Friday, April 20, 2012

... like pulling mussels from a shell...

There are parenting moments when disaster hangs by a thread, and depending on vague and impossible to identify variables, things can either go south or (much more rarely) resolve themselves in a manner that doesn't add stress to the little world in which we parent. And sadly, as near as I've been able to figure, there's no way to control which outcome will occur.

An example from earlier this week:

Scene: two little girls in the bathtub, one father urging them on with their washing.

L: Look Dada! Look! It looks like a pulrl.
me (doing some quick thinking): Like a pool?
K (watching): (silence)
L: No! A pulrl!!
me (starting to see the frustration on L's face and scrambling now to avoid what seems inevitable): Like a... pool? A swimming pool?
L: No!! A PULRL!!!
me (oh shit, this is going to end in tears): A... not a swimming pool.... A pole?
L (about to lose it in frustration, and who wouldn't when communication fails?): No... (a glance at her sister who grins and then, glorious shift, they both start to giggle) A pulrl Dada! A pulrl!! (more giggling)
me (laughing out loud with them, but still scrambling): A 'pull?'?!?
L (a miracle, continued loud laughing, helped by her sister's enjoyment): No! Like... (she's trying to figure out how to explain it to me, to make clear the obvious, and this is a huge step from the pure frustration that usually occurs when we have this sort of miscommunication)... a pull. Like on Mama's pretty necklace!
me (oh shit... oh shi...): A pearl?
L (huge smile, and more laughing): Yes! A pulrl
K: A pearl!!
(all laughing now)
me: A pearl! A beautiful pearl!
L (laughing, egging her sister on): A pull!! A poo...ty. A bumbum!!
me: whew!

Sisters, being... sisters
(not in the tub!)

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