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Language Log

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 - 9:36 a.m.

Just remembered another thing that happened with my mom at E’s party the other day. She asked U- who was incredibly anxious because of E’s friend’s family being there, he didn’t want them to know his name or to look at him even, and was hiding behind me a lot— to hand her a bottle of water. He of course barely acknowledged it. He shook his head no, she asked him again to coax him into it. “Oh come on, U, won’t you bring me a bottle of water?” And the option was for all of us to stand there looking at him waiting on him to accede to this demand, or him be really really rude and it turn into a big thing. She was putting him on the spot.

So I handed her a bottle of water. She was like, “no, let him do it!” I said, “Mom, what do you want, are you thirsty or do you just want to start a fight with your grandson?” She said something about putting him to work and letting him do things for others and anyway he was moving to do it when I had intercepted. (He hadn’t been, he was moving close to me for safety).

There would have been a big confrontation or he would have had a meltdown later. He would not have responded “respectfully” and she would have been embarrassed. She hasn’t learned that my kids are not motivated to comply based on threat of shame or not wanting to rock the boat. Unlike me. I never had anyone to protect me from that kind of shit.

U helps when he’s relaxed and feeling safe and not pressured.

It was right after that the exchange I wrote about yesterday happened.

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