Little guys on my shoulder

This is Captain Haddock, one of the characters in Tintin, which Bright Eyes enjoys reading and watching (we have the box set of the DVDs). Poor Haddock struggles with alcoholism and is often portrayed as struggling between his desire for a glass of whiskey and his knowledge that if he has too much (which of course he will) he will probably wreck everything and land himself and Tintin into even greater trouble.

Sometimes the struggle is portrayed with a little red demon standing on Haddock's shoulder tempting him to have a sip and a little white angel standing on the other shoulder advocating wisdom and restraint. I have to say that usually the little red guy wins, but that probably just makes it a better story, right? 

Today Bright Eyes was given a choice: either come with Mum in the car to pick up something or go with Dad and the other kids to the pool for a swim. You'd think it would be a no-brainer. He loves to swim - normally. But right at the moment, he is taking a stand against the school swimming carnival which is coming up this week. He's Refusing To Go and making a lot of noise about it. (I'm going to let him stay home, but I have a few school books and I'm going to make him work like he's never worked before! We'll see how much of an option that remains... ) I think he thinks that if he goes to the pool and has fun swimming, we might just make him go to the carnival, so he's avoiding it at all costs.

Anyway, it became difficult. He didn't want to go to the pool, and he didn't want to go in the car. 

"I Refuse To Go," he declared and went stiff and obnoxious. "I'm not doing either thing." This went on for about five minutes.

My husband said "Bribe, bribe, bribe," so I walked in and said very casually, "Hmmm, I'm actually thinking I might like to get an icecream myself, when we go. Maybe. Maybe not."

His ears pricked up. "Peppermint choc chip?" he asked.

"Oh, I suppose you could, if you'd like," I said, trying to act surprised. Like a lamb he got up off his chair and walked out of the lounge room. As we were heading out the door he said to me, "Sometimes it's like I have a little red guy on one shoulder and a little white guy on the other shoulder and they're arguing."

"Oh?" I said. "What do they say?"

"One wants to go and the other one doesnt' want to," he said.

"What are they saying right now?" I asked.

"'Hee hee, we're going, yay' and 'I don't want to go', both at the same time," he said.

I was amazed. Perhaps we might be able to work this angle and find ways to help him let the white guy, the voice of reason, win over the angry little red guy.