Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Lessons in Cause and Effect

Peer pressure can be a good thing.

Last summer, when I was just thinking that The Four-Year-Old would never actually put her head under water and ultimately swim, we were in a local lake with Sidekick and the Four-Year-Old spontaneously started asking to be dunked under water. Wholeheartedly. Of course, this was a direct consequence of hearing Sidekick whining to her dad about not wanting to go under water.

It was bizarre. She went from barely wanting to put her toes in the water to me literally throwing her up into the air and letting her drop into water over her head and kicking up toward the surface. In minutes. We made up games where we both went under and counted on our fingers to five while holding our breaths before kicking to the surface. That day alone she must have gone under at least a hundred times.

With little schooling in psychology, I've concluded that child development does not come in continuous small changes, but in large, discrete steps.

Today, the Four-Year-Old, under obvious peer pressure from being the first to wear the one pair of small-sized cross-country skis, skied her heart out. Because I wear skate ski's and they (kid and BioMom) wear the traditional Nordic skis, we go on a wide path that is paved for both kinds, and it is an out-and-back sort of path, the length of which is yet to be determined. Not wanting to be outdone by Sidekick, or to have to hand over the skis, the Four-Year-Old kept skiing and skiing.

Four-Year-Old, its Sidekick's turn, o.k.?

No! I get to decide!

O.k. how about after that turn?

What about a little more after the turn?


No! How about after the downhill?

I've never seen her be so athletic. Visions of Peekaboo Street were flashing in my head. Me in the stands watching the Four-Year-Old compete in her college ski team...

She kept going and going. Finally, I got a little worried, as what goes up must come down, or in this case, what goes out, must come back, so I insisted that they switch.

It was literally not five feet into the turn around when the whining began.

But Mo-hom! I'm TIRED!

She was stumbling in and out of the erstwhile perfectly groomed trail like a drunk on a binge.

Maggie! We TOLD you that you should turn around. Its Sidekick's turn now.

I have to admit that I was a bit worried about how far we had gotten (and thus, how far there was to go) and tired myself having travelled about twice as much as they had having retraced my path several times to match their slow pace. I swear I went up the little hill 20 times to their once.

I also wanted the Four-Year-Old to learn a lesson about cause and effect. So we pushed on.

And she kept whining.

And BioMom worried that it wouldn't be a positive experience for her.

At the top of the hill I gave in and let her ride on the back of my skis. We flew down the hill with her balancing precariously on the back end of my skis and clinging to my pants yelling all the way!

That was fun! Let's go again!

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