Monday, February 29, 2016

Changing the way you parent

“Karrie, this gift will completely change the way you parent,” my friend told me. “Trust me,” she said. “Now give me back your Christmas present.”
As it was, she gifted me a very sparkly bracelet that she demanded I return to her the second I opened it. Not being a sparkly girl, I assured her I loved it and would wear it, but she was right. It clashed with my hiking boots and the dirt on my jeans. She was right, but I didn’t give it back until she absolutely insisted because my new and amazing replacement gift was being shipped.
“I can’t wait to give it to you!” she said. “It will change your whole life.”
I had no idea what she would be giving me, but finally one day I got the call that it was in and I needed to pick it up immediately…and bring the bracelet.
Standing in her kitchen, the excitement was so high that she didn’t even bother to wrap it. Instead, she handed me a large box and toothy grin from ear to ear.
I must have looked confused, and admittedly I was.
“It’s a megaphone! It’s amazing! It will ch---“
“Change my life, yes I heard,” I finished, my voice probably trailing off through my forced smile, thinking I might get more use out of that sparkly bracelet.
“You don’t understand,” she said, “let me demonstrate.” She picked up her own megaphone (she got one for herself, too) and, “kids! Brush your teeth. Go to bed.”
Her timbre was soft. Her voice was calm. Her requests were easily heard in every room of her house.
I thanked her, grabbed my odd and belated Christmas present, left the bracelet and went home. Once there, I installed four thousand gigantic batteries, tried it out, and set it on my kitchen counter.
For days it sat, untouched, unless you count a child picking it up now and then to irritate me, a sibling, or the poor dog. It got shifted from counter to counter and then one day I was making dinner and didn’t have time to go looking for the kids, so in a moment of brilliancy, I picked up the megaphone.
“Dear children, please get your hineys to the kitchen immediately. Bring homework and clean fingers.”
Normally I would have been screaming these words in multiple directions, often stomping on the floor to get the attention of those who may be hiding in the basement. I might have to yell up the stairs or even out the back door. But now, with the aid of my trusty new megaphone, it only took one time and I said it in a peaceful and I-mean-business-but-I’m-not-so-furious-that-veins-are-popping-out-of-my-head tone.
They came running. I was sold.

Megaphone? Mega-awesome. Mega-useful. Mega-perfect Christmas present from a mega-fantastic (and brilliant) friend.

Originally written/published 4.5.15

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