When you have a child, you never know when you step suddenly on rose petals or dog bæsj (with realistic ratio 1:20).
Last night, I was trying to hurry the process of putting her to sleep, sending signal that ‘now it’s time to sleep’, so i said ‘Goodnight’. For unknown reason, Nhim got upset ‘I don’t like you say ‘Goodnight’, she said, take it back.’
Hmm, start to smell like an unexpected fiasco.
Strategy 1: Cast a spell.
If i say something fun, specially about my childhood, maybe she’d got interested. So i told her when i was small, we children had this rule: if you said or do something which you regretted later, then you may take it back by saying ‘bap bap’. Then i said: ‘bap bap’ i take back this ‘goodnight’. Nhim said: no, it’s still there. ‘Bap bap’ was only children’s way of making belief, it doesn’t really take away the ‘Goodnight’. She was quite interested but it didn’t work.
Strategy 2: (when you have a child, you need to think quick and be creative before the fiasco drowns you deeper) Realistic explanation.
Ok, doesn’t want children’s tale, then we talk adult way. I agreed that this spell doesn’t make ‘goodnight’ disappear. But ‘you know, in reality, once you’ve said or done something, you can’t take it back. Like when you use the toilet, you can’t order the bæjs to return into your body (for children it has to be fun, familiar and easy to understand example). So better is to think through before saying or doing something as you can’t undo it afterwards. I promise not to say ‘Goodnight’ again. ok?’
‘No, it’s not ok, i want this ‘Goodnight’ to disappear.’
Hmm… look like she won’t give up easily.
Strategy 3: Public opinion.
If your child doesn’t believe you, chances are at she believes someone else. So i told her: Ok, so we’ll ask tomorrow in kindergarten all the teachers and kids, and maybe even Julenissen (Santa claus) when he comes what we can do to make ‘Goodnight’ disappear. ‘Tomorrow’ is a good perspective because you need to SLEEP before tomorrow will come.
Then Nhim thinks a bit, then she answers: what if they give me … bad advice which doesn’t help. Oh sure, you don’t just listen to any advice, you have to think if it make sense first of all. For example Joseph can well advice to eat … bæjs to make ‘goodnight’ disappear, but it’s rather a bad advice (Joseph had a history of bæjs tasting before, at least according to Nhim).
Nhim concludes: No, I don’t want to ask. I want ‘Goodnight’ to disappear.
I’m literally out of ideas, and at this hour I was not willing to embark upon ‘mission impossible’. So ..
Strategy 4: Blackmailing.
‘You know, all your friends are sleeping by now. I hear no children outside, only Nhim.’
‘No, I hear Celina, see, I do hear Celina outside’
Of course, if you play the dirty card, I do too. Don’t ever attempt to over-reason your child, because they always can ‘invent’ some arguments out of thin air and then it’d be a vicious circle trying to prove their argument are not true.
So what do we do now???
Strategy 5: Optimism.
‘You know, we forget old things when new things happens. Like your dad forget things all the time..
‘Why do adults forget things all the times?’
‘Because adults always have many new things coming into their head, new things happen at work, in supermarket, they have to remember many things like prices, food, how to take trains, … so there’s no place for old things because we make place for new things.’
Nhim thinks for a moment, looks like she doesn’t believe that adults have so many things in their mind.
Then, ‘I won’t forget, the ‘Goodnight’ is still there.’
Well, obviously 5 mins is not long enough to forget things. I sighed :yes, i know, problem is you have very good memory, much better than your dad, so you won’t forget things easily.
Strategy 6: Science.
‘Ok, we’ll do it this way. Tomorrow we’ll find the book about brain, and we’ll see which part of the brain memory lives in. If we want to make ‘Goodnight’ disappear, we need first to know where it lives. One step at a time, ok?’
If you’re a little scientist, you do scientific way. So she bought the idea (thanks God), still she asked:’ why one thing at a time, why not 20 things at a time?’
‘Because we’ll get messed up with 20 things at a time. Now go to sleep. I’m falling to sleep right now.(and I did)’
It took still 5 more minutes with some ceremonial crying, but then she lay down and silent.
And I promise myself, there’d be no more ‘Goodnight’ ever.