10-21-2013   2 comments

I’ve spent most of my adult life working with an odd assortment of people.  I was an investigator in the Army which required me to interrogate people who spoke little or no English through an interpreter.  A difficult task at best since many times the interpreter only knew enough English to get by.  Years later as a police officer I was introduced to a host of criminal types, drug users, child abusers, and perverts.  The first and most important thing during those interviews and interrogations required a reasonable knowledge of the  subjects motivations and state of mind.  For the most part it was an interesting and emotionally draining experience.

I had an excellent rate of success in my endeavors because I was able to develop a quick rapport with my subjects in a very short period of time.  This remained the case through more than ten thousand interviews conducted in the years just prior to my retirement.  I felt I had the ability to interrogate, interview, and understand anyone regardless of the situation.  I was flexible enough to adapt to their way of thinking, find the problem, and fix it with a minimum of effort. Was I over confident?  I didn’t think so at the time but I do now. 

I finally met my match recently when I was dropped into a situation that befuddled me.  I had little or no experience with young children and when my step-grandson was born my education in dealing with people took a strange turn.  He communicates with his world of adults during this first year without language.  He uses hand gestures and a collection of facial expressions to get his messages across which continue to puzzle most of us.  He’s within a month or two from actually speaking understandable words and he’s currently babbling a constant stream of unintelligible nonsense.  It appears to make some sort of sense to him but leaves us adults dazed and confused.

My best chance of understanding him will occur once he decides to start saying something I can understand.  I decided to do a little more research into the mind set of a very young person who has no apparent life experience to draw from. How tough can it be I asked?  Where do I start?  I found the following article while surfing the Net and as soon as I read it I knew it held the answers I’d been looking for.  A simple and brief list of how the mind of a very young child is motivated and feels about the things and people around them. The list is funny but without a doubt as close to the truth as I could find. See what you think.

1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all of the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks like mine, it’s mine.
8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it
    automatically becomes mine.
10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.

I’m going to post a copy of this list on my frig and read it as many times as necessary each and every time the little guy pisses me off or does something inappropriate.  This list explains everything in a way even I can understand.  Be patient, no screaming or yelling, and no punishing for things he doesn’t yet understand.  Just stand back and gently guide him in the direction we want him to go.  They’ll be plenty of time later for guidance and instructions once he can talk and reply.  Being able to speak and ask questions will make things  so much easier for us both (I hope).

Being the first born grandchild in a family is a nice place to find yourself.  I was the first born grandchild in my family and I milked it for all it was worth with my grandparents. I’m about to experience the whole thing again but from the opposite perspective. It should be interesting.

2 responses to “10-21-2013

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Yup, no match for babies/toddlers, and their alien language. I don’t know how I would deal with not understanding them…so frustrating!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: