Breezy, my six-year-old granddaughter, and I spent last Friday afternoon at Sky Zone. It’s a fun center for children of all ages, but caters to school-aged kids 6-16 or so. It has gymnastic type equipment, areas to dive into foam blocks, dodge ball games, and trampolines galore. Breezy says it’s “just like Monkey Joe’s only without the monkeys.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Monkey Joe’s is for little kids. If you’re 9, you’re getting a little too old for MJ’s. MJ’s has jumpy houses and slides and does a lot of birthday parties. They also require the parents and kids to wear bracelets. There is only one way in, and one way out. And there are not a lot of teenagers hanging around.
Breezy doesn’t see herself as a six-year-old whose the shortest one in her first grade class and who barely weighs 40 lbs. on a good day. I wasn’t wild about her being in Sky Zone. The safety issues were weighing on my mind on so many levels. She got lost once and I thought I was going to have to have the management do a “lock down.” But I found her playing dodge ball in the very back of the place; of course she was the tiniest one among the group. She had no idea she was little. She was playing with the best of them. She came over to me with her pink cheeks all a flush; ‘get me some water,” she panted….”oh, I mean a Sprite.”
After we’d been there an hour and a half I noticed her playing with another small girl and an older one, maybe 9 or 10. The younger one looked like the child I’d met in the school cafeteria, her neighbor with whom she rides the bus. Sure enough it was her and her sister. But, as soon as they got to playing good, a guy over the loud speaker said, “It is 5:55; it is time for those who are scheduled to leave at 6 pm to gather their belongings, blah, blah, blah.”
You pay to play by the hour at Sky Zone. Our two hours was up! Naturally Breezy asked if I would pay for more time, but I told her that I needed to get her to my house. Her dad was going to pick her up when he got off work.
She said, “I’m going to ask my mom if I can spend the night with Neighbor Girl (I have no idea what her name is!); if I use my ‘puppy dog eyes,’ she’ll probably let me.” Although I had a good notion, I asked anyway. I was just too curious. “What are ‘puppy dog eyes?'”
She walked right up next to my legs looked up into my face, put her hands under her chin, and created the absolute cutest face I’d ever seen with her huge brown eyes the main feature…..her ‘puppy dog eyes.’ I wanted to hug her and kiss her. But, I just backed off and said, “Yep, that ought to do it!”
I am simply amazed that a kid her age can know her own power of manipulating someone. And yet, knowing Breezy the way I do, there really isn’t a manipulative bone in her body. She is a pure, innocent, precious child. She has no idea that what she is doing is manipulation. Sure, she wants her way. No doubt. But, she’s just using her wiley ways of childhood cuteness to get it.
I’ll tell you another quick story of how I know what I’m saying is true. Not too long ago when we were in Target, she was loading up the cart with a whole bunch of stuff she wanted. I was getting frustrated because she was over-doing it. When she saw my face, she asked, “Gigi, are you mad at me?” I answered, “No, but I don’t think you have any idea how much all this you are asking for costs.”
“Put it all back!” she declared. And we did. We left the store with nothing. As we walked out the front door, she explained. “Gigi, it’s really the store’s fault. They know how much I like toys!”
And so, this precious little one doesn’t just use her wiley ways to get what she wants at all costs. She has boundries. She doesn’t want Gigi (or anyone) to be mad at her. She didn’t even try using her “puppy dog eyes” on me that day.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)