Sometimes children need an interpreter to talk with adults. Take the week the big kids went away, leaving the seven year-old behind. Her mom had an evening meeting, so at breakfast her dad whispered, “While mom is at her meeting, I think we should go on a date.”
She looked confused. A date?
“That is gross, only Dad can take Mom on a date.” she told her mom. They discussed her reluctance to go until her mom asked, “What do you think we do on a date?”
“You kiss all the time. I don’t want to do that!”
Her dad changed his invitation, “Let’s go on a father-daughter dinner night out.”
The child agreed and had a great time eating and talking with him.
That child has her standards. Recently Chick-fil-A held its annual Cow Appreciation day where customers who arrive dressed in cow attire recieve a free entree.
Early in the morning the seven-year-old’s mom said “We are going to Cow Appreciation Day. You each need to put black spots on white clothes.”
“What if it isn’t today? I don’t want to dress up if it isn’t today. Mom, you have to check the restaurant and be sure they really will give us free food if we dress like a cow,” they all insisted.
The restaurant affirmed the promotion. The older two relaxed, but the seven year-old still did not want to dress like a cow.
“That’s okay. You do not have to dress up, but I am not buying you any food; not when there is free food for those who dress up,” her mom said.
The child put black spots on white clothes, let her mom twist her long hair into cow ears and ate her free chicken dinner.
If only threats always worked that well. Another mother said that her three year-old was moping around outside as if he had nothing to do.
She suggested, “Why not go out and play on the swing set?”
“No!” he yelled.
“Well, I guess I need to give that swing set to another kid who’ll play with it,” she said thinking that would motivate him.
“Yeah. Do it, Mom. Give the swing set to ‘nuther kid,” he said still moping.
Always expect the unexpected with kids. Like the Halloween one boy insisted he did not want to go Trick or Treating. His mom asked, “Why not? You will get lots of candy.”
“You already buy me lots of candy. I don’t need any more.”
He definitely was not the greedy child who saw cake for dessert and grabbed the biggest piece. He wanted it. He tasted it. He spat it out. It was lemon, and he hated lemon then and now.
His mother said, “You took it. You eat it.” He sat at the table refusing to take another bite until she forked a piece and insisted. He vomited all over her.
Sometimes, the conversation takes a more subtle, unexpected turn.
An eight year-old boy said, “Guess what, Mom?
“They are making a drink that is diet free, sugar free, salt free, color free, bubble free … a drink with nothing in it.”
She looked at him doubtfully.
“I’m serious, Mom. It’s like a pop.”
“Or like water,” she said defusing his excitement.
Kids do get excited. As the toddler was when she told everyone she was going to be a big sister. Her mom emphatically denied it. Still the child enjoyed the attention, which is the one thing every kid needs even more than an interpreter.