I kind of like being scary
Lately I’ve been discussing with NJ, 6, how he CANNOT run into the street without looking both ways and asking a grownup to help him cross. Normally he’s pretty good about this but he’s also 6 and sometimes instinct overrides reason…such as yesterday, when I was talking to my sister in his living room and caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of him chasing a ball into the street. We live, thank goodness, in a quiet neighborhood, but my lord.
Purely on instinct I opened the door and screamed his name, then pointed to a front porch chair and said “sit.”
My sister looked at me. “you’re scary,” she said.
I don’t yell very often, but this street thing…last spring, NJ, SB, and AG were at the park with me and they were running ahead. They stopped at the street because at 5, 5, and 4 they KNOW to stop…and then apparently NJ said “go!” and the two others ran into the street, in front of a car. Yes, my heart stopped. Yes, I screamed. The car, thank God, stopped, but my lord was that terrifying. I think I scared the hell out of the boys, too.
Actually, the street thing is the only time I’ve ever intentionally sworn at a kid, too…once CH was angry with me and refusing to walk with us (I think he was about 8-9) and started crossing a major street against the light. I shrieked his name and when he backed up asked him what on earth he was doing crossing against the light. He said he wasn’t paying attention. I said he damn well better pay attention.
He stayed very, very close after that.
I don’t think being scary is a solid strategy generally, but oh boy does it work every now and then.