Thursday, April 29, 2010

When to Say Enough Already

A conversation with my eldest child the other day. Not as good as hearing it, but still amusing. I have spent the last couple of years really trying to coach her development of logic and problem solving. I suppose this would require her to really listen, however.

Daughter: Can I ride to the bus stop?

Me: No, honey. That would require crossing the street and we need to work on bike safety first. No street! Today, you may ride your bike on the sidewalk around the block.

Daughter: But (insert friend’s name) is riding to the bus stop and back. Can I ride to the bus stop?

Me: No, you may not cross the street. You may not ride to the bus stop. You can, however ride around the block.

Daughter: Can I just ride here? (Child points to street.)

Me: No, honey. What did I just say?

Daughter: You said I could ride around the block.

Me: On the sidewalk. (I gesture, making a square shape to show that a block has four sides.)

Daughter: Yeah, on the sidewalk. Around the block. Ok, Mom! (Child scampers off with bike and returns fifteen minutes later.)

Daughter: Mom, can I ride to the laundromat?

Me: Well, what are the rules?

Daughter: The laundromat. I want to ride to the laundromat.

Me: I hear that, but what did I say earlier?

Daughter: Don’t cross the street.

Me: Good. I’m just trying to help you develop logic here, Chicken Little. So where is the laundromat?

Daughter: Around the corner.

Me: Good. Is it across the street?

Daughter: No.

Me: Good. Is it on this block?

Daughter: Yeah, but it’s around the corner. Is it okay to ride there?

Me: Child, what did I say? Did I say you can ride around the block, which would mean that you would be passing the laundromat? (Note, she would have ridden past the laundromat already on previous runs around the block.)

Daughter: Yeah, yes. Yes, you did. Can I go?

Me: Yes, you can ride AROUND the block. You may ride TO the laundromat. You may NOT go in there to play. It is not a play house.

Daughter: Ok! Can I ride across the street?

Conversations like these are exhausting. This is why most of the time, when asked for permission and why something is so, I lay down the rule followed with a blanket, “Because I said so.” It does not teach if-then logic, but it does save time. Maybe one day, my daughter will catch on a little faster. In the meantime, patience. Lots and lots of patience.

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