On my last blog, I made a statement that I never give advice to other parents. I am going to break that rule right now:
Never, ever, ever, ever make a promise to a child you have no intention of delivering on. Not only will they remember, they will remind you daily about your frivolous agreement. At the moment, when my daughter turns three, she is in line for the following:
- Get her ears pierced
- Drive a car
- Get a white dog
- Get a pony
For the life of me, I can’t understand how a 2 year old not only remembers these irresponsible undertakings, but also actively remind me of them. OK, I know it’s partially my fault, but seriously, when Missy screams she wants a horse, and to keep the peace I say, “sure darling, when you are three”, am I liable? With hindsight, I should have said thirty, to coincide with the age I will be letting her date men, but at the time, it sounded so reasonable.
A child’s mind is a sponge. It is not cluttered with petty baggage like an adult. Their minds also haven’t been tainted by the world at large. Broken promises and hollow agreements are par for the course for an adult, so when I promise Missy, “Sure my princess, of course you can drive the car, you just have to be three” She files it immediately in an easily accessible part of her brain, ready to trot out out at the appropriate time.
I guess for adults, “Maybe later” is a well used and understood euphemism for “not a chance in hell”. I suppose sometimes I want to soften the blow, without outright saying no. Living in Hong Kong, a horse is just a bit impractical. Mind you, while on holidays recently, this happened: “Daddy, can I have a giraffe?” “No dear, you can’t.”
After 20 minutes of screaming and tears, I decided that, well, “maybe later”, was the easier option. So when Missy turns three, there she will be: ears newly pierced, driving herself to the stables in the castle we now live in, ready to ride her pet giraffe; her white dog happily in the back seat, chatting to the pony.