We have a Shih-Tzu Terrier. Her name is Dagny. We walk her three times a day because she won’t poop in our back yard. She has to be walked in order to poop.
So, when Rory is home, she sometimes likes to go with. As you may know, walking with a 3-year-old is always an adventure. It takes about five times as long because we have to make a number of stops along the way to pick flowers, squat down and look at bugs, and collect rocks and sticks (and yes, I always end up carrying them).
Right now, I’m trying to get her to cross the street quickly. Our neighborhood is quiet, but I want to get her in the good habit of looking both ways and hurrying across instead of just hanging out in the middle of the street, spacing out.
In typical dad fashion, I tried the direct approach first. “C’mon, Rory! Let’s go!” Or even a more subtle, “Let’s go, kiddo.”
We’re at the stage where her little ego is setting up camp. Any kind of rule/regulation is met with defiance and the complete opposite of the command.
So, I’ve learned to gamify it. Now, we stop, look both ways, and ‘race’ across. Yes, I let her win. Because I’m a softy like that (for now). She’d get so stoked on winning. She’d raise her hands like Rocky and let out a victory cry.
But then, after a few races, she did the cutest damn thing…
She crossed the other side of the street first with me a couple steps behind. I consciously gave off the appearance of defeat and was awaiting another victory cry. But her bright blue eyes scanned mine and detected sadness (I’m a really good actor). Instead of shouting, “Yaaay!” like usual, she proclaimed what I now call the ‘Princess Rule’ (because she was wearing a princess dress at the time).
“We both win!”
My heart melted. We both win. Yes.
I took her hand and we both did a huge victory shout. “Yaaaay! We both win!”
On that day, this little girl stepped into non-duality and grace. Instead of teaching her some bullshit adult lesson of, ‘there’s always a winner and a loser’, I embraced it.
“Yep. You’re right, kiddo. We both win. Isn’t it more fun this way?”
Princess Rules. Maybe we need more of these for a happier existence.