Yesterday I was a little lazy but just gotta’ do that sometimes. I had plans to clean up some paperwork I had ignored, back up my possibly soon-to-crash computer, shop, do a little hiking. Instead, I took a break, feeling guilty for being so unproductive. I organized photos as I watched Caleb manipulate Cary’s friend to play with him to the point of exhaustion (not Caleb’s exhaustion, but Cary’s friend.). Caleb pulled his hand saying come into the bedroom to shoot balls into the hoop hanging from the bedroom door, play soccer, play baseball. Caleb pleaded, his hand circling his chest with the sign language for please as he said it, a double please. Few could resist. And anyone saying no to Caleb was met with screaming tantrums and world-ending cries. Few who care for him could resist or ignore the sad pleadings or the loud insistence of crying. We give in; only the strong can resist. Cary’s friend said he had learned a lot from Caleb in the last couple of months.
“What did you learn?” I asked.
He said he learned how to manipulate. I said he had learned how to manipulate but hadn’t learned how to resist it or reason with it. My grandson is going to be spoiled by us and this friend who can’t say no to the cute little face and sweet words and whispers and screams. But he will meet those caregivers and teachers who won’t be so easily manipulated. And we must learn how to curb it as he gets older.