Friday, January 3, 2014

Shakespearean Discipline

A few weeks ago, Jack noticed the spine of one of the largest books on our shelf. Shakespeare's Complete Works (that's what I'm calling it), which has moved from house to house, but has remained unread since high school. On the spine is a large picture of Shakespeare. Jack pondered who this man was, saying, "Who dat?" and pointing. I explained that the man was named Shakespeare and that he was a writer. He returned to the book multiple times to stare at the picture.

Fast forward a week, to a day when I'd had enough toddler disobedience, to a day when I blurted out, "Do I need to call Shakespeare?" The behavior immediately stopped. Christmas trees stopped shaking, cats were freed from choke holds, the 500-piece wolf puzzle stopped raining down from the sky.

Calm was restored and the toddler was listening, all thanks to the one and only Shakespeare. I used the Shakespeare threat liberally over the next few days. Won't take your nap? That's a Shakespeare call. Don't want to change your diaper? Shakespeare told me he was on his way over.

The threat is slowly losing its force. Maybe because Shakespeare hasn't actually shown up. We've considered costume rental.  Now when I say I'm going to call Shakespeare, Jack says, "Call him." That's okay, nothing lasts forever, but for one brief shining moment I was, and Shakespere was, in control.

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