A few years ago, I used to be referred to among some of my friends as the baby whisperer. When my friend Dag had her last baby, every time I would go over for a visit and hold him, he would promptly fall asleep and stay that way for as long as my arms could handle it. He was not an easy sleeper, and she would say I had the touch to get him to snooze. It could also be that my boobs are bigger than hers so there’s that, but I like to think I have a way with babies. Negotiating sleep with a newborn is tricky, that’s for sure. But who ever thought negotiating with a newborn would be easier than being able to negotiate with a pre-school aged kid? Flash forward to yesterday…my little guy and his bestie were having a playdate at our house. She was dropped off by her mom, not the first time at our house without a parent, and everything was going swimmingly until she started asking for her mother. I explained that her mom was out running a few errands and she would be back soon but I could help her in any way possible. Nope. Not having it. She went on to get upset and cry so I offered to have us call her mom. As we were going upstairs to get my phone, that’s when I realized what was up. She had unexpectedly had an accident in her pants – and wanted her mom. I totally get it, there are certain situations when only the mom will suffice. Unfortunately, when the first line of defense isn’t available, reinforcements have to be called in. For as easy as you would think rectifying a situation like this would be, well think again. It was the total opposite. This little lady was having none of my gentle pleading, concerned voice questioning or reasoning. She was laying it on thick. Tears, boogers and foot stomping included. So here’s the deal…I don’t have girls, I have boys. Most of my friends have boys, you can count the girls in my friend circle on one hand. The boys I know would be totally fine with a quick clean up and pants change and go back to the races. Girls are not that easy to convince. I sat on the bathroom floor for a good 20 minutes trying to convince quiet possibly the most strong willed four year old I’ve ever met that if she let me help her out, she would be so much better off. I then realized that I needed to change my tactic. Reasoning with her was not working, but maybe if I could entice her with something I knew she would like (makeup? baking donuts? painting? sparkly jewelry?) it would work. After she finally calmed down and decided to stop crying and only have a stand off with me, I removed myself from the room and let her have a moment. I took off like a bat out of hell to find something to distract her with. Viola! a pair of too small for my kid, green boxer briefs covered with pink and yellow skulls and some red mushy pants…this will surely do the trick! Back at base, she was still standing, unmoved in her spot while my son was trying to keep her entertained. I arrived with the new duds, showed them to her and still NO. That’s when it hit me, let’s get her to laugh, so out came the potty talk…who can say bathroom words the fastest? Bathroom words among 4 year old’s are a big hit. There was a lot of poop talk for a good 2 minutes. They were in stitches! With the mood lightened, I went in for the fix. Looking her straight in the eye I reassured her it would take 20 seconds to get her all fixed up, at which point we could raid my makeup and play dress up or do whatever she wanted. Okay, she said, let’s do it. She counted…18 seconds, done! Now with fresh pants that she could keep they were off and running like nothing ever happened. We ended up baking chocolate glazed donuts and they played happily for 2 more hours.
I was thinking last night, as I often do, about the differences in kids. My kids would’ve been embarrassed, sure, but they would have listened to the adult in charge and gotten on with their day. I was impressed that she stood her ground, sure that she “was fine” and she didn’t need my help. Impressed that until she felt comfortable, she was going to have it her way. Others might call her hard headed, or stubborn or strong willed, but I like to think that she’s decisive. She knows what she wants and won’t be persuaded easily. I like that I was able to crack that little nut, that I didn’t give up, kept the dialogue going and was able to help her in the end. I’m constantly amazed by the tenacity of children. The way they will hold their ground with unwavering certainty (depending on the situation of course) until one of you is so exhausted you forgot the reason you were there in the first place. You guys, am I a little kid whisperer too? 🙂