Friday, August 31, 2012

7 quick takes

I can hear the babies stirring the dog water with spoons. I'm pretty sure they have put all the food from his bowl into the water. I could get up and freak out. On  the other hand, I can hear where they are. So if I freak out they will just go do something worse, probably.
Emily asked how we deal with whining and I've been wandering around the last two days thinking about what we do. Clearly, whatever we're doing works only part of the time or I wouldn't be using the word 'whine' as often as I do. It is like battling down the Assyrians. You may have them off your back for a few minutes but the second you think you can relax, there they are again.

So what are some things that have worked? It entirely depends on the child.
Elphine doesn't whine, much, so that's a great help.

So far Gladys doesn't whine either. She does have a high pitched mosquito voice but that's only because no one really listens to her. You can usually get her to stop screaming by pressing on her head and making her say it slowly. Usually she just wants to tell you that she needs another band-aid.
Romulus goes down at the end of his sentences, in a charmingly authoritative, though unacceptable way and so it doesn't sound like whining. When you tell him to stop, he nods his head and widens his eyes and stops, for a tiny minute.

So it really comes down to Alouicious, who is a preeminent whiner, and Marigold.
Marigold, for the moment, just has to be given a fried egg when she starts whining. She is usually too busy to eat and so when she starts to do this horrible dying cow moan, its time to fry an egg. In the last month she has whined less and been saying things like, 'I hungry egg' or, 'I thirsty water'. This has been an enormous help not only so that we don't loose our minds, but also in the matter of everybody else figuring out what a Helping Verb is.
Alouicious is like water dripping on a stone. My first response is usually, 'Stop whining. The Israelites whined in the wilderness and they all died. God hates whining. Stop it.' And then, because that doesn't stop it, I say something like, 'Stop. Lower your voice. Ask me again in a normal way.' And then, 'Here is what you sound like. WEeeeeeaahhhhhhh. Now try to sound like me.' And I lower my voice way down low and sing 'Old Man River'. And then we figured out that Alouicious is usually fine if he has some control over his life. So, so far in the last three weeks There Hasn't Been Any Whining Yet because I gave him his list on the first day and told him how much time he can have on his kindle and let it go. He reports to me obsessively even though I have very little interest in where he is on his agenda. Of course, he reports to me obsessively about everyone else as well, and that is not acceptable.

My other life long parenting strategy is to give as little information about what's coming next as possible. There is nothing worse than everyone thinking they're going to the library for a few hours and then have it not happen. So, we don't tell them Anything and then, when its time to go, do a drill sergeant routine to get them dressed and in the car as suddenly as possible. It takes ten minutes and there's no time for anyone to say, 'Where are we going? Why are we going? What are you going to get me? Can I have a muffin? I'm hungry. I need to go to the bathroom. I don't wannnaaaa go.' If you go from lolling about playing to suddenly scrambling to get in the car, there is no anxiety about the future and no time to get something out of your mother. I also rarely give warning that someone is coming over to play because that way, if someone gets sick or cancels, I don't have to hear about the horrible disappointment for the rest of the week.
Well, clearly, that should have been its own post. In possible later posts, How to Fail at Potty Training Every Single Time.
I have been longing to watch the Republican Convention but I honestly can't stay up for it. Why on earth does the main stuff have to start so late? I go to sleep at 9 o'clock! I did watch Ann Romney yesterday afternoon to see what all the hype was about and...well....really. I'm not married to Mitt Romney. In no way do I want to go home from any dance with him. And this little American Experiment, to me, does not even remotely resemble a dance. I'm not looking for a candidate who will make me feel 'safe' or who will be the hardest worker ever, or who will relate to me personally. What on earth with the 'relating personally' factor. Even Anderson Cooper's poor sad beautiful eyes as he tries to get his panel to figure out whether or not Romney is being 'personal' enough does not move me to care. To channel Mark Steyn, the modern world is coming to a fiscal end. Why isn't everyone running around the stage tearing their clothes, pouring ash on their heads and wailing with repentance and fear? That, I would stay up to watch.
If this is true, it would be amazing. I used to throw my malaria prophylactic into the building site at my boarding school, hoping to get sick to avoid school banquets. I got sick often but never missed one of those difficult and uncomfortable evenings. In fact, one year, I fell horribly ill on a Monday before but then was well enough the night of and was forced to go. Still, I was gorgeously thin. Well, maybe not 'gorgeous', maybe more gaunt.
I guess I better get up and feed the ravenous pack. There wasn't enough free bread at Shepherd's Bowl so I'll have to make pancakes instead of french toast. And we're out of syrup so they'll have to have jam or expensive golden syrup. And Romulus will cry because he would rather have 'Hot Cereal'. And I will get angry because what kind of horrible little kid would rather have Cream of Wheat from a box than real pancakes.
Yesterday I got up to find that Matt had not just given Alouicious a cup of coffee, but had given ALL THE CHILDREN COFFEE, including the baby.
"What" he said when I started crying, "they wanted to know what it tastes like."
"Well" he said, "Its mostly milk and sugar."
"Not with your new routine" he said, "You should have been up two hours ago."

Have a great weekend and go check out Jen!

1 comment:

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Thank you for the response on whining!

I discovered this week that Jonathan does quite well with a checklist too, and am now hopeful that the whining will subside (a little). For Thomas I think I'd better go straight to "the Israelites whined in the wilderness and they DIED". Surely the fear of the lord will bring him in line. ;)

Thank you for the particularly-you humor that makes me smile every time I read your blog.