As a caretaker of natives, one must pick and choose their battles wisely. For me, the battle picked itself when the young native watched as I tidied up the entire jungle and then with a sinister smile showered Legos and other building blocks over the entire section of the jungle where I conduct my journal entries. I mustered my best composed façade and informed the little dear that it was his job and his alone to pick up these blocks. I did not particularly care that he wanted to go in the other room to watch the television to see a young woman perform surgery on a stuffed animal; if he didn’t pick them up he was not leaving the room.
I walked tall out of the room full of confidence and patting myself on the back for my excellent caretaker skills and decisions… And as with most self-celebrations of my parenting excellence in the jungle, this too would be short lived.
Morning quickly turned to afternoon and the young native had stilled not picked up his toys. I tried to entice him with a treat from the local market where we would shop later that day to no avail. As afternoon turned to evening I dangled the opportunity to view a motion picture prior to slumber to peak his interest…no dice. Finally I proclaimed that no stories would be read no songs sung prior to bedtime if the blocks were not properly returned to their rightful place, to which he informed me that he could sing his own songs and probably better than me.
As the dawn emerged on day two I felt surely today was the day, the native would have a change of attitude and further he would someday appreciate me and the lessons I had passed onto him; (these are amongst the other little lies a caretaker tells oneself to make it through the day as we are not allowed to consume wine while “on the job”.) After numerous baits were cast of smoothies, breakfast pastries, and possible outings I felt I was time to take a new approach. I informed the native that if he did not pick up the toys right then he would be attending a long “timeout” in his cave. He proclaimed that, that sounded a whole lot better because I was driving him crazy, then marched himself to his sleeping chambers and shut the door.
Though I am not ready to admit defeat, I fear I was not prepared for the level of the sheer persevering will that this young native appears to possess. Perhaps I shall put myself on a brief timeout in my cave for reflection on the situation.