So…we’ve taken to using puppets to reinforce our parental logic to our 3-year-old. I don’t know exactly how it started, but it’s extremely effective. Also, extremely weird.
Example:Felix (running towards me): Mama, I hurt my toe. It’s bleeding and I need a band-aid.
Me: Hmmm…you must be a super human, given that you just ran here with a bleeding toe. Let me take a look. (no blood) Felix, it’s not bleeding. Can you wiggle it? (wiggles toe and does not show signs of pain) I think you will be fine.
Felix: NOOOOOOO!!!!! I need a band-aid!!!!! (cue fake tears and screams)
Me: Well, let’s see what Little Felix thinks (made this name up on the spot, because the closest toy to me was this dapper fellow, and I’m not very imaginative).
Little Felix (me in a higher pitched voice): I don’t see any blood. Mama is right.
Essentially our son gives this toy more authority than me. I don’t even hide my face when I do things like this, meaning that he could look up and see that it’s ME talking. And yet, this orange-shirted dude who can’t move his extremities or manipulate his face into anything other than a jovial smirk commands the moment.Once you realize the power of the puppet, there’s no turning back. It’s like the first time you taste a micro-brew and the whole point of beer changes. Meet Schnappi. He speaks German, and Felix does whatever he says. Clean up his toys? Take his plate and fork into the kitchen? Put his blanket back in his room? Done. If I asked him to do the exact same things, there’s a 50% chance that he’d pretend that he didn’t hear me…and those are optimistic odds. It gives me a window into how he behaves for others. I mean, the obedience to Schnappi must be similar to how he behaves for his teachers at daycare. They say that he says “please”, “thank-you”, and “sorry” regularly, always washes his hands after using the restroom, and eats everything that they offer him. Don’t get me wrong, he does those things for us too…but not without prodding, reminding, and occasional intervention from Schnappi.
In short, Schnappi is the shit and I’d encourage all of you parents out there to buy into the power of the hand puppet. You’ll quickly realize that you don’t know how to do that many voices, but somehow it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that someone, anyone backs you up.