Updated: Nov 18, 2022
Naiy: "Mama I want a banana."
Me: "How about I cut off part of it for you since you don’t usually eat the whole thing."
Naiy: "NO! I want the whole thing!"
I could see where this was headed if we stayed on this track. ⚔️
So instead, I grabbed the bunch of bananas from the fruit basket and began to embody the Chiquita Banana lady.
Me [with accent now]: "Naiy do you know what happens to bananas when we take them from the stem?"
Anaiya looks at me now with a big grin, ready to hear.
Me [in full dramatic storytelling and accent]: "When we pick them off the stem, they are no longer connected to their family and they get soft, mushy AND brown. 😱 Unless we eat them up right away. Their family watches them from the bunch and feels sad to see them wither. No banana is happy. 😢 But, if you cut off just a little then the other part can still be with their family. And we can always cut off more."
At this point Naiy is fully engaged, and giggling along with my banana character.
Banana Me: "So tell me sweet girl, how much banana would you like?
I point halfway down the banana and she says “noooope" in her own playful voice.
I point to just a small quarter of the banana.
Naiy: "YES! This much."
The satisfying word of “Yes” lands with delight in my system and hers.
Me: "Yes, this is the amount you get to enjoy, and the rest stays with the family. Everyone is happy!" 😊
And with the knife I slice off her portion.
The moments of choosing play ALWAYS end better than if we’d gone into a battle of the wills. If I’m in a playful mood already, then this channel is readily available. But if I’m not, it takes that moment, a breath, catching myself, and choosing to redirect towards play.
"The moments of choosing play ALWAYS end better than if we’d gone into a battle of the wills."
I didn’t know if she was going to choose to only have a small portion of the banana. I was satisfied that was the outcome, but that wasn’t what the play was about in the moment. It was about shifting us both from our will centers, shifting her from her one track idea that she needed the whole banana, and simply opening up into more creativity.
With creativity comes more possibility, AND it brings us into connection!
Connection is the foundation from which anything else can arise from. Before a child can truly hear a new idea, or a correction, connection needs to be established.
It’s also a state shift for us both, that honestly is just way more enjoyable. I love how all my years as a performance artist now show up as tools in parenting. 😂 🙏
I’m honestly continually amazed by how much play really does seem like the best answer in most moments. 🤩
"Connection is the foundation from which anything else can arise from. Before a child can truly hear a new idea, or a correction, connection needs to be established."
From an energetic perspective, I see it as lightening the field and allowing things, like intense emotions, to still be here but with levity and more space to breathe.
If I’d tried to explain to Naiy why we don’t want to waste bananas in a tone that was trying to teach her a lesson, or assert my power over her, she wouldn’t have comprehended it, and her demand for the whole banana would have intensified.
With play, we got to have our banana and eat it too. All needs were met. 🙌🎂❤️