Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shock and Awe

Today I want to talk to you about the "emergency key word." If you're a parent, you get it. You need no further explanation. Skip paragraph two and read on.

The Emergency Key Word is something, as protective Moms and Dads, we all cling to as insurance. It's one word, or maybe two together, that you can state (yell, scream, shout, grunt, plead or otherwise communicate) QUICKLY to your child in an urgent situation that requires attention. Their attention. On you. Keyword here is 'quickly.'

It's easy to imagine what some common Emergency Key Words likely are, for the typical parent off on a woodland stroll that falls and twists an ankle and needs his/her child to come back to him/her, while laying helplessly in pain on the ground: Look, Suzie! A SQUIRREL! (Stop and stare.)

Or you have an infant sitting on the sidewalk and a toddler wandering around.. a bee comes by and lands on your infant at the same time the toddler starts to toddler off the curb into a very busy street. Look, Johnny! An AIRPLANE! (Stop and stare.)

Or, let's say your child is old enough to swim, and standing next to a pool in their freshly changed, totally dry clothes, and a friend is urging a dry-clothes jump in the pool. Look, Billy! BROWNIES! Stop and eat.

Different motivations for different kids. Every child has his or her favorite things they are drawn to.. toys. Animals. Fancy things that fly. Tiaras. Whatever.

Now let's talk about what my Emergency Key Word has become. He's about to run through the "exit only" automatic door at the store. He's about to walk into someone. He's wandering down the sidewalk away from me. "PLUGS."

Yes, that's right. The kind that are attached to a cord, and plug in. My 3 year old is obsessed with nothing other than the one thing every grown-up he has ever met has told him to stay away from, lest he meet his death via electrocution.

(Luckily he's obsessed with the plug side, not the outlet side. For now.)

A quick mention of whether the building, store or home we're standing in has a plug. Where they are. What kinds of things would possibly need to be plugged in? Why do they need electricity, do they have a motor? Or an engine? Et cetera.

Yes, we have engineers in the family. And yes, he might certainly be headed that direction. But in terms of "normal" emergency key words, my son shocks most everyone that overhears us. (Get it?)




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