Annabel is your typical four-year-old: easily distracted, listens when she wants to, etc. These two characteristics can sometimes merge at less-than-opportune times, and that’s something that she and I talk about daily. I’m pretty sure she’s over hearing me talk about it…I know I get tired of talking about it. Ah, glamorous parenting.
Mike and Annie ran some errands this weekend, and he saw his opportunity to talk to Annie about being a good listener. Instead of a lecture, he went with some examples that he thought would speak to her.
Mike: Annie, good things happen to good listeners, did you know that?
Annie: Like what?
Mike: Well, there might come a time when Reilly has an extra ticket to Disneyland and her parents tell her she can bring a friend. She might say to her mom, “Mom, I want to bring Annie!” But her mom will say, “You know, Annie isn’t a good listener. We should bring Beth instead.” [Beth, it should be noted, is not real. Mike made her up.]
Annie: But I want to go!
Mike: Then you have to be a better listener.
They went back and forth like this for a while. Mike said he gave several examples, including Annie not getting to go to the beach, a water park, and a Taylor Swift concert (the horror!). Reilly always brought the fictitious Beth along instead of Annabel.
After Annie heard several of Mike’s examples, he said to her, “So, are you going to work on being a better listener?” “Yes! I don’t want Beth to get to do anything I’m supposed to do.” She replied back.
When the two of them got home, Annie ran off into her playroom while Mike told me what they’d discussed. He was feeling pretty proud of his Beth invention.
Just then, Annie came over to where Mike and I were sitting.
“I drew a picture,” she said, “It’s a no-no sign.” (She’s still VERY into no-no signs.)
“What is it, honey?” I asked her.
“It says NO BETHS ALLOWED,” she replied.
Sooooo…I’m not sure what lesson she learned: to be a better listener, or to eliminate the competition.