Trying to reason with a child that is in the middle of a mental storm? — talk about your losing battles.
“No!” She won’t be persuaded to exit the car.
“No!” She won’t agree to come to the grocery store you’re parked in front of, walk to the nearby library or even stroll the fountains.
My daughter wanted to go back home first. “Home first, then library.” It didn’t matter to her that we had just arrived (from home) and that little sister would hear nothing of being strapped back into her car seat after I had just released her. I wasn’t going back, and she wasn’t coming.
And so our battle of wills continued. My threats (“You’ll get no sugar for a week!”), my cajoles (“We can buy you a yummy muffin…Let me carry you.”), my peace-offering (“Here, you can have back the measuring tape you were tormenting your little sister with.”) — nothing made any headway.
And so we waited. I took her out of the car (not without objection that could be heard across the parking lot) and we waited on the sidewalk some more. I called Hubbie for ideas. No progress. We waited.
Then I took out a book from my library book return bag and started to read. Wimpering daughter quieted, knelt next to me with her hand on my knee and listened. She smiled, she laughed (it was a Mo Willems book, after all). We read 2 more books, and then daughter agreed she was ready to go shopping.
I’ve discovered the same magical thing at home with my 5-year-old. Reading makes a screaming, angry child (and their frustrated, angry parents) forget about themselves. Sharing a picture book is a comforting release. I liken it to breastfeeding — it’s calming, intimate and nourishing.
Are picture books losing their importance in the eyes of parents? I’m referring to that notorious article in the New York Times. I say, phooey!