How To Get Your Pre-Tween Listening
…The Benefits of Letting Miss 7 Fall in a Lake
When drastic measures are called for.
For weeks I’ve been getting no response when I ask questions;
Apparently I’m on mute!
My mouth is moving;
to me it sounds like there are words coming out of it.
I’m saying them a second time.
I’m making a conscious effort not to nag her…
So the third time, I’m saying it differently.
I’ve held back on frustration.
I’m not ‘over-reacting’.
PERHAPS she really didn’t quite catch it the first…
Or the second time?
I know that.
Anything that moves is a distraction.
Any new thought is a distraction.
Apparently the voice of ANYONE ELSE in the room is a distraction.
Because apparently none of those voices are on mute!
Occasionally she might say ‘yes’.
Actually use the word.
(It doesn’t happen often, so there’s always an element of surprise).
But ‘yes’ doesn’t mean yes.
Yes means ‘you can stop talking now’.
Yes means ‘I acknowledge that you exist’.
Yes means ‘remind me later’.
Yes means ‘surely you have more important things to do than stand here talking at me’.
Lately it’s taken new turns.
It’s not about whether she’s got dressed, brushed her teeth, or put her shoes on.
It’s not about whether she’s taken the banana skin out of her school bag, closed the fridge, the shed door, or locked her bike.
It’s not about backing off her siblings, sharing, calming down or apologizing.
It’s about not running off so far I literally can’t see, hear or find her.
It’s about telling me where she’s going.
It’s about not doing the things I’ve specifically said no to with a specific, solid, sound, communicated reason.
It’s about not running along the ledge of 15 meter high rock faces, that nobody even knows you’re up on!
I don’t walk around expecting the worst to happen.
But when you can literally see the moment in front of you when your child plummets 15 meters from rock above to rock below, and you’re so far away that even screaming STOP wouldn’t be heard…
There’s a certain degree of frustration at having believed that you’d been listened to when you said she could go in 10 minutes!
But NOT now.
In 10 minutes so she’d be up there with friends, not alone.
In 10 minutes so someone else would be watching the little ones, and I’d at least have had an eye on them.
Yes, my heart was in my throat;
and there she was simultaneously balancing, bounding, oblivious.
The next day, a lake.
The same friends had been told to be careful on the slippery stones by the bank.
Miss 7 was told the same.
But her interested in the slippery stones on the bank was short lived.
The stones in the water were far more exciting!
I took a look.
Seventy centimeters (28 inches) perhaps.
I still had my winter coat on (…It was a few weeks ago, and we live in Sweden)!
We weren’t that far from the car.
Stood next to my friends, I even said probably fall in!
”You can be there if you want… But you’re going to have to be careful if you don’t want to fall in”
…Whilst she bounced up and down gripping onto low laying tree branches.
The water might have been 70 cm deep, but she didn’t exactly fall in erect.
It was more of a side on, flop.
And there she stood, face wet, chest high in water.
I really don’t think I reacted very quickly!
You never know exactly.
It was one of those ‘time stands still’ moments.
I was about to laugh.
…But got a grip.
She wouldn’t have appreciated it.
HOW can you have time to have all of those thoughts…
Unless I really was VERY slow reacting.
I ran to her, but I was only a couple of meters away, so it wasn’t much.
Was I supposed to jump in there and grab her out?
I reached out my hand.
She took it and I/ she pulled herself up.
She was SOAKED.
That was the first time I realized that the water was probably freezing cold!
We pulled off her coat.
Arms in the air.
I pulled off her tops.
Wrapped my warm coat around her.
She was shivering.
Took a step forward and there was a squelch.
…Are you supposed to keep the water in them? Or tip the water out?
I don’t remember.
I tipped it out.
And then some more.
It was like emptying a whole bucket.
That was a surprise too.
She wasn’t just ‘a bit’ wet; she was wet through.
Her skin was wet under 4 layers of clothes.
The car may not have been far…
But try carrying a 7 year old a few hundred meters!
My perception of distance was somewhat altered.
There were old ski clothes in the boot.
On their way to the charity shop.
Out they came.
My coat went down to her calves.
Off with her trousers & into ski trousers.
I had ‘saturday sweets’ with me.
Sugar – great for a shock.
Plied her with a few.
Plied Miss 4 with more, to bribe her to give Miss 7 her socks!
(She’d already had mine minutes earlier when she’d paddled to far in on the beach).
Miss 4 deals a tough bargain.
”I never want to go back there!
I’ll never come here again!”
”But honey, you’re ok! I’m looking out for you (comforting?)!
…it’s fun to walk on the stones. It’s a great place to balance. I knew you might fall in, but I saw that the water wasn’t deep and you’d be ok. So I told you to be careful, but I let you be there. If it was dangerous, I wouldn’t have let you be there at all…”
Miss 4: ”When I’m seven, mama, I’m always going to listen to you!”
Well, there are still issues with getting dressed, brushing teeth, putting shoes on.
Taking banana skins out of her bag, closing the fridge, the shed door, and locking her bike.
Backing off siblings, sharing, calming down and apologizing.
But when I say ”don’t run by the edge” she listens.
If she thinks the stones are too slippery
…I have to send her back to play!