The Power of Winking

Apr 21 2011

Sometimes my kids call Leanne “Mom.”

Sometimes my kids call me “Leanne.”

Then again, sometimes my 11-year-old son calls me “STOP IT, MOM!  Just STOP it!” when I ask him to empty the dishwasher.  And then I’m torn.  Hug the child with expressive language disorder for putting together a complete, enunciated sentence, or send him to his room.

The room, ladies and gentlemen.

The room wins.  But, honestly, the room wins because I’m afraid that if I point out the speech success, Ian will freeze up, and it’ll stop.

Anyway, back to Leanne.  I love that my kids love her, and I’m happy to share the Mom title.  It takes a village, and Leanne lives in mine.

She watches my kids when I work my part-time job.  Or, as I like to call it, when-I-get-to-have-a-parenting-break time.  Or when-I-don’t-have-to-clean-up-spilled-juice time.  Or when-no-one-puts-any-body-parts-up-my-shirt time.  Or when-I-can-go-potty-all-by-myself time.

Anyway, back to Leanne.

Leanne runs a daycare out of her home, and she takes classes to improve her business.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book on raising children.  Do like-minded blogs count when they serve to bolster my already well-honed thoughts on how to raise kids?  No?  Well, then.

Aaaand back to Leanne.

I can focus.  Really.

Leanne wrote to me this week.  I thought you might be interested in taking a gander at my personal e-mail correspondence.  Because, like everything else in my life, it’s serious, poignant, and thought-provoking.

From Leanne to me:

I’m reading another child care course and just had to share.

If you see me winking a lot, it’s not a nervous tic.

It’s because this course has told me 437 times in 122 pages that I should wink at children to make them feel good about themselves.

I’m sorry.  I really love your children, but I don’t think I can start winking at them.

I will if you make me, but really??

What a timely message!

Why, this very week, in response to the Why Do You Read This Blog? survey question, my friend Webb answered Because you winked at me on Match.com pretending to be my future wife.”

As you know, it’s true.  I did.  I went on Match disguised as my friend and winked at all the boys I liked.  It was fun!  Then they got married.  I am SUCH a good winker!

And so I got to thinking about the power of a good wink.

And then I got to thinking about how sorely Leanne is mistaken.

And then I got to thinking about how it’s my job to lovingly correct her.

After all, if our friends won’t boss us, there will be a great, big, empty chasm of non-bossiness.

And then people will be free to live their lives without the fear of being judged by others.

And then our world will fall into anarchy and chaos.

And, since no one wants a world full of anarchy and chaos, I felt compelled to write this letter to Leanne:

Dear Leanne,

I’ve felt for quite some time that my children have been missing out on being recipients of winking at your house.  I didn’t know how to bring it up, but this gives me the perfect opportunity.

I realize that your parents may not have winked at you when you were a child.  That means you may not feel the winking void.

Nevertheless, I think it’s important that you seriously consider the impact on winking on a child’s behavior.

For example, and as you know, Aden was hitting, biting, and kicking other students two weeks ago at school.  Her principal was in constant contact.  There was a threat of suspension.

Also, Aden’s room smelled like butt.

And also also, Aden didn’t want to stop playing with her little brothers to go potty, so she urinated all over her top bunk mattress.  Several times.

In addition to consequences at school, Aden had consequences at home. She missed more than a week of screen time.  I may have planned two separate family movie nights during that time, just to make a point.  Aden also cleaned her room, bathed daily, and went through a gallon of Febreeze to eliminate myriad bedroom odors.  I know, I know; I’m the meanest mom ever.

(And let me take this break right here, dear reader, to tell you that this entire example is true.  Oh, yes.  I drew on real life for this letter.  Try not to be jealous.  This is a lifestyle blog, meaning you want this lifestyle.  Right?  Don’t ya?  But, back to Leanne…)

But then I remembered.  We’ve just been so darn busy, we forgot to wink.  The poor kid has been reacting out of a winkless environment.

We started winking, and all of Aden’s problems were magically fixed.  The power of positive winking can’t be underestimated.

I do hope you’ll consider my compelling evidence for winking.

In friendship,

Beth

In return, Leanne sent me this:

Dear Beth,

I was never winked at by my parents, it’s true.

It’s really hard to know if you have any worth as a human being when you live in a winkless environment, but I never would have realized that this was the root of all my problems if it weren’t for the Harvard-educated author of my course on understanding children.

I’m currently searching for a seminar, Winking is Winning, and hoping it will be in our area soon so I can apply this child-rearing technique posthaste.  I’m not sure I can do it correctly without professional instruction.

I’ve heard the practice sessions are grueling.

I saw a TMZ episode where a woman had to be taken out on a stretcher from one of their seminars because she was skipping ahead to advanced material on Alternating Eye.  Sadly, I will never be able to achieve Alternating Eye Winking as I have only ever been able to master the left.

But while the task seems daunting, I feel like I have to risk the failure if it means the children in my care could grow up to spread winking far and wide.  One day they may bring peace and prosperity to Earth.

Future generations might have ginormous, protruding brows from their overdeveloped winking muscles, but that is a small price to pay in humanity’s evolution.

Leanne

I hope this is a lesson to all of you.

Next time you feel the bossiness urge, by all means, follow your instincts!

And if you feel a wink comin’ on, wink on, friends.

You could change a life.  Wink on.