The oldest parenting tricks in the book are brand new when you’re three years old

Yesterday Mabel shared her child-wrangling expertise.  “The way to get Henry to do anything is you have to make him sad.  Like if you say, ‘Henry, let’s get your shoes on,” he’ll say, ‘No!  No shoes!,’  but then if you say, ‘Okay, Henry, no shoes.  You can’t wear your shoes,’ he’ll say, ‘YES SHOES!'”

A few minutes later I wanted to spray Henry’s hair with water and comb it.  I said, “Henry, please bring me that squirt bottle.”  “NO!  NO COMB MY HAIR!”  Pause.  “Okay, don’t bring me the squirt bottle.  No squirt bottle for you!”  Henry stared at me for about two seconds, then screamed, “YES!  YES SQUIRT BOTTLE!”


P.S. So, Lili, how does this post and photo make you feel?

P.P.S. Once Henry had fetched the squirt bottle, Mabel’s comment was: “The problem with that technique is that it always makes him scream.”

This entry was posted in My kids actually are funny (and sweet and wonderful), Parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The oldest parenting tricks in the book are brand new when you’re three years old

  1. Lili says:

    I know, right?!

  2. the MomB says:

    I love this post. And that amazing photo of Henry is amazing.

  3. zstitches says:

    You mean you don’t get Lili’s comment? On the previous post she’d said that it made her sad that Henry was looking so grown-up, and that she hoped he was still as delightful to be around as he used to be. That’s why I asked how this post made her feel. I *think* by “I know, right?” she must have meant that he also looks grown up here. And/or less delightful.

    • the MomB says:

      Now I get it. Because Tracy just explained it to me. Even tho’ I’d read Lili’s previous comment, I needed T to explain the connection to me.

    • the MomB says:

      p.s. Hi Z. T thinks maybe your posts are going through CA–because they’re showing the time an hour earlier than our time zone.

    • Lili says:

      Yeah. I meant he’s still looking grown-up. He must have had a haircut recently? I’m sure he’s as delightful as ever, though. In fact, with that boy especially, the more he grows the more delightful I find him. So yes. He can keep growing.

  4. the MomB says:

    Dear Henry,
    I love you. I will keep this picture of you forever.

  5. Jessie W. says:

    Oh my gosh, that picture made me burst out loud laughing. That is the funniest, quirkiest, cutest, (and slightly deviant I might add) expression I have ever seen on Henry’s face, lol.

    I must say also that this tricky psychology works on 2-year olds, too. Mabel is very smart. Little Indy is visiting her in L.A. with Izzy and my mom and he’s always into trouble and we’ve tried this theory out, lol!

  6. Lis says:

    I am so glad I’m not the only person who uses this technique! It works every time with the two year old.

  7. Did she really use the word technique? Awesome.

  8. American Yak says:

    What I’d like to know is what happened to the post of the man with the rat on his face? Ha.

    • American Yak says:

      p.s. I hasten to add for any of your readers out there, that has *NOTHING* to do with this post.

      It was more commentary on what happens when a person deletes a post but doesn’t realize it will still show up in Google Reader, ha ha.

  9. zstitches says:

    Dean thought it was unkind and even though I thought it was funny and its subject would never know about my posting it, I couldn’t take Dean’s disapproval so I took it down. But I consoled myself that folks could still see it in Reader. 😉

  10. Hannah says:

    This technique worked every time when Logan was two. However, now that’s he’s three and has learned the word “awesome” it occasionally backfires. Like when he says, “I don’t want to wear underwear today.” And I say, “Fine, no underwear for you…” And he says, “Awesome!”

  11. Jennette says:

    My favorite parenting technique for sure!

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