for release February 1, 2002
by Melodie Davis
Adventures With Kids
I was waiting through my daughter's visit to the pediatric dentist's office, a wondrous place if there ever was one. If I were a kid today I would never dread going to the dentist. The toys and activities they have for the kids in the examining rooms; the decorations on the walls, ceilings and floors; and the dental assistants who seem to have gotten their happy-to-be-here training from Disney World, well, let's just say dental offices today aren't what they used to be.
I watched a young mother with her two sons enter; the mother pointed out the huge oversized toothbrush on the wall to the three-year-old. Immediately he responded, "It says Nike!" The child couldn't read but of course he recognized Nike's famous signature logo printed there.
The dental assistant appeared and crouched low to begin her gentle coaxing of the young fellow back to the inner offices. "Hi, how are you today? Do you see who's on my shirt?"
"Snoopy!" said the boy, drawing near. "Snoopy is in Peanuts!" he added. I gasped at his grasp of American trademarks. (It's been awhile since I had a three year old.)
The nurse picked up on his brand-consciousness, also, and grabbed her opening. "Well, do you like Barney?" He stared at her. "We have a Barney toothbrush for you, or a Garfield Glow-in-the-Dark toothbrush, if you want."
The boy paused and looked at her a little, as if to see how far this deal could go. "And toothpaste?" he wondered.
I listened to another mother tell about the kind of bargain her precocious, but slow-to-potty-train son thought he had bartered. He had begged his parents for a new baby.
"Well we certainly can't have two children in diapers!" she said. "We wouldn't dare have another one unless you get potty trained."
A couple days later Toddler comes out of the bathroom, proud of himself for a successful potty trip. "Can we get a baby now?" he wanted to know.
It's always interesting to see what kinds of twists kids put on things. Laura, of Snohomish, Washington, wrote in an e-mail, "During our first snowstorm one year, we had a power outage. Four-year-old Ben ran around the house, trying to turn on all the lights, heaters, and trying to work the appliances.
"To him, the piano was just another big appliance. He went to the piano and, discovering it still played, triumphantly announced, 'Ah ha! The piano still works!'" (printed in Christian Reader magazine).
Freda Zehr contributed this story from when her daughter was three. The child was thrilled with planting flower seeds and other seeds in their small garden plot. She would squat down, peer intently at the ground, and they talked about the plants sprouting.
One day as they drove to another city, they passed a piece of land that was being turned into a housing development. The workers had just barely gotten started with the frames which were coming up with large mounds of dirt around them. Suddenly Andrea squealed with delight. "Oh look Mommy! The house seeds have sprouted!"
And then sometimes, it's the kids who drive us as parents to the point where ... well, here's the story. I can't vouch for its origins or truth:
A man observed a woman in the grocery story with a three-year-old girl in her cart. As they passed the cookie section, the child asked for cookies and her mother told her no. The little girl immediately began to whine, and the mother said quietly, "Now Ellen, we just have half of the aisles left to go through; don't be upset. It won't be long."
He passed the mother again in the candy aisle. Of course, the little girl began to shout for candy. When she was told she couldn't have any, she cried. The mother said, "There, there, Ellen, don't cry. Only two more aisles to go and we'll be checking out."
The mother went through the routine again at the check out, where the girl begged for gum. Again the mother said, "Ellen, we'll be through this check out stand in five minutes, and then you can go home and have a nice nap."
The man, standing behind them in line, complimented the mom. "I couldn't help noticing how patient you were with little Ellen," he said.
"My little girl's name is Tammy," the mother replied. "I'm Ellen!
Do you have a story about a child to share for possible future publication? Send to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.
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