Henry despises having his hair washed. He hollers, cries, squirms and complains about getting his hair washed Every. Single. Time. We’ve had him watch his brother stay calm and cool during the whole process, hoping he’d observe and learn. We’ve tried all sorts of techniques to make the hairwashing more pleasant. We’ve even tried to wash his hair as infrequently as possible, but he’s a little boy, and the grime builds up fast!
Finally, we came up with a bribe (a chocolate-covered raisin) and an accompanying chant (a bathtime chanty?) that goes a little something like this: “Calm and cool and you get a RAI-sin!” We sing it over and over while we wash Henry’s hair, to remind him that he can stay cool, and also to try and distract him from the proceedings. Finny even sings along with us. The phrasing is based on one of the guys’ favorite cartoon characters, Fireman Sam, whose theme song admonishes listeners to stay “cool and calm” when they hear that fire alarm. The little song actually seems to work for little Hen, who tries very hard to settle down, knowing that the coveted raisin is coming!
We find that we’re advising the guys–and ourselves–to stay cool and calm quite a bit these days. Two-year old Henry, who already has his Master of Histrionics degree, and Finny the three-and-a-half year old who’s struggling for total independence, tend to lose their cool more frequently than we’d like. There are many reminders to “use your words” instead of going from zero to instant hollering/whining, reminders to share, reminders to ask for things nicely instead of grabbing and snatching, and reminders to stay cool and calm in order to achieve one’s desired results.
Every once in awhile, we can see our hard work paying off. Last night, as Finny erupted into a fit about something at the dinner table, I calmly & coolly told him his options were to chill out and stay at the table, or go to his room until he could be nice to be around. He of course chafed at his options and began to reload the barrels of his whine cannon, until I gave him The Look (you know the one, the “I mean business” look). At which point, he hopped off his chair and retreated to his room without another word. John and I looked at each other in amazement. We may have even high-fived! And when Finny came back a couple minutes later, cool and calm prevailed.
John nudged me and whispered, “I think we deserve a raisin!”