It’s amazing that kids test your limits and your patience in so many different ways but they never thought of challenging the counting trick. Parents do it all the time. “Get off the table before I count to 3 or…1, 2…” and off jumps the child. I have never had to count beyond 2. Yet. In fact I sometimes fear that one not-so-fine day minime will decide to call my bluff and I won’t remember what comes after 2. Worse, I might not know what to do. Lock her in the bathroom? She might just run the bath and splash around and have fun. Maybe, lock her in her room? Nah! Too many toys to play with. Time out? Bad idea…she loves time outs. In fact she has always wanted me to put her in time out. And there’s nothing else I can think off.
But, it’s worked for 4 1/2 years. I am hoping it will work for another few. In fact I think it works because of our innate fear of the unknown. I have never ever told her what will happen after 3. She has never bothered to ask. Good for me! And so, I leave it to her imagination. Like the the movie ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ where they show absolutely no violence but the movie feels way more gory than Kill Bill. All they do is show a mean guy with a knife and another guy’s fingers. And they leave the rest to your imagination. Now, knife + fingers = infinite possibilities. And somehow our brains work in such a way that we always imagine the worst possibility. Same thing. A counting parent + a poor little child = infinite possibilities and the child’s brain, I assume, sees only the worst. Three cheers for the brain! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!