My nephew Fred is totally mad about tractors. At two years of age he would happily flick through ”The Farmers Journal” newspaper, pointing at pictures of farm machinery and saying “chack-ker”, in the same blissfully happy tone that Homer Simpson talks of donuts or beer!
Last year one of my sisters got married and Fred, as her godson, was to be page-boy for the wedding. At that stage Fred was three and half years old and still mad about tractors. He was then, and still is, a very strong-willed little fella and it is virtually impossible to make him do something he doesn’t want to. So his mother was a bit worried that the whole page-boy thing could go pear-shaped on the wedding day.
At the fitting for his page-boy suit, Fred reluctantly tried on the trousers. But he swiftly called a halt when they produced a waistcoat and jacket too. Like many men, Fred is no fan of fancy clothes. He just looked at the suit and cried ”NO! NO! NO!”. Fred’s mother knew if they insisted on him trying on the suit at that time then he would just turn against it completely. So she took the suit and said that Fred would wear it for the wedding, though she had no idea how she was going to get him to do that.
A couple of days before the wedding, and after a lot of thought, my brother came up with the idea of printing out the logo of Fred’s favourite tractor, a New Holland, and sticking it inside the jacket of Fred’s suit. We did that and decided to tell Fred he would be wearing a New Holland suit for the wedding.
On the morning of the wedding, the “New Holland Suit” was produced and poor Fred nearly collapsed with the excitement. His own New Holland suit! He couldn’t wait to try it on and then he pranced around happily for all of us, showing off the whole ensemble, waistcoat, cravat, jacket and logo included. At the church he proudly flashed the New Holland logo for all to see and had no problem walking down the aisle because he knew all these people were admiring his suit!
When the wedding was finally over, Fred cried when it was time to take off his special suit. It was only the promise of getting back into his tractor t-shirt that finally won him over.
So there you have it. To get an unhappy 3 year old to do what you want, you need to use yours, or somebody else’s imagination and think outside the box.