Being Nicholas


Here are some exerpts from a book my son is writing, called How to be an Effective Nicholas. Nicky is generally in one of two moods — Joking and Upset, which the book describes as follows:

Joking Mood

When you’re in a joking mood, everything is funny. Mommy or daddy (or Ryan) saying “No” is funny. Squealing at the top of your lungs or punching your brother (or anyone else) is funny. Getting told not to squeal or hit people is funny. Inventing a meaningless word and then immediately asking what that word means is funny. Sitting or standing in the same place for longer than 3 seconds is not funny, so don’t do it. When someone asks you a question, it’s funny not to answer, or if you do, it’s funny to give a meaningless answer or one that isn’t true — here’s an example:

Daddy: “Nicky, what do you want for a snack?”
Nicky: “Grapes”
Daddy, approximately 15 seconds later: “Here are your grapes”
Nicky: (yelling,crying) “I didn’t want grapes!”

Note the immediate switchover to the upset mood. Also, having something taken away (“No, you can’t watch Scooby Doo because you’ve been hitting Ryan”), or being given something that you didn’t want (even if nobody knew that you didn’t want it) instantly switches to the upset mood. This is particularly important for critical decisions like what colour of straw to drink your apple juice with, or whether to put your shirt or shorts on first when getting dressed.

Upset Mood

When you’re upset, you can either ignore questions or simply answer “I don’t know” — make sure you don’t move your lips when you say anything, so that your voice is unintelligible. You must always pout and hang your head as low as possible (should you be sitting at the table, make sure your head actually hits the table, and ignore any pain). If standing up, you should immediately sit down, lie down, or walk dejectedly out of the room. Crying is not required, but encouraged. If your brother is nearby, hit him, even if he had nothing to do with the reason for your upset-ness. Nothing is funny, unless you’re being physically tickled (as an attempt to get you out of the upset mood) — in that case, you may laugh during the tickling, but the pouting must return upon cessation of said tickling.

Of course, every now and again, Nicky is looking at a book or playing with a toy and is having fun without jumping around and squealing, so there do exist other moods; we just don’t see them often.

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