Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Exclusive: The latest in parenting tips!

I have recently begun employing a new parenting method here in the Smith house. You haven't read about it in those helpful tomes by Drs. Spock or Spears, nor have you seen Matt and Meredith chatting about it on morning TV. Nope, this one is all mine, and you lucky few who read my blog are about to be let in on my little secret. You might want to grab a pen and pad to take notes, or you could just bookmark this post for future reference...

Let me give you some background. As you may know, either from reading my blog regularly or from reading my little "about me" blurb over yonder on the sidebar, I have a kid. She is five. (Or almost five and a half, as she has been reminding us for ages now. Technically, she'll be five and a half on the 26th of this month.) She just began kindergarten in September. I'm not sure if it is from being in school all day and riding the bus with older kids (all the way up to second grade!) or just a general thing about this age, but my GOODNESS has she been developing an Attitude, yes, with a capital A. This Attitude is manifesting itself in many ways - the hands-on-hips stance, complete with eye rolling and hair tossing. The exasperated tone with dramatic sighs. Impertinence. Sass and talking back. (Now, while I think a lot of this must come from hanging with her peers for seven hours a day, five days a week, I will cop to sometimes being a Less Than Perfect Mom and occasionally modeling some of those mannerisms - especially the exasperated tone.) The one that gets to me the worst, though, is the whiiiiiiiiiiiiiining. Nails-on-a-chalkboard, that is to me. (Not sure why I suddenly slipped into Yoda-speak, there. I'm not even a huge Star Wars fan - or rather: A huge Star Wars fan, I am not.) Anyhoo, the whining. The incessant whining. It has driven me to the very edge of the Cliffs of Insanity. Along with the whining comes a refusal to listen - not just the selective hearing that all children have, mind you, but a stubborn, mulish, utter refusal to stop the whiny, verbal diarrhea long enough to hear reason. This one-two combo is the quickest way to make me want to pack my bags, grab my passport and flee to a Caribbean Isle until Kiddo has grown up and gotten over herself.

I've tried many things in an attempt to curtail the whining. I've given automatic time-outs for whining. I've done the "I'm sorry, but I can't hear you when you talk in that tone" thing (which some of our friends have tried with much success with their younger child). I've done the flat-out ignoring any and all whining. Seasonally, I've gone so far as to threaten with the Big Guy in Red ("You know, Santa knows when you've been whining, and he doesn't bring presents to kids who whine...") I've even mimicked the tone and whined back - that actually worked for a brief spell, though it drove me almost as crazy to whine back as it did to hear Kiddo whine. It was like living in an early 80s SNL sketch, and not in a good way. I've even attempted to reason with her on the topic, trying to get her to see how her whining doesn't bring about positive results. (I know, I know, reason with a five year old? Hah!) No matter what I did in an attempt to STOP THE INSANITY, Kiddo persisted.

So, the other day, I was at my wits' end. (I don't have many wits about me to begin with, so I hate to reach the end of them.) Kiddo was whining on and on and on one afternoon, and nothing I said or did was able to end it. When she attached herself to my elbow and began to whine for the gazillionth time in a three hour span, I lost it. This is where my new parenting tip was born.

I stopped speaking English. I didn't bust out my rusty Spanish, rustier Italian or even rustiest of all Latin on her.

I meowed.

Yes, I began responding only in Cat. I meowed and I hissed and I meowed some more. Whatever Kiddo said to me, I replied in Cat.

And you know what? It worked!

Kiddo was shocked at first, then frustrated, then finally, amused and while she tried to be mad, she couldn't help but laugh. This snapped her straight out of the whining and bad attitude and turned her back into my pleasant, cheerful, little girl. Ahhhhhhh.

I've since learned that if I bust out the meowing, I can head off all but the worst Attitude Attacks and the godforsaken whining. Sometimes, a warning "prrrrow?" is all it takes. Yes, I will meow even in public. I really have grown utterly immune to the gawps, tsk-tskings and head-shakings of other people, as having a child with SPD leads one to either develop a very thick skin or simply never go out in public. Heck, I've done Opera Day in public, so a little meowing? No big deal!

So there you have it, my blogosphere friends. Heather's Parenting the Jellicle Way (patent pending). Feel free to try it in your own home. Hopefully, it will work as well for you as it has for me!

(And, as I'm referencing Cats, I am going to leave you with a Cats music video of one of my favorite Broadway actors, Terrence Mann, who originated the role of the Rum Tum Tugger on Broadway, way back in the early 80s.....)


16 comments:

Carrie said...

You meow?? hahaha That is AWESOME! I'll have to remember to put that in the arsenal for later use.

Carrie said...

p.s. I remember Terrance Mann from A Chorus Line!

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

I so have to try this with The Ladies.... I would LOVE to know what made you suddenly just meow...

And... on a Cats note... I can't wait to show Essie this clip... she ADORES Cats... Rum Tum Tugger & Munkestrap being her faves.

Debbie said...

Good for you. Who cares if people look at you weird. At least you are having the desired effect. We have a random sentence we say when ours start arguing. And..they stop when they hear it. Odd how this works.

Queenie Jeannie said...

Oh boy!! Was that ever refreshing to hear that I'm not the only one!!!! The wits end comment nearly made me choke, lol!!!!

I can do Cat. I can do anything if it works.

I'll keep ya posted....

kwr221 said...

On the flip side, whenever I admonish my lovely DD, she hisses at me and I get royally pissed.

momto1 said...

I really, really, laughed at this! In fact, started to tear up a little bit. Meowing is great!

I used to speak pig-latin to the twins I used to nanny for when they started to whine...the charm only lasted a few days until they figured out how to do it themselves. Move over pig-latin...meowing is going to be my weapon of choice once the time comes!

Mandy said...

I LOVE CATS!! One of my favorite musicals. :)

Stopping over from SITS! Have a great day!

Tiffany said...

Meowing will be heard in my house tonight! Whining drives me crazy and yet I hear a lot of it from my youngest. thanks for stopping by my blog! It's always nice to meet another Pooh fan.

When my oldest daughter was little, her imaginary friend was Roo. Roo was just like daughter. Kanga was like me and Tigger was my husband. She was so cute with the stories she would tell about them. We learned so much about ourselves :-)

Eudea-Mamia said...

Brilliant!!

I think my mothered cried the day I found out that my second child would also be my second boy - she so wanted me to go through the same crap she did - my nickname growing up - Wendy Whiner.

Nice.

Meow!

Em

Lorrie Veasey said...

It's alllllll about meow. You should have told her to talk to the paw!

I found you through Kristen and Deb. Hope you will visit my Thanksgiving Giveaway on my blog at
www.ournameisblog.blogspot.com

Blicky Kitty said...

Meow must try that meow!

For a while the refrain in our house was. "Sorry I don't speak Whinese." Yikes I remember the Kindergarten stage. That's why I banned all commercial television from the house too because she'd immitate all the Hannah Montana sassy stuff. :) Gosh every stage is so hard isn't it. Makes us develop new (bilingual) resources.

nikkicrumpet said...

LOL...when they haul you off to the funny farm...call me...I'll be a character reference!

My name is Andy. said...

Excellent advice! I will have to try this.

Andy

Carrie said...

Okay, so I told the hubby about this post yesterday and read an excerpt.

Last night, we're driving to the store and the midget is in the back, complaining away. After a few minutes, we both said, in complete unison, "MEE-OWWWW!"

It was so funny, we both were laughing forever! And the midget started laughing too! So it WORKED!!

Dee from Downunder said...

meowing wont work on my whiner, who is 3.5, she thinks she's a cat already...

the other day I used pidgeon english (or some weird version I could remember). It worked - she stared at me, eyes wide, gave a little confused laugh, then finally said "I dont know what you are saying..". but it stoped the whining