If I’d Known This Post Would End the Shutdown, I Would Have Written It Two Weeks Ago

Deprivation is awesome. I highly recommend a little deprivation now and then.

There comes a point when you’re deprived of things that, when you get beyond the whiny resentment and Sherlock withdrawal, you start to accept the way things are and stop thinking about what you don’t have and start thinking about what you do have. And it’s Christmas – you suddenly have so much stuff! You stop taking so much for granted, is really what it is.

Like health, gravity, or scientifically provable reality.

Toddlers, I find, are not burdened so much by scientifically provable reality.

This is borne out when you try to debate them. Which you shouldn’t do. Give it two tries, maybe, after that you’re really just hurting yourself.

When you debate a toddler, everything’s up for grabs: which direction is up, which color blue is, the digestive consequences of raisins you find on the floor of the bus – it’s all unclaimed territory. When the statement “you can’t stand on water” is met with “Yes! Yes I can stand on water,” and neither side will budge, what are you left with? Logic won’t work, demonstrating reality won’t work, bribery might work, but if you set that precedent the fight you’re having now will be but the overture to a symphony of petulance that will be the next 15 years of your life.

Nope, it all shuts down. Irrational demands aren’t withdrawn, nor can they be conceded to without disastrous consequences.

This is where I seem to learn the same lesson again and again: the toddler I’m in a stalemate with? He’s just a toddler. You have no idea why he’s acting this way? Neither does he.

The only thing to do is to hold him, try to talk about why he’s feeling what he’s feeling but not engage the argument. Usually, after a little bit more fussing he calms down, is distracted by the next thing and the day moves on. Usually.

It’s the trick of making him feel loved and listened to, and yet, not listen to him.

If only this worked in legislative bodies.


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