Role Reversal

As a typical 2.5 year old, Zoe really likes the word “myself”.  This gets applied to everything, from opening doors to putting on clothes to riding her bike.  In particular, I get to hear it multiple times in quick succession every day during the process of brushing her teeth.  She insists on screwing off the cap, rinsing the toothbrush, putting the cap back on, pouring water in and out of her cup, etc. (the only thing I manage to get her to let me do is put the toothpaste onto the brush).

I have resigned myself to slowly waiting while she goes through the routine.  However, one thing that particularly irks me is when she demands to wash the toothpaste out of the cap.  Usually I manage to snatch it away from her fairly quickly and distract her with something else.  Today, though, I didn’t manage to find a suitable distraction in a reasonable amount of time (a few seconds) and found myself having the following conversation:

Zoe (almost crying): Please give the cap back to me; there is still a little toothpaste left in it.
Me: There is no point in washing it! It’ll just get dirty all over again, and then it’ll keep getting dirty every time.
Zoe: And then I will wash it again!

Here I paused. This argument sounded oddly familiar, but I was supposed to be on the other side of it! The more I thought about it, the more terrified I became. What if she had bought what I was saying? How would I ever manage to get her to wash her hands again? Or take a shower? Or clean up her toys? I couldn’t possibly expect to explain to a 2 year old the difference between what she was doing and these important activities.

Without further hesitation, I gave the cap back to Zoe and patiently waited until she was done. The result: a sparkling toothpaste cap and one very satisfied kid!


About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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2 Responses to Role Reversal

  1. Your child is welcome at my house any time. She will have loads to do.


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