By Example

19th August 2004

A parenting lesson from Fussy:

“The more stringently you forbid something, the more attractive it becomes to the forbidee, correct? And shameful, because you still want to do it, but you also know you have to hide it, and the situation gets everso charged. And we want to drain all the charge out of things like . . . this! My neighbor’s five-year-old daughter, the other day, she walks in, cocks her hip, puts an imaginary Pall Mall to her lips, and whispers, We must smoke. And my neighbor was like, Wha-huh? Where the Bette Davis did she get that? We only ever watch Animal Planet. But, in alignment with the non-freaking-out philosophy, she replied in her best Marlene Dietrich, Yes, we must smoke, but we must also cough. So they started swanning around the room taking elegant drags off their imaginary cigarettes and then immediately pretending to hack up a lung. This, I thought, was educational roleplaying at its finest.”