Sunday, September 23, 2007

Theory of Mind

Every once in awhile Andy and I look at one another and say, "We're in trouble." Tonight after Elise's bath was one of those times.

Some months ago, Elise began chewing on Teri Bear's ear for comfort. (Teri is the purple panda that has gone everywhere with us since Elise was about 5 months old.) Right around that time, she decided that the saliva soaked ear contained sunscreen, which later morphed into bandaids. Now, anytime she has a scrape or a bruise she rubs that wet ear all over the injury. Apparently, the fear of rampant infection causes those things to heal right up!

Well, Elise was dawdling about getting ready for her bath tonight so Andy went to check on her. She was busily rubbing Teri's ear on her leg, and Andy said our usual, "Please don't do that, it's icky and gross."

In the tub, Elise said, "Let's talk about it later." (A la George and Martha when George won't stop eating sweets and Martha is worried about him.) And then, "I don't like it when you say those things about Teri's ear. Because I like it." Wow-very clear communication! It's still gross, but I'm glad you're not doing something you think is gross too. "I think it's beautiful," she says. "I'll just do it when you don't have to see it, Dad."

So, to sum up, our child knows we don't like this distasteful habit of bathing her wounds in saliva. But she's still gonna do it. And, so she doesn't have to hear us harp on it, she's gonna do it when we can't see her. Super.

After tonight's discussion, we know that she knows that we know she's going to continue doing as she pleases with regard to Teri's ear. I also suspect that she knows that we know that she knows that we know she's going to be deceptive about this, and she is glad to have got it all cleared up.

Shouldn't she be waiting to perfect this sort of thing until she wants to sneak out with her friends to go drinking or something? I was kind of hoping she wouldn't be quite so practiced by the time she gets to the "or something," you know what I mean?

Oh, we are in so much trouble.

I don't often solicit parenting advice (because of course we are perfect at this) but if any of you have any suggestions as to what we can do about this, I'd be grateful. Because, in my darker moments I can imagine the pediatrician's stony glare when she tells us Elise's finger needs amputating because of a gangrenous hangnail. Or at the very least I'm gonna get really tired of throwing the bear in the wash every day to keep the germs fresh.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't sweat it! Spit has been cleaning kids wounds for eons. they have survived. As for the doing what ever, do what your parents did and lock her in the basement NOW and never let her out.