Thought you all might like this little insight on that practice we’re all familiar with of “kissing it & making it better” (thanks to David Calkins of Mace-Kingsley for sharing):
“Well, now, actually, it’s not even funny, because a little child will bark his knuckles or stub his toe or something and it’s almost — you can almost see him plot the whole thing out. He barks his knuckles and, like a small rocket, heads immediately for Mom and says, ‘See?’
“And Mama says, ‘Oh, that’s nice. Mama will kiss it and make it well.’ And Mama does and that’s the end of that game.
“The funny part of it is, if he plays that game convincingly, if he’s convinced he is playing a game, that Mama will give him attention and that it is interesting and so forth, child will get over doing this. And actually the speed with which they heal up a bump or a bruise which is appropriately noted by both parents is quite remarkable, unless they are so short of games they keep it around to be noted tomorrow. But a child who is neglected is a child who will be hurt. And a child who is getting an adequate amount of attention doesn’t ever get hurt. Isn’t that odd?”
17 August 1956
I’ve seen this in action more times than I can count – especially now that I have two kids. My daughter (two and a half) is in full-time activate-interlocks-dynatherms-connected-infracells-up-megathrusters-are-go mode. Of course, that comes with its fair share of bumps, bruises & tumbles. But, as long as she gets to communicate to us when she takes a flying leap into the side of a table or does a faceplant off the couch, she’s fine and goes right back to being a kid. She generally just wants us to acknowledge the BIG BRUISE she just got herself, and then goes right back to it.
But, somewhat predictably, when we were whirling around trying to get ourselves packed for our Hawaii trip the week before last, my daughter all of the sudden seemed to be hitting her head on EVERYTHING. She eventually just needed to tell us she was hungry.
It’s when we (unintentionally) ignore her to some extent, due to chores, the young one, etc, that we end up with her (almost inexplicably) having a rash of injuries all at once. It’s like all of the sudden the game stops being “run around the house as fast as possible” and degrades to “get mom & dads attention somehow”.