Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trust issues

In 1996 I was 4. It was a pretty huge year for me. I moved to England, began my first year of school, made new friends, saw new places, and got my bedtime changed.
Previously, my bedtime had been a very strict 7:30pm. It was enforced by my older sister Sharah (who had clearly shown from an early age a great sort of defiance and bad behavior in order for her to receive such a terrible chore). However, as I was becoming a strong independent and grown 4 year old, my parents heeded to my prolonged, whiny pleas, and allowed me to stay up to a new and better bedtime of "half an hour to 8."
This new bedtime placated me for a good while, until I began to indignantly notice that I would be told, "bedtime! It's 7:30!" And then immediately after when I reminded them my bedtime had been changed, "uh, right, I mean, half an hour to 8! It's that. Now." You SNEAKY parents!

Consequently, from an early age, I was taught the value and success of manipulating young children, a talent which serves me well in my current employment. If this were a continued post about my marketability, you can guarantee it that "manipulating the blind" could be listed.

One large stumbling block for my client at work is his inability, or refusal, to eat regular food. Although he is nearing five, his parents still send baby food with him to school. Since I have begun working with him, his palate has expanded immensely, and he now eats chicken, fish, rice, fruit, bread, and other school lunch foods happily. However, this progress did not come immediately. I found early on that my client had a flat refusal to try any sort of new food, however, if that food found his way into his mouth, he would find that he liked it, and finish the dish. Such began the manipulation of a poor, defenseless blind boy. So many lunch times begin with my putting a new food behind a known food on a spoon, and offering the spoon handle to my client to hold, while my teacher looks on with fingers crossed. The spoon enters the mouth, we wait, he chews and pauses, we cringe, he continues to eat and motions for more. I get congratulated by the adults, and I wonder if this is some horrible form of betrayal. Sorry, buddy. We need you to eat!

Really, though, every form of relationship you have is some sort of manipulation. My sweet little puppy was easily manipulated from the beginning. The first trick we ever tried to teach her was a simple "sit." Sasha learned that if she were to sit upon command, she was immediately awarded with a delicious treat, and wonderful, kind praise. Unfortunately, she still hadn't learned to respond to any other sort of request. Therefore, my parents and I often found ourselves at the bottom of our townhouse's stairs, leash in hand, screaming for Sasha to come. At first we wondered if the poor puppy had some problems with her hearing, or if the house was just muffling our calls to her. Then father found a way.
One day as I stood in our foyer screaming for my puppy, dad came over and said, "watch this."
"Sasha!" He yelled up the stairs, just as I had done. Then, "Sashaaaaaaaa, sit!" We stood in silence for a moment before hearing a rapid "boom boom boom boom, click click click, thump thump thump" as Sasha jumped and ran from wherever she was hiding above us, skid down the stairs, and sat beautifully still right at my father's feet, tail wagging rapidly.

Of course, this is also, I think, how I have such a wonderful, serving husband. I have conditioned him into knowing that he will receive love, kisses, and praise when he feeds and loves me. I recommend you do likewise.

Moral of the story? Children, puppies, and husbands are essentially all the same.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really not sure how I ended up being the one who put you to bed. Was it an assignment or was it just because I was the kind of kid who hated seeing rules not being enforced? It was certainly no easy task and no wonder that no one else wanted to do it!