Saturday, August 15, 2009

Definitely for the Bad Parents Files

From the beginning of time, adults have used the fact that they know more about things to manipulate children. It is easy to convince children of things if they don't have a clue about reality. For example,

"Oh, no, Gracie, we can't go see the cows. They're sleeping."
"Oh, no, Lukie, don't go over there! There's poo-poo! Look out!" (Of course, there's no poop anywhere.)
"Oh, no! Gracie, come here fast! There's a spider right there!"

There must be a special place for parents who use this kind of manipulation on their children. A special place in a very hot environment.

Usually, these things are pretty harmless. However, when you start using your children's fears against them, that's plain mean. Take, for example, my son's sudden unreasonable fear of the pool vacuum at Aunt Bec's house. At first, he really didn't know what it was, but was just a little worried because it was so close to us. I made the mistake of giving it a name. "Oh, Lukie, don't worry! That's just the Nu Nu! Nu Nus only eat dirt and rocks, not little boys."

Um. Yeah. Do you see where this is going?

Giving a name to an object, especially a name that your almost 2 year-old can actually say, is just not the smartest thing to do in the world. Now, when Lukie sees the vacuum coming, heck, even if it isn't coming toward us, he starts yelling, "Nu Nu! Nu Nu!" He grabs hold of me tightly and will not let go. Sadly, if he even sees the Nu Nu in the water, he won't get in. He is absolutely terrified of the thing. It makes pool time less than fun.

Lukie's terror of the Nu Nu is a very dangerous thing. He is so afraid of it that he thinks it exists outside of the pool. He sees any large machine that makes a big sound (and does not resemble a truck) and will run straight for me shouting, "Nu Nu!" His terror of the Nu Nu is also very tempting.

You see, when Lukie won't come to me, all I have to say is "Lukie! Oh, no! It's the Nu Nu! Come here! Fast!" and whoosh! He's right next to me, eyes searching the horizon for the Nu Nu. When he throws rocks at our air conditioner out back, "Lukie! Oh, no! That's the Nu Nu! It's going to get you! Come on! Mommy will protect you!"

See? There's a special place in that very hot locale waiting for me. Well, it's waiting for Daddy and me because he is just as guilty as I am.

I'll admit. The Nu Nu got me thinking. What if I told Gracie and Luke there was chicken in their teeth and they needed my help brushing to get it out? I could tell them there were crackers and ice cream and apples in their teeth and I might actually get to brush their teeth without a fight. So, I tried it.

And it worked.

Lukie now walks around saying, "Teeth! Ucken, Momma. Ucken. Crackas. Teeth, Momma!"

Great. Now he's obsessed with his teeth.

Like I said, a special place down south waiting for us.


  1. I am just as guilty, Jen. I have used the Nu Nu and tiger thing with my toddler (Bianca) running away. All I would have to say is, "Bianca watch out for the tigers!" She would turn around and run to me. Then I would tell her, "Whew! You got here so fast they ran away!" Lies...all lies! Santa was created by mommies so that when kids didn't listen we could remind them that Santa won't bring them anything unless they were good listeners! As for teeth brushing: Ever since Hailey was 2, I have used the bugs in your teeth bit to get it done. Works everytime!

  2. I'm sorry, I had to laugh reading this! :D And you've given me some interesting ideas..... ;)


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