Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Oh, Please No!

Across the street there used to live a family of whiners: Mommy whined at Daddy and at the children, Little Toddler Man whined at everyone in his family (though apart from them, he is the sunniest little dude); Princess 6 year old alternatively whined and flounced belligerantly (she's uniformly awful, no matter who's with her); Dad issued ultimatums which were routinely ignored. Ick. Then, praise be, a For Sale sign appeared on their lawn! The SOLD sign followed within two weeks. The new neighbours arrived late last week. They have two blond boys, about 2 and 4 years old, who match blond mummy. Dad I've not yet set eyes on. That is all I know yet about this family. But just now, during naptime, I hear a child crying. Thinking it's the one in the front room upstairs, I hasten to the bottom of the stairs. Not my tot; the sound is coming from outside. It is little blond 2-year-old across the street. He's standing beside the open side door of their van. Seems he doesn't want to get into his carseat. All right. Two-year-olds will do this. So what mom needs to do, right, is bundle him into the seat, whether he likes it or not, SHUT THE DAMNED DOOR, and drive his noise away. Right? Right?!? No. She leans in and starts discussing matters with him. He roars louder. I hear a stirring upstairs. If they wake my sleeping 2-year-old, I will be seriously annoyed. She retreats. His roaring lessens somewhat. She - what is she doing?? - she walks back into the house, leaving angry toddler by the van! She closes the front door. His roaring increases. Then - surprise! - he follows her, still raging, to their front step. Screams at the door. She opens it. They "discuss" some more. They go back to the car. He - glory be! - climbs in. Before my sigh of relief is fully breathed, he changes his mind and climbs out. AND SHE LETS HIM! (I go cold when I notice that he seems to be wearing some kind of a uniform. They don't dress their toddler in a white shirt with a collar and a sweater vest normally, do they? Do pre-schools have uniforms?? Please, please don't let this be something that is connected with pre-school, and will happen every day at this time.) And during this whole pointless episode, she is murmuring to him, and he is roaring, full volume at her, "I DON'T WANT TO!" being the gist of it. They continue this way for another four or five minutes, until finally, finally, she gets his seat buckled and closes the door on his noise, and leaves. To my relief, all my children remain peacefully sleeping. Oh, how I hope this is a one-time deviant behaviour for the kid. A bad day at the end of a difficult week. Please, please, please...


Blogger Heather said...

Ah, the negotiator. Funny how you just mentioned this. I can proudly boast that I know when this is appropriate, and when I need to be a dictator. And the nerve of almost ruining the nap! Oh, I have been there...it ain't pretty!

I have a feeling that you may see the negotiator again in action.

9/07/2005 08:03:00 a.m.  
Blogger Anon said...

Let us know when she finds out that you provide professional child care, and promptly asks about your "short notice babysitting service" ;-)

9/07/2005 08:20:00 a.m.  
Blogger Candace said...

Yeah, no, this wasn't a one-time thing, I GUARANTEE it.

I have a friend who lets her nearly four-year-old negotiate ALL THE TIME, and she wonders why life is so difficult.

9/07/2005 09:30:00 a.m.  
Blogger Simon Peter said...

Hmmmm, what is this negotiation that you speak of? ;-) We don't have a lot of that around here. We have a lot of Thus Sayeth Daddy; that works pretty well, I find.

I couldn't even begin to count how many screaming episodes that I've ignored; mostly during the early years. Eventually, they learn that daddy sticks by his decisions and pronouncements and that there is no court of appeal!

9/07/2005 09:44:00 a.m.  
Blogger Anon said...

simon p: Couldn't agree more, my wife and I always put on a united front in front of the kids. Even if we disagree with each other (which is never discussed in front of the kids).

My usual line is "I wasn't asking!"


9/07/2005 09:51:00 a.m.  
Anonymous MIM said...

I always give Tod-lar choices. Often that choice is "do it yourself or I will do it for you." Either way, he would have been in that car by the time I counted to 5!

9/07/2005 10:43:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Heather: A "negotiator". I fear you're right; I'm hoping you're not. Time will tell. I, too, know when and when not to negotiate. This would have been time for a parent to pull rank.

Si: Thankfully, I've never done short-term care, and so can refuse on that basis! Though I have little doubt he'd behave his defiant self with me, once he'd learned the boundaries. And your line is a variant of one of mine. The child says "I don't want to!", and I reply, "Good thing I wasn't asking, then."

Misfit: If you're trying to raise a mini-lawyer, always arguing abstruse points of law, it may not be a bad way to go. For most of us, though, that's simply maddening, and such a waste of time all round!

Simon: Say what you mean and mean what you say. Straightforward enough. Parental corollary: Don't say "no" reflexively, but when you do say it, make it stick.

mim: I use that one, too! "Please do 'x'."
"Please do x by the time I get to five, or I'll help you do it."

It gets done. Promptly. There aren't so many hours in my day that I'm willing to waste them like that, filling them with needless acrimony and wearying conflict. Get it done, and get on with enjoying being together!

9/07/2005 11:16:00 a.m.  
Blogger Your Brother said...

My most sincere sympathy.

Might I recomend you purchase a nice set of eardefenders (for each member of the Family)

9/07/2005 12:07:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Good thing I saved my set that we used for the last family over there...

9/07/2005 12:31:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Si: Hey! You've gotten contacts! Nice...

9/07/2005 12:33:00 p.m.  
Blogger Your Brother said...

How do you know when to put the cap on negotiating?

ps. Mary "Your Brother" Is YOUR Brother.

9/07/2005 01:04:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

For something like this - "Get into the car, it's time to go to preschool" - there IS no negotiating. "If we don't go now, we'll be late, and you must sit in your carseat, it's the law." Thus endeth the discussion. (Though were it me in that position, my reasons for non-negotiating would also include, "And screaming in the street is ill-bred, rude and inconsiderate.")

9/07/2005 01:13:00 p.m.  
Blogger McSwain said...

But is it one-time deviant behavior for Mom?? I somehow doubt that.

9/07/2005 01:19:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Cheryl: I fear you're right, but this is not making me feel any better!! Maybe we'll be buying the new windows for the front of the house a couple of years sooner than planned...

9/07/2005 01:58:00 p.m.  
Blogger Your Brother said...

No real polite way to say "your child is tooooo loud, and its your fault" without alienating the neighbours huh?

9/07/2005 03:30:00 p.m.  

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