Should You Need to Ask for What You Want?

"Ball!" Rory’s tennis ball ice cream has rolled away, under my feet.
"Ball! Bally!"
"Yep," I agree. "Bally."
Rory sighs. "Please can you get my ball?"
"Sure." I roll it back.

We repeat a variation on this about every other hour. She will sit in the public restroom, grunting "uumph! Uumph!" if she can’t reach the toilet paper. Ditto for too high paper towels. Struggle with an untied shoe dramatically.

But she won’t ask.

Usually, then, I just remind her–if you need help, ask for it! Nicely. This has always seemed like a good life lesson to me. I’m prone to this kind of thing myself. Why do you not notice I’m struggling with the door? Why not realize what I am carrying is too heavy? It’s good to learn to ask for help.

But it’s occurred to me lately that maybe Rory shouldn’t always have to ask for help from ME. Maybe I should show her that I know what she needs. That I’m there.

I’m making this all sound very bloodless, of course–but of course, cute as the girl saying "bally" is ( and you do know, right, that she is more than capable of asking for the ball?), the one slamming her backpack around on blatant frustration because the zipper won’t zip, and kicking the nearest sibling, and shrieking "don’t talk me!" at the others, is WAY less cute, and harder to help. It’s so easy to take this hard line "you have to ask" position then! Which is why I suspect I shouldn’t–because the path of least resistance is very similar to the path of good intentions.

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