WWFD? What would Flop do?
Flop. The most patient of parents. He’s my gentle parenting guru.
When faced with a toddler who is “exploring the world and learning about boundaries” (read “destroying the house and ignoring all threats and instructions”) I often find my gentle parenting hat slipping. It’s at this point I look to the tiny orange rabbit and ask myself “What would Flop do?”
The answer is probably clean it up/fix it/wipe it/solve the problem all while smiling and saying “don’t worry, it was just a little clumbo, it’s no big thing” in his beautiful comforting tone.
HOW DOES HE DO IT!?
“I don’t think your sister likes it when you poke her in the eye, but don’t worry darling, it’s no big thing”
“oh dear, the entire contents of the cupboards and drawers are all over the floor, it’s no big thing. Shall we tidy it up?”
The thing is, my toddler isn’t Bing. She doesn’t respond as the script says she should, and at that point I lose my ability to improvise.
This morning I changed babies nappy. Not knowing that this would cause almighty upset because toddler wanted to help. Flop, (who would never have committed such an unforgivable crime to start with) would calmly have responded with, “oh dear, would you like to get a doll so we can change that nappy together?” But I am not Flop, and I did not think of such a good idea at the time, (although it seems obvious now!) so I did my best to comfort, but in fact started a war.
After repeatedly asking the toddler not to get all her toys out at once, she has now emptied the contents only several puzzles onto the floor. To find she is now unable to complete them with their muddled pieces. “I told you not to” is not in Flop’s vocabulary.
“oh dear” he would say, “shall we make a game of it?” and Bing and Flop would laugh and play as they complete the puzzles and probably do something clever like mark the back of each puzzle with a colour to help them sort them quickly next time. (again- why don’t I ever think of these things at the time!?)
Flop, I love you. I love your voice, your gentle words, and your ability to put everything right.
But stop it.
You are making the rest of us look bad.