters do not exist was worthless.  He did not buy it.  We tried to explain the difference between real and imaginary.  He still wasn't sure.  We reminded him of how we saged the house when we moved in.  Still, nothing.  We had him draw pictures of monsters, then put the red circle with a slash through it and hang the pictures on our doors to tell monsters they couldn't come in.  We hated doing that, at first, because we didn't want to fall into acting like monsters existed.  But we had to get into his way of thinking to pull him out of it.  Finally, it dawned on me.  What are monsters if not yucky, gross, scary and ... dirty!  So the one thing they would hate most is soap.  I made up this elaborate story about how monsters will turn into a flower if they touch soap, so they are super afraid of it because they want to be dirty and gross.  No one is afraid of a flower.  For a few weeks, my son chucked a bar of soap under his bed to ward off the dirty foes, and that was that.  Being naive can cause problems, and when it does sometimes that same trait helps solve them!

Another problem solving example: They are small enough to fit behind the couch or under tables to get things out that got stuck behind or under them.


Today my son was playing with an air rocket.  You know, the kind you put on a launch pad and stomp on the air pump and they fly up into the air.  Well, my son was convinced he was hitting the moon with the rocket.  I even told him he had knocked down a cloud.  He was so sure he did once he looked up and saw there were no clouds in the sky!  Surely Momma was telling the truth!  And then the rocket went up again, and came back down on his head.  This is where the line between good parenting and bad parenting starts to get a little blurry....
Me    "Oh no!  You knocked your head off with a rocket!"
Son   "What!?"  *feeling his head*  "No, I think I feel it.  It's still there."
Me    "I don't think so, I don't know what you are feeling.  I can't see your head anywhere!  Maybe it rolled down into the drain!"
Son    "Oh no!  I'll go check!"

So he was looking all around for his head, occasionally stopping to feel his head and look confused.  I just sat back and giggled.  My husband even asked why he was looking in the drain.  He shook his head when I told him he was looking for his blown off head. 

Eventually my son walked over to me and said "Mom, I know my head must still be here!  See!?", and he removed his sunglasses.
"Oh!  There it is!  I couldn't see it behind your glasses."

No harm no foul.... right?

Another entertainment example: They are small enough to fit behind the couch or under tables to get things out that got stuck behind or under them.

No comments:

Post a Comment