There Really Were Flamingos
November 13th, 2012
Lots of things irritate my four-year-old. Things like bedtime. Or her brother. Or vegetables. But the number one thing that makes her go crazy is this: not being believed.
Miss Mouse hates it if you don’t believe something she says. She flies into a near-hysterical fit of angst as she attempts to persuade you by yelling her convictions at increasing decibels.
A classic example from this morning: as we drove to school, we listened to one of her CDs. When I pulled up to the door, the song came to an end, and I turned off the car.
Miss Mouse didn’t think the song was over. It was a particularly long ditty that repeated a similar sequence of sound many many many (many) times and she thought there was one more. I didn’t. She screamed. And cried. And begged me to turn the music back on. I stuck to my guns, hauled her out of the car, and stuffed her into her classroom.
But here’s the thing. She was right.
When I turned the car back on, darned if that stupid song didn’t gear up for one last repetition. I felt terrible.
Another time, we were driving along and she announced that she had seen a flock of flamingos in a field we passed. Sure, honey. Flamingoes. Right. I tried to be non-committal, but she could sense my disbelief and was heart-breakingly furious.
On the drive home, I spotted them. A flock of pink plastic decorative flamingos were parked in the midst of a field. I don’t know why. But there they were.
Why do I have a hard time believing my daughter? She’s not particularly prone to lying. Not yet, at least. And not under circumstances like those described above. (Now, if you ask her why her brother is crying or where the last muffin went, that’s another story altogether.)
As adults we’re hard-wired to believe that we know best. I was sure that song was over. There was no way my pre-schooler knew better than my thirty-one-year-old self. And flamingos in the field? No way.
I want to do better at cultivating a spirit of belief. I want my default position to be believing the things my kids tell me because that says something about our relationship — and they know it.