My son has a deep love for small objects since he was a baby. I remember him crawling with an apple and a ball in each hand(A for apple, B for ball?), thus complicating his beginner crawl! From this, he graduated to carrying around this small(really small) round object(some part which broke off some toy) which he christened ‘blue’. He has been known to get up in panic mode in the middle of the night and wailing ‘bbbbblllluueeee’ and searching frantically for it. He wouldn’t stop crying till it was securely in his little palm again. His ‘PRECIOUS’.
To combat this habit, which extended itself to all lost things, at all times in the day or night, we tried various methods including tricking him with replacements(worked only in the dark), started involving him in the search, sympathizing with him at times and when it got overwhelming shouting at him to keep quiet. But, all our “well thought out” tactics fell flat: it didn’t really improve his tendencies nor our plight.
Fast forward to 2017, he is 4, I am pregnant, and doesn’t really like very tiny things but if he looses something he screams, cries, rolls on the ground until someone hurries and finds it for him. I am all for expressing emotions, but I wanted him to be more proactive and help himself or at the very least, make a little bit of effort. Besides, I can’t really do anything effective with all the whining and pestering and screaming in the background. It was time for a new line of approach!
Then, it so happened that he lost a crayon one evening and was on the verge of his usual routine. On the fly, I decided to try a little game of my own. I told him, I was a detective with a magic lens.
“Zippity Zappity Zoom”
“Amma has a new magic lens. See. Amma’s magic lens will help us find the blue crayon. Do you want to use my magic lens?”
And I held up a make-believe invisible lens. I kept repeating this, with exaggerated movements of make-believe snooping around. Surprisingly, he soon stopped whining and joined me in the hunt instead and luckily that day we did find the crayon pretty soon.
I again tried this the next time he lost something, and though he started on the “path of loud noises” (to cause maximum discomfort to his caretakers so that they are left flabbergasted), he calmed down soon enough and joined in the hunt. Atlast, the 4th time this happened, he came to me and asked me for my Magic Lens instead. Ah HA! That is exactly what I wanted. I wanted him to search, I wanted him to try to find, I just wanted him to try and not moan and groan every time he wanted something. The game had worked!
That was just a little speck dusted in the rubble of trouble. Parenting requires us to address a lot of such issues that demand a ginormous amount of mind space. It is difficult to keep our cool and think up ‘fun’ ideas all the time. But, as parents, it is up to us how we approach to equip our children with the skills that they need to problem solve in the future.
Let me conclude by sharing some more fun with you. Our son has made songwriters out of us, his parents. At different points, my husband and I have invented multiple songs for brushing his teeth. The latest one was in response to his line of questioning, “If I don’t do this, what will happen?” I leave you with these fabulous lyrics
“If you don’t brush your teeth.
You will get cavities
Then when you go to the dentist
And he will poke into your teeth”
(Oops! I know, I know, probably more helpful in putting the fear of the dentist in him), so I have since then reverted back to our old favorite
“Brush brush brush your teeth
Brush your teeth and now
Brush it fasstt….
Brush it sssslowww….
Brush your teeth and now.
Brush left and brush right
Brush up and brush down
Squeaky squeaky noise means?
Shiny white teeth!”
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