Sometimes, you’ve got to unleash Operation Scuba Steve.
For those of you who are wondering what in the world I am talking about, Scuba Steve was a fictional action hero in the movie Big Daddy. He is the favorite toy of the young man who, in the movie, suddenly becomes left in Adam Sandler’s character’s charge. When the youngster is refusing to take a bath, Adam Sandler comes to the door in a scuba costume and tells the kid he’s Scuba Sam, Scuba Steve’s dad. The 5-year-old is wide-eyed and listens intently as he instructs him that he needs to take a bath, etc. Mission accomplished.
My son has never seen this movie, and I am fairly sure he's never seen this scene, which makes me all the more proud that he initiated a similar tactic while watching two youngsters recently.
My son is 16, and he is great with kids. He loves to teach them things such as fishing and throwing a cast net, and he’s super patient when playing games or sports with them. We have some friends with a 4- and 6-year-old, and Parker will often visit them to spend time with them to provide a little distraction action for the boys.
Recently, he was at their house around lunchtime. I got a text from my son. It read: “Pretend to be Aquaman when I call you please.”
I was busy cleaning my garage at the time, but I knew anytime you are called on to be Aquaman, garage cleaning could wait.
A few short moments later, the phone rang. Channeling my deepest superhero voice, I answered and said, “Hello, this is Aquaman. Do you have an aquamergency?”
My son was on the other end. I could tell he was on speaker phone. He said, “Yes, Aquaman, Jude doesn’t want to eat his lunch, and I was wondering if you eat your lunch every day.”
Well played, son.
I responded. “Why, lunch is one of my most important meals! Please tell Jude that not only should he eat his lunch, I make my personal Aquaman policy that without eating my whole lunch, no swimming, fishing or pool time. That’s how superheroes do it. And I’m sure Jude hopes to be a superhero someday.”
My son said, “Thank you, Aquaman. Have a great day.” And he hung up.
A few minutes later, I got a text. “Thank you so much! It worked!”
I know there is a small window where this type of subterfuge will work. But having had kids that age, I am fully in favor of anything that can get a child’s attention and get them to do the right thing. I know there are plenty of folks who believe you should never utilize this kind of trick to get a child to eat or do something and that it is just lying. Fine. You be you. Go try and have an earnest, logical debate on the merits of a 4-year-old eating all of his lunch. And I wish you the best of luck with getting a 4-year-old to stop and say, “You know, when you put it that way, you do have a point. Pass the peanut butter and jelly, please.”
The rest of us will let superheroes save the day.