If the house was still when the little girl awoke, she would tiptoe all the way to the kitchen and ease a spoon out of the drawer. Ever so quietly, she slid a chair across the floor and scrambled up to the counter.
The sugar bowl was there.
A blissful smile would appear on her face. She closed her eyes and removed the spoon from her mouth to wait, as the sugar dissolved into gooey deliciousness.
One morning, she opened her eyes to find her mother standing before her. She had a very serious expression on her face. She explained that even though it tasted very sweet, eating lots of sugar wasn't good for us. It could cause a sickness that you would never recover from. She paused for a second and added, "You could even kick the bucket."
The little girl stopped her early morning ritual because she trusted her mother to know what was best for her. Being sick was no fun and she could not fathom how horrible it would be to never get well. But, she formed an image of herself walking along kicking a bucket. She wondered how eating sugar could make her do that and how it could be even worse than being sick forever.
The little girl was me. The hand above is Chloe's. I hope I don't regret asking her to pose for me, but she was the perfect model. She's made more than one trip to the sugar bowl, herself.
Her technique differs. She bides her time until I am occupied and, then, goes for it!
I've never used the kick the bucket line, but I do tell her and her sister that too much sugar is not a good thing. They are still having trouble comprehending how that could be possible because of the deliciousness. I will do my parenting job and try and monitor their intake. Not always an easy task, because their Uncle Randy is often a co-conspirator in their quest for yumminess. That's, probably, a topic for another post. 😉
But I digress.
My mom was talking about sugar diabetes. In the 1960's, it was widely thought that eating too much sugar would cause it. We know differently now.
Of course, feasting from the sugar bowl should still be frowned upon. But, that isn't the point of this post. It was the mental image from the phrase kick the bucket that I was going for. My sweet, loving mother paused because she was wrestling with something that would be terrifying for a child and could grow out of proportion.
The thought that I might die. She just couldn't bring herself to say the words. Hence, the phrase "kick the bucket." Children see things literally. I believe concrete thinking is the official term.
GoodTherapy.org explains it well:
Development of Concrete Thinking: Concrete thinking is the first form of thinking children master. Very young babies think extremely concretely, and most research indicates that they cannot conceive of an object as existing if it is not physically present. As development continues, children develop object permanence–the ability to think about things that are not present–but still struggle with abstract thoughts. The development of abstract thinking is a gradual one, with children first understanding abstract concepts such as emotion and then being able to understand more challenging abstract ideas such as theoretical math, metaphors, and philosophical concepts.
We need to remember that children live in the here and now. They can't help but take things literally, even though, we may not mean it that way. Not only can we confuse little minds with cryptic phrases, but all of our words are forming their self-image in these early developmental years.
We don't want to create little "I can do no wrongs," because that will be a rough lesson learned out there in the big, wide world. But, we sure don't want the other extreme either!
Not long ago, I heard the words, "What is wrong with you?" come out of my mouth. And no one was sick or hurt! I don't even remember what the final offense was that pushed me to the brink. But I, immediately, checked myself and said, "Nothing. Nothing is wrong with you. You are acting naughty and Aunt Charelle got grumpy and said mean words." I, also, apologized.
I hope explaining that I shouldn't have said that and apologizing erased the immediate thought that might have popped in that little mind. "There must be something wrong with me." Actually, I have done more than hope. I pray. Not only that those words don't take root, but that I don't sow any more bad seed.
Will I mess up again? I'll take a guess and say, "Yes!" But, when I realize it, I will put the blame back on me where it belongs.
So, in the end, maybe I can turn this into a lesson for you learned by my example in taking responsibility for your actions. But, maybe this is supposed to be a reminder lesson for me to think before I speak and you just got to see me work my way through it!
Either way, it's all good.
That's me. Always looking for the bright side.
There always is one.
And I mean that, literally!
See you next time!
Love,C Sugarcube Photo: Courtesy www.freedigitalphoto.net