Local Heart, Global Soul

April 23, 2013

Messing With Kids Minds: Sometimes …It’s just Too Easy.

As compensation for all those hours of lost sleep,  stinky nappies, sick  blurked up on your shoulders and embarrassing public tantrums, parents sometimes get payback in the form of their kids getting completely sucked in to becoming the butt of  our practical jokes. (We have kids for their entertainment value, right?)

Last weekend we headed out to my best friend’s house for dinner and sat enjoying a fabulous dinner, great company and more sunshine than has been around for a while.

Kiwi Daughter and I are allergic to animal fur so can’t have pets at home, but short stints with other people’s pets are mostly ok(-ish) so are a nice treat, especially for the kids, so they were busy playing with the three cats and two dogs, and admiring the guinea-pigs and the fish. Very relaxed.

The temperature wasn’t exceedingly warm and it was a fraction chilly in the wind, but the sun was shining brightly and sitting indoors in the sun was actually very pleasant. My friend also has a garden, which we lack, so the kids also took the opportunity to play in the garden and generally burn off a bit of energy.  She has a swing seat that backs onto the main living room window and a large awning above it that is operated with a remote control.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Forget thinking of a remote the size of the one your TV uses, this remote control is tiny and fits into the palm of your hand.  Therein lays the seed of our evil deed. It started whilst Little Mr. was playing outside. The sun had dipped low enough to be in our eyes and our friend went to lower the awning blind to make sitting more comfortable.

She was sitting at a 90 degree to the window and had the awning remote in the palm of her hand, when she pushed the button it wasn’t at all obvious she was doing anything so Kiwi Daughter startled at the sudden movement of the large blind, apparently moving on it’s own.

Laughter followed as Kiwi Daughter took a minute  to work out how the awning was moving… and just as she had worked it out, Little Mr. came charging in from outside, pointing to the moving awning and saying in Dutch “hey look at that, how does that move?!!!”

My friend was wearing a hoodie type sweatshirt that had two joining front pockets and her hands were now in these pockets, with said remote control  in the hand facing the window. With a straight face she looked at him and said “Well, I concentrate very hard and when I blink, I can make it go up, and if I nod my head it stops and if I blink both eyes it does down“.  As she spoke and completed these actions, she used the hidden remote control to make the awning blind do the appreciate action.

Little Mr. looked at her in disbelief but with no other visible action coming from her,  he couldn’t work out how she was really doing it. The next five minutes were spent with her making the blind raise, stop or lower “with her special concentration skills”. Try as he might, poor Little Mr. could not find any other explanation.   Kiwi Daughter, Himself and I were almost rolling around in tears by now, and Little Mr. was seriously suspicious (but not at all sure of what) so we switched attention to Kiwi Daughter by telling him that this special concentration skill could most certainly be learned, in fact Kiwi Daughter had mastered it just before he walked in.

Staying as composed as she possibly could, Kiwi Daughter then proceeded to “raise, stop and lower” the awning blind with her “new found concentration skills” (with my friend naturally doing the necessary with the remote control). Little Mr. appeared to suspend belief… he could sort of smell a rat with the adults …but his sister…? No, this had to surely be for real.

Then the ultimate test… we asked it he  could concentrate hard enough to make the awning blind move too… he looked doubtful. We said “Well your sister learned how…”  He screwed up his face in deep concentration and then blinked one eye so hard that his head nodded sharply. The blind moved and he looked completely  and utterly shocked.

Therein began a pantomime of exaggerated actions: head nodding, blinking and winking, coupled with a look of sheer wonder and amazement as the awning blind moved accordingly.  I got a photograph (for the family album) and the look on his face is priceless. He even dashed outside to try out his “skills” from outside as well as inside. Lo and behold the awning retracted as wished.

Whilst he was outside my friend, Kiwi Daughter, Himself and I exploded into mirth.  We made preparations to come home since it was getting late.  Little Mr. is still none the wiser … Kiwi Daughter is delighted to be “in” on the secret.  This prank is good for at least a few more goes methinks. Aww the innocence, trust and gullibility of the young. I should feel guilty but it’s way too funny… and seriously, all too easy!

3 Comments »

  1. My daughter encountered doors with sensors, the ones that open when you are a couple of feet from them, for the first time when she was three. It was “Open Sesame”, “Close Sesame” (from Alibaba) in and out, in and out, when I was dealing with the paperwork at the hotel Reception, and the doorman came complaining!

    Comment by drshyamalavatsa — April 26, 2013 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

    • Priceless!!!
      Ok, if it was winter and the heating was in on full blast inside, it would have been a completely different story…then bad luck kiddo, no playing with it today.
      Adults need to balance the wonder of a new experience for a child with their responsibility to make sure said child isn’t disturbing other people, messing with a business or other peoples property… context is everything!!!
      Unless it was really cold outside and they were loosing heat (making other guests in Reception uncomfortable etc), or obstructing other guests entering or departing, I think the doorman should have just lightened up and let her have 5 minutes of fun and wonder, Then, after maybe 5 minutes he could have politely explained to her that the doors aren’t really meant to be played with and that the boss would come and tell her off it she didn’t stop. Fun would have been had but not in too an obnoxious way.

      Comment by kiwidutch — April 26, 2013 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

      • This was at Singapore, where everybody behaves the way they are supposed to 🙂 And the doorman was quite polite. . . My brother-in-law who lives in S’pore marvels at how “kids don’t cry and dogs don’t bark” over there :), so the doorman might’ve been ‘shocked’ by this foreign kid!

        Comment by drshyamalavatsa — April 28, 2013 @ 11:03 am | Reply


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