Monday, September 21, 2015

Throw Away Your Own Fruit Snacks Wrapper

I know children are self-centered at their core and it is our role as parents to teach them to understand empathy.

I grasp this with my logical mind.

But, despite considering myself a rational adult, there are many moments day-to-day that leave me questioning my own sanity because these miniature human beings are so focused on what they want.

It really is good thing they’re cute.

1. “Can you hold this?”

Photo credit:
It never ceases to amaze me that my children can look at me holding two backpacks, two lunch boxes, a car seat, my purse, a blanket, three french hens, two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree, and still attempt to hand me an empty fruit snacks wrapper.

Child: “Mommy, can you hold this?”

Me (in disbelief): “What do you think?”

Child (smirking): “… yeah?”

It is in this moment that I look over at my sauntering, empty-handed preschooler and offer a death glare that ultimately misses its mark because she is already throwing said-fruit snacks wrapper on the ground.

Now we must address the issue of littering.

2. “It’s too much work.”

I doubt I’m alone in the fact that I have two school-aged children who are fantastic at following rules for their teachers and awful at following those exact same rules in my home. Cleaning up their toys is a prime example.

It really is a simple rule, right? The child gets something out to play with, so the same child should put that something away when he or she is finished. It is so simple in theory.

Instead of compliant children, however, I am met with (a pathetic, whiny version of), “It’s too much work.”

It is at this point I have to throw out a threat to either tell his or her teacher about this violation of rules (yes, that actually works) or make an empty threat of taking away all toys he or she doesn’t put away.

Let me clarify that the threat of taking away all toys is not an empty threat because I refuse to do it, it’s an empty threat because there are so many damn toys in the house, my kids don’t even miss the ones I take away.

I tested this theory once with my son. Instead of remembering why he had his toys taken away, he shrugged and moved on to something else. Parenting win.

3. “Do you want to hurt me?”

Asking rhetorical questions to a preschooler is never a good idea. They don’t get it. They try to actually answer the question, and the answer is typically one you do not want to hear.

My son is a typical boy who uses his body as a weapon of love. You know what I mean … instead of giving a nice, sweet hug, he chooses to bull rush unsuspecting parties with his head at crotch length. It’s a real treat.

On a number of occasions, he has “loved” me in this way and I have asked him, “Do you want to hurt me?”

He often stops, looking like a deer in headlights, and says, “… yes …”

I know the answer is that he doesn’t, in fact, want to hurt me, but the rhetoric is lost on him and I end up more frustrated than when I started.

Moving on.

4. “No, that’s mine!”

Having young children will magically regress you to a place of having tantrums. Now, you may be someone who has tantrums anyway. If that is the case, I’m not here to judge. Tantrum away.

What I’m talking about, though, is the day you find yourself arguing with your small child over the ownership of an iPad that undoubtedly belongs to you. Why? Because your small child believes everything in the universe belongs to him or her, of course.

Child: “Where’s my iPad?”

Me (in the tone of a pre-pubescent teen): “Um, that’s my iPad.”

Child: “No, it’s my iPad!”

Me: “Did you buy it?”

Child: “Yes.”

See, this is where they get you. You think you have your child cornered with this black-and-white question, but your child really believes they own said iPad.

Unfortunately, there are only three ways to get out of this, and none of them are great. You can grumble something inaudible and hand your child the iPad, attempt to get into a conversation about hard work and ownership of property and watch your child’s eyes glaze over, or say no out of spite and watch a small earthquake erupt in your living room.

Please choose one of these and report back your results. Of course, you’ll have to wait until you get your iPad back first.