It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Natural Consequences and Kindliness

“Hey, bud. If you lift that, it will pinch your fingers. It will slide right back and pinch those little fingers.”

My words stop Nigel in his exploration of the sliding dustcover on the piano keys. He turns towards my approach. His dimpled hands hover over the half-revealed keyboard.

Don’t they grow quickly at this age? Back from two weeks holiday and is now tall enough to achieve a long-term goal: push that cover right back. And push he does. I’m now close enough to put actions to words.

“If this cover slides back,” I slide it back, “it will pinch your fingers”, I drop the cover very lightly onto his pudgy fingers. “That will hurt. OW!” I hope that the expression of pain on my face will get the point across without the experience.

Seems not. He’s back at it a couple of minute later. “Hey, Mister. You will get those fingers pinched.” The warning comes from across the room. He drops his hands and trots off. “Come over here and we’ll read this book.”

Five minutes later, the same. Five more, again. Then four, once more.

Three minutes after that, as I change Timmy’s diaper, George’s voice. “Nigel. Nigel, leave it alone or you will hurt yourself!”

The cover has no lock. Short of duct tape, there’s really no way to seal the keyboard shut, and I’m not about to do that to my piano. The boy will either listen, or learn the –

“AAAAAAHHHH!” – hard way. Nigel sucks his fingers. The piano receives an accusing glare.

George beats me to it. “See? What did Mary say? And now you’ve hurted yourself!”

George beats me to the second part, too. “Come here and I will give you a hug and kiss it better.”

Awww… Lots of learning going on around here today.

© 2006, Mary P

September 5, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Blogger’s comments are SUCKING today!

    Eh, you’re getting cute on me. Welcome back! Hope you are refreshed.

    Comment by ieatcrayonz | September 5, 2006 | Reply

  2. Ahh, George knows how to take care of his little brother. And he knows what the next step is because I’m sure he’s done something like that after many warnings otherwise!

    Comment by Angela | September 5, 2006 | Reply

  3. Howabout unnatural consequences?

    This evening I said to my 5 yr old daughter: “If you keep telling tales all your teeth will fall out”

    Dont ask me why I said it 😉 the response

    “ooohhhh the tooth fairy”

    Comment by Si | September 5, 2006 | Reply

  4. Ah yes, natural consequences, lesson learned without us punishing. We just sooth the boo-boo and remind our kiddos of what WILL happen.

    Hurray, George! Being the old man of the group agrees with you!

    Comment by Mamacita Tina | September 5, 2006 | Reply

  5. LOL – that’s the only way my Money-Moo seems to be learning these days! Gawd, I didn’t realize that ‘learning from their own mistakes’ happens this early!!

    Comment by Lillithmother | September 5, 2006 | Reply

  6. George is so sweet he made my teeth hurt.

    And I’m glad to see that even Mary of the Inifinite Patience has this happen to her 123453 times a day, too. I on the other hand, am a lesson in what NOT to do. *sigh*

    Comment by stefanierj | September 5, 2006 | Reply

  7. Yeeeowwwwwch! Hmf. Live and learn, Buddy, live and learn… but oh so cute that you have other little helpers to kiss boo-boos away and spread the love.

    Comment by Jennifer | September 6, 2006 | Reply

  8. Yay George! I must have gotten confused – I thought that he was headed off to school with Darcy and Arthur this year.

    Comment by Lady M | September 6, 2006 | Reply

  9. Life’s little lessons.

    Comment by Granny | September 6, 2006 | Reply

  10. Crayonz: Feeling much better, thanks. George is naturally sweet. A little earnest, and a tad lacking in humour, but kind.

    Angela: George and Nigel get along very well. I hope this continues once he gets to school, that wasteland of age-ghettos. George probably knows the next step so well from having watched Nigel; George is a pretty well-behaved little guy these days.

    Si: That’ll learn ya. The girl is now probably planning a veritable spree of tale-telling, imagining wealth untold! You’ll have to tell her the tooth fairy doesn’t come for teeth that fall out THAT way.

    Reminds me of a young cousin, who wouldn’t stop playing with his whatnot, and in frustration his mother barked at him, (in a room crowded with relatives) “If you don’t stop playing with that thing, it’s going to FALL RIGHT OFF!”

    He must’ve stopped, though, because not only is he now married, but he’s managed to produce a kid or two. 🙂

    Mamacita Tina: “Natural consequences”, aka “learning the hard way”. They can save a parent a lot of effort, if the parent is willing to let it happen.

    Lillith: I think learning from their own mistakes is probably the first and primary way of learning for many, if not most, kids. There are some nice, compliant kids who will listen and absorb your explanations – my first was one such – but there are many who just have to charge in there and find out themselves that Momma Is Always Right. Heh.

    Stefanie: Me? Infinitely patient? Can you hear my family laughing from there? The adult’s patience doesn’t change the way the child learns, anyway. They is what they is, the little monkeys.

    Jennifer: Yeowch – but it’s not as if he hadn’t been warned! Isn’t George the best?

    LadyM: I wondered if anyone would pick up on that! I didn’t want to clutter up the story with the explanation, but you’re quite right – George does start school this month. However, the JK in this city stagger their entry. Four kids start the first day, then another few are added a couple of days later. George’s first day isn’t until the 18th.

    Granny: Indeed. And you know what? When he pinched his fingers, I smiled inside. (Outside I was all sympathy.) If that’s what it takes…

    Comment by Mary P. | September 6, 2006 | Reply

  11. Oh, that’s SO good! George was benig such the little parent. How cute.

    Comment by kittenpie | September 6, 2006 | Reply

  12. George is such a good big brother. I hope my son will be just as conscientious.

    Comment by KTP | September 6, 2006 | Reply

  13. That’s a good idea- to stagger entry so that you don’t have 20 brand new five year olds learning the ropes all at once!

    Comment by Lady M | September 6, 2006 | Reply

  14. How about when the child is only 10 months old? He hardly even looks at me when I talk, unless he is bored. I just hope hea learns from his mistakes at 10 months.

    Comment by Anonymous | September 7, 2006 | Reply

  15. Aww poor Nigel. It sucks learning life lessons the hard way.

    Yeah for George though. Hugs and kisses do tend to make things better.

    Comment by kimmyk | September 7, 2006 | Reply

  16. Kittenpie, KTP: He often is, with the little ones. It’s very sweet, particularly when he does it with his little brother.

    LadyM: I agree. It’s only another week or so of daycare for the parents, but it can make things so much easier for the children – and their teacher!

    Anonymous: Oh, I’ll bet he’s already done a fair bit of learning that way. He’s learned to control his hands – in part so he can grab things, but in part so as to stop wapping himself in the eyeball. He’s probably learned not to wave things too close to his head for similar reasons! See? It starts early, and never stops.

    Kimmyk: Sometimes learning the hard way is just what it takes. How many adults do you know who only drive the speed limit where they know there’s likely to be an officer or a speed trap?–>

    Comment by Mary P. | September 7, 2006 | Reply

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