Parenting Henri

this is about henri, and the parenting thereof

fisherman boots & bravery 2010/02/27

Yesterday afternoon, Henri & I had to get ready quickly to pick Dada up.  As anyone with a 2-year-old knows, getting ready “quickly,” is pretty much a rare and beautiful thing.  What ends up happening is either the parent rushing-rushing-rushing while the child ignores, resists or flat out defies you; or, the opposite–if a parent tries to coax their child into getting dressed quickly, well, we’ve got the Universal Healthcare “talks” (e.g. disaster) on our hands: tons of negotiation but no product.

So, you have to come up with a scheme.  The scheme must include something like an incentive (“if you hurry up, we might get to ___________”) and a theme.  For Henri, both of these things must include something that has a Very Big Motor that goes Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroom.

After I’d grabbed his rainboots and stuffed them on his feet, I could see a scheme was going to be necessary.  Right away, he didn’t like the boots; in fact, he didn’t want to wear shoes at all.  Shoes are for the weak.

M: Hey!” (holds him up at just the right angle as to prevent the boots from being kicked off) Do you know what these boots are called!?!  They’re called galoshes! And they’re what fisherman wear!!

*all time stands still, for about 27 seconds*

H: And boats!

M: Yes, and fisherman drive boats!   Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay.  I’m such a clever mommy. Yay, yay, yay. Thank you, Jesus.  For boats.

H: My a fisherman!!

M: Yeah, you’re a fisherman.

By continuing the metaphor, I was able to convince Henri to put on an additional shirt since it was a sweater with a boat on it and get him to walk to the car on his own without melting into a pile of “But I’m Cold” tears by suggesting to him that Fisherman Don’t Get Cold.  They LIKE the cold, rainy weather because they get to wear BOOTS when it’s cold & rainy.

Of course, he kicked them off in the car, which means when he insists on getting out of the car for a few minutes at our first errand, we have to put them back on and go through the initial yuckiness of the boots before remembering that fisherman are cool once again.  But that’s ok.  I’ll take it.

Later at dinner, an increasingly sleepy (and now bootless) Henri displayed his fisherman readiness by eating fish, fries and pickled onion.  He also tried some authentic Irish horseradish stuff and, despite his screwed up face, said he liked it.  Then, I asked him if he wanted to eat some lemon.

H: (hesitates; sniffs)

M: It’s lemon! You like it!!

H: (takes a big bite of the rind)

M/D simultaneously: No!! Did he eat the rind? Henri! You’re not supposed to eat the rind.  Spit that out. Here, give that to me.  Just eat this part.

H: (takes another bite, this time off the top)

M: Good job!   Let’s put your boots on.  Didn’t you have a nice day today? Being a fisherman…?

H: Yeah!

M: You wore Boots.

H: My NOT cold.

M: Nope, you didn’t get cold. You’re a fisherman!

H: My brave.

M: (tears up, realizing how smart her son is, making the connection between boats & fisherman & water & bravery…all. on. his. own.) Yes, you are brave.  *sniff, sniff*

H: My brave–my ate a lemon!

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