Saturday, 24 January 2009

Does Blue Monster like peas?

As parents of a child in the midst of her third year (or, as it’s more commonly described, the terrible twos), we have developed a number of methods of persuading, bribing, scaring and tricking R into doing what we want or need her to do. None of them, I’m sure, are at all new.

One of the most successful ones is having someone else tell her what to do. Teachers at nursery school are great at getting her to do things. Grandma and Grandpa (who live too far away to have their boundaries tested much) are pretty good, too. But at home it falls to a number of others to help us in our endeavours:

  • Blue Monster (also called Boo-Boo), and his somewhat cheeky daughter Purple Monster (also called Gra-Gra). Purple Monster is a little bit younger than R and therefore R is able to help show her how big, grown-up girls behave. Examples of behaviour that R models for Purple Monster are going to sleep without any fuss, sitting quietly for stories at bedtime and going straight back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night. Blue Monster usually goes to sleep in Mummy and Daddy’s room, just in case he needs to talk to his daughter during the night. During the day, Blue Monster is the main customer of R’s shop and also consumes every piece of plastic food in the house at least three times a day.
  • Snake. Snake has helped R to get dressed in the morning. He has kept her amused while having her nappy changed. He has read her stories and explained when it is time to go to sleep and stopped her screaming when the light is turned out. He has got her into her buggy and explained that she can’t get out to press the buttons on the cash machine, because it’s his turn. Snake is an all-round good guy, really.
  • Pooh (Winnie-Ther-). Pooh helps R wash her hair. No-one else can do it without screams and water and soap ending up in her eyes. For Pooh, she’ll tip her head back and even get her hair thoroughly wet herself and it will be washed, conditioned, rinsed and brushed within the space of about two minutes.
  • Dragon, Fairy, Knight, Wizard, Lion and Hippo. For the most part these are just characters to play with. They might come to R’s shop or for a picnic. They might play chase with her or read her stories. They might just sit and watch TV with her. But, whoever is in play at any time, will often be roped into providing a bit of persuasion if it’s dinner time, tidy-up time, bathtime, bedtime, getting-dressed time…

Thank you to whoever invented puppets!

So what persuasion do or have you used?


  1. Daddy is the ultimate persuasion in our house; "gosh daddy will be so happy when he hears how well you ate your supper", "I wonder what daddy will think of all this mess..." Our two year old hero worships his daddy, an usually complies readily.

  2. MTJAM: Hubby has slightly more authority than me (mostly because he has a deeper voice, but also because he's not quite as much of a wuss as me!), but she's still very, very happy to test his boundaries. He is better at standing by them than me. I find it difficult not to give in to tears, even when they're obviously put on.

  3. Absolutely nothing or no one works with my 3 year old daughter. She is wise beyond her years.
    If I ask her to do something all nicely she looks me up and down and walks off! Serioulsy girl, you're 3 not 13.
    And when daddy tries she just chuckles as if to say 'yeah, nice try'.

  4. Tara: Blimey, that must be hard work!

  5. It's so annoying isn't it? Last night we stayed at friends and our children didn't want to go to sleep. I tried. Husband tried. EVentually we got our friends to go in and they finally listened. We too use an array of toys in a bid to encourage listening but more often than not, the sweetie tin is the only thing that works.

  6. Ah, the sweetie tin. Have managed, so far, to avoid that one (we tell her sweeties are things for grown-ups, much like beer and wine - don't think we'll get away with that for much longer), but we do seem to get through an awful lot of biscuits!