We've been calling J Mr. Smooth lately because he's learned how to grease the wheels for himself, the power of persuasion. He's an expert at giving out strategically placed compliments, to the point where sometimes I wonder if he's being sincere -- is he just an innocent wide-eyed four-year-old making an innocent observation, or has he just figured out that if you smile and raise your eyebrows and say the right thing you can sometimes get what you want? Maybe his dad -- very much an old-fashioned southern gentleman who turns on the charm when he wants to -- has been coaching him.
For instance this weekend I went to the hair salon for a cut and blowout, something I do maybe 2-3 times a year. Whenever I come home from the salon TH whistles and calls me "Hollywood," and of course I spend the next few months unsuccessfully trying to recreate that hairstyle myself. So this time when I came in the door J ran up to me, looked at my hair, and stopped. "Whoa." he said. "Mommy, your hair looks really good. It's so beautiful. It makes you look so pretty." I was oddly flattered, and I gave him a big hug and said thank you. J must have noticed my reaction to his compliment because later when I was cooking dinner he randomly came up to me and said, "Mommy, your hair is the most beautiful. I really really really like it when you go to the hair place and you have it like that." "Gee, thanks again, sweetie," I said. Not five minutes later, he came up to me again and said, "Wow Mommy your hair is just so nice! It's just so beautiful and everything!" When I thanked him again, he actually said, "But you didn't hug me." Um, okay. So I hugged him again. Later, after dinner, J asked if we could go to Target and buy a Hot Wheels car. When I told him that it was time for bed and lectured that we can't go to Target and get a new car all the time, he said, totally apropos of nothing, "But I really like your hair!"
It's not just compliments. On Friday he ran into the house after school and pulled some kind of pipe cleaner, plastic bead, and glitter contraption out of his backpack, handed it to TH and said, "Daddy, I made this for you!" But when he noticed me watching from across the room he quickly snatched it from TH, came over and handed it to me and said, "Well, I made it for you, too Mommy, because you're soooooo pretty. Can I have some cookies?" I think this kid has a future in politics.
Practice makes perfect
8 years ago