My 8 year old son has a book report due. He asked me to help him choose a good read. “Nothing boring”. In the very deep recesses of my mind, I remembered Matilda, the outrageously courageous 4 year old who super-glued her father’s nasty hat to his head among other escapades.
Listening to peals of laughter from him as he read the book convinced my husband that he needed to re-read Matilda. And my jealousy of Father and Son who were now in on all the good jokes convinced me to join the club.
What fun! I was laughing. Out loud. It was so much fun being a kid again and thought provoking to look at the world from the perspective of a small child. I was reminded of how giant and scary and controlling adults can be. The Trunchbull (the nasty principal who dangles children by their braids – upside down) was downright terrifying. Unless you were as intrepid as Matilda and willing to punish adult misdeeds behind the scenes, you were incarcerated. Hopeless. The adults never believed their children’s tales from school- or were downright nasty themselves.
I stared soul searching when my son innocently asked “If the Trunchbull was my teacher and I told you what she did to us, would you believe me?” Gosh, do you believe everything your child complains about?! So I became more understanding of my children. At least for a day. I was reminded of the importance to really listen when they talk. Make eye contact. Show and really feel empathy; “you seem so sad, I would feel sad if that happened to me”. Little people have big people feelings. Instead of responding to outrageous requests with “NO. Why? because I am THE MOTHER” I gave more choices “do you want to go to sleep now, or now?” kidding — more like “do you want to sleep in your pink pjs or your nightgown”?
Alas, my adult instincts returned rather quickly as I found myself lecturing my brood about the definition of f-i-c-t-i-o-n, and what is NEVER to be tried at home, after I overheard the conversation he had with his 6 and 4 year old sisters ” Yes, she glued the hat to his head. Crazy glue- you know- in the kitchen drawer, very, very strong”.
Alas, we all grow up at some point. I hope my son does not find this analysis to use for his book report (due next week…) And now, on to James and the Giant Peach…