Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Colloquialisms and Toddlers Don't Mix

Yesterday evening, before the dreaded bedtime ritual of screaming, crying, peeing of the pants, objects moving at high velocity at my head, more crying, threatenings from a harried parent, wrestling matches involving pajamas and flailing limbs, bare bottomed escaping pre-toddlers and, yes, crying, Audrey thought it would be funny to open and slam her bedroom door repeatedly in the face of her brother, who looked over his shoulder at me in utter bewilderment.

"Audrey stop it."


"Audrey-!" *SLAM!"

"Grrr! Audrey Renae, knock" *SLAM* "it off!"

*Stomp, stomp, stomp!*

I wrenched the door open to find my little girl chortling as she ran to her bed. I followed her and got down on my knees to talk to her.

"Audrey, I don't want you to slam the door like that. Henry can't get in when the door is closed, he's too little."


"Audrey," warning tone, "I asked you not to slam the door."

Audrey tries, mostly, to catch my serious tone and stops laughing.

Here is where I went wrong: "Please don't slam the door, it's not funny."

I watched the smile spread across my little girl's face and she dared a little giggle.

"Audrey it's not funny. You need to listen when I tell you things."


"Audrey, wipe that smile off your face!"

Audrey obediently bows her head, raises her hand and slowly wipes her mouth.

At that point I nearly lost it. Struggling not to laugh, I must have looked like I swallowed a lemon dipped in tabasco sauce;
my face beet red, my mouth puckered and twisted to one side. After a moment, Audrey looked up and, seeing my expression, started laughing. I don't know if she was laughing because she knew she had me, or if my face looked that ridiculous.

Probably both.


Jam In Stew said...

Man, I would have LOVED to have seen that one.

Trillium said...

In some child psychology book, I read that the child doesn't really hear or understand the words "not" and "if." For example, when you say "IF you do that again..," they hear only "do that again." When you say "don't do that..," they hear "do that." Learning to understand "if...then" logic is difficult for them. Putting a positive spin on a negative direction is too complicated for them.

There's a similar psychology at work in our own minds:--if you tell yourself "don't forget to..." your subconscious inputs: "forget to...." You are much more likely to remember something if you tell yourself "remember" instead of "don't forget." State it positively instead of negatively.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE that!

My problem is laughing when they are throwing tantrums. Which is probably why they laugh at me when I am serious and demand things. The difference between an child's tantrum and an adult's is the adult is bigger and has a wider vocabulary.

I think Joshua and Audrey fell from the same silly tree.

Anonymous said...

I meant "a". I ain't iliterrate!

Katscratchme said...

Dara: I heard somewhere that laughing when a kid throws a tantrum will typically stop the behavior. If they aren't getting you to take them seriously, they'll stop using that tactic... I suspect that it only works on older kids, when they don't like being laughed at.

Rebecca said...

too funny! Devlyn and Elliott used to lock Vincent out of the boys room.

Once I figured out that was happening I started taking Vincent with me when I ran errands and he would get a treat.

One time they asked if they could go and I told them no and told them why. The locking of the door stopped.


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