Evidence that parents can sometimes bring in the monster threats a little too early
Setting: Shoe shop, Warwickshire.
Time: Daytime, 10am.
Mother of lively 3 year old.
3 year old.
Two shop assistants (non-speaking parts)
Drop-dead gorgeous, deliciously-curvy 49 year old blogger looking at shoes on sale rack (non-speaking part)
3 year old: Wanna go outside. [Runs outside.]
Mother: No, don't go outside. I've told you to stay in here with me. Come BACK.
3 year old: [comes back] Wanna go outSIDE.
Mother: I said, stay in here.
3 year old: Wanna go outSIDE. [Runs outside.]
Mother: I said, come here. Anyway, there's a MONSTER out there.
3 year old: [comes back in] No, there isn't.
Mother: Yes, there is, and he'll eat you up. Now stay here.
Scene 2 (30 seconds later)
3 year old: [runs off upstairs to another part of shop]
Mother: Come back HERE.
3 year old: [shouts] Wanna stay up stairs.
Mother: I said, come BACK. Anyway, there's a monster up there, too.
3 year old: No, there isn't.
Mother: Yes, there is. Do you want to be eaten? Come down HERE.
3 year old: [comes back down]
Scene 3 (30 seconds later)
3 year old: Wanna go down those stairs.
Mother: No, I told you. Stay with ME. Anyway ...
3 year old: Is there a monster there?
Mother: Yes, there's a monster there. And he'll gobble you up if you run around. Into little pieces. And the little pieces will be all over the shop floor. And the shop ladies won't like it. Now stay here with me.
3 year old: [stands still by mother]
End of play.
Now, I'm sure you'll have realised from the description of the character that I was the lady looking at the shoes in this episode. And I have some questions for the mother.
1. When your 3 year old wakes up in the night and can't sleep, claiming, 'There's a monster in my wardrobe and it's going to eat me,' what are you going to say? You have already introduced the proposition: 'Monsters are common in Warwickshire'. Ah, awkward. Whatever you decide, it had better be good. Otherwise, I hope you have a good supply of under-eye concealer in your make-up bag.
2. Wasn't your intervention a bit drastic? I mean, what happened to good old-fashioned, 'Don't run around the shoe shop or the manager will be cross with you'? Couldn't you have started off slowly with, 'Don't run around or you won't be watching TV when we get home?' Keep something back. Otherwise, what will you do in 10 years' time when the headmaster rings and says, 'I'm afraid your child has just driven a stolen JCB truck through the gymnasium while off her head on crack?'
3. If, say, an eight-foot tall, two-headed monster HAD appeared at that point at the door of the shoe shop, breathing fire and slashing at the shoe displays with long spear-like talons, were you prepared for what you were going to have to do then? You would have to look very UNsurprised and say, 'See? I told you there was a monster. NOW will you behave? Yes, I'll take those sandals, please. How much is that?'
|After what Mummy had said, little Angelina eyed a pair of children's trainers|
on the sale rack with some suspicion