It’s Not All Mary Poppins


Emily stands in the kitchen, lower lip juuust about touching her chin, the tears rolling down round cheeks.

“Emily, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t want the puppy ‘in a miiiiiiinute’!”

Emily wanted the stuffed toy in Anna’s hands. Anna had very cheerfully told her she could have it ‘in a minute’. NOT good enough!

But what’s gotten into Emily? Calm, steady, preternaturally-reasonable Emily? Emily the fabulous sharer? Emily the empath?

Well, today is her first day back from a day off with a tummy bug. She’s not her normal self yet.

And the response? A soothing cuddle? Well, yes… But just because you’re not feeling well…

“Emily, come sit on my knee.” I scoop her up and cuddle her. “I think you’re tired, hon. You’re tired, and you don’t feel like waiting. But you know how it works. You can have a turn in a minute, when Anna’s ready to share, or you don’t get a turn at all. That’s how it works.” Calmly, comfortably, not accusing or harsh. That’s just how our (secure, predictable, safe) world works. And then, quickly, before her tears are accompanied by wails, “Let’s read a book. Which book do you like? The Hat, or Bonnie’s Big Day?”

“Bonnie’s Big Day.”

“We’ll read that then, and when we’re done,” — meaningful glance cast at Anna — “I’m sure Anna will be ready to share the puppy.”

And we enjoyed our book, and Anna shared, and all was well with the world.

February 25, 2009 - Posted by | Emily, health and safety, manners, socializing


  1. I love these glimpses into their days you give us. Because the advice you give and the methods you use? Work on my kids as well, and they’re miles older…..

    That’s nice to know! That’s what happens when you work by principles rather than rules: principles apply to more and they last forever. Rules are specific and often quickly outgrown.

    Comment by daysgoby | February 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. I do have to say I have learned wonders from reading your techniques. Jeffrey responds so well and I find I am much less frustrated. Thank you!

    Comment by Dani | February 26, 2009 | Reply

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