GoGoGadgetGreta presented me with another opportunity to practice Playful Parenting today. We were leaving Costco. We had achieved our objective of getting vacation snacks and I was trying to get everything and everyone packed up into the car. My dear daughter was having none of it.
The tears were abundant and the refusal to even sit in the car seat was adamant. Normally I would have sighed my exasperation. I would have asked repeatedly, trying at first to be kind but clearly annoyed. Eventually I would have worked my way up to a more forceful tone of voice and langue. Yelling would not be out of the question, and if there was enough resistance, I might even end up manhandling the 5-year-old to get a flat bottom and a flat back lined up with the right angle of the car seat. I likely would have ended up a little bit exhausted and a little bit ashamed.
Today I skipped it all and jumped to the end…sort of. I started to join Greta in her crying, dramatically. I really hammed it up. There was a really strange moment at first. It was sort of as if I had just set off a small firecracker. There was a surprised look of confusion on all the kids faces: “this is new.” “what is this?” “is Daddy crying?” “should I be crying?” It all resolved extremely quickly and everyone decided that what they should be doing was cracking up. They loved it.
Greta got buckled without complaint.
I have to confess, part of me wants this not to work. Part of me feels entitled to an adult reaction from my toddler, my preschooler and my 2nd grader. Part of me takes offense at the idea that I should have to get down there with them and play. I don’t like that part of me. That part of me is a fool. That part of me doesn’t have enough fun. I think I’m going to stop listening to him for awhile. At least as long as I’m reading Lawrence Cohen’s book.