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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yeah, I'm not feeling sorry for you . . . not even a little.

Some days, there's a lot of whining and crying in our house.  I'm talking like every five to seven minutes.  These are usually the days when Gavin is cranky or tired or hungry or any combination of those things.  Normally, I'd feel bad for him.  It must be rough being three and not knowing how to effectively handle your tiredness, your hunger, or your crankiness.  But, the truth is, I don't feel bad.  Why?  Because I'm a cold-hearted person?  Well, maybe a little, but also because most of the dramatic events that lead to the crying are caused by none other than Gavin himself.

Scenario:  Gavin comes to me in hysterics.  Tears streaming down his face.  "Mommy, Charlie scratched me."  Why did Charlie scratched you?  "I don't know.  He just did.  And I didn't like it.  It hurts, Mommy."

Now, normally, I'd say "Bad dog, Charlie," give Gavin a kiss and send him on his way.  But, sometimes I know to dig a little deeper for the real story.

What were you doing when Charlie scratched you?  "He was digging a hole outside."  So, he was digging a hole outside and you were telling him to stop?  "Uh huh."  (I survey his person.)  Why do you have dirt on your hands?  "I don't know."  Were you digging, too?  "I don't know."  Wait.  Why do you have dirt on your feet?  Were you digging in the dirt with your feet?  (Now, he's laughing.)  "Yeah."  Okay, so you were digging a hole with Charlie, and he scratched you, and now you want me to feel bad for you?  Ain't gonna happen kid.  Go wash your hands and feet.

Scenario:  Gavin has been playing in a box all day (leftover from some probably unnecessary purchase).  Commence screaming and crying.  "Momma!  Charlie is chewing on my box!  Stop it Charlie; stop it!  Momma, make Charlie stop.  I don't want him chewing on my box."  I enter the living room to reprimand the dog, and I find that the dog is inside the box.

Why is Charlie in the box?  "I don't know."  How did Charlie get in the box?  "I don't know."  Did you put Charlie in the box?  "Yes."  Why did you put Charlie in the box?  "I don't know."  Okay, honey, you can't put the dog in the box and then get mad because he's trying to chew his way out.  If you don't want him to chew on the box then don't put him in it.  Seriously.

Scenario:  Loud crash.  Screaming.  Hysteria.  I run into the kitchen to find Gavin laying partway under the kitchen table.  What happened?  "Owie, Momma!"  What's wrong?  What happened?  "I fell."  How did you fall?  "I don't know."  What were you doing when you fell?  "I don't know."

The bench that goes with the table is tipped over, laying on it's side.  What happened to the bench?  "I don't know."  Well, how did you get on the floor, and how did the bench get tipped over?  "Because I was jumping."  You were jumping?  "Yeah."  Where were you jumping?  "On that."  (Points to the bench.)  Oh, so you were jumping on the bench, like you know you're not supposed to, and it tipped over and you fell?  "Uh huh."  Yeah, you're not getting any sympathy from me, kid.

So, we have a new rule in the house: You don't get to cry if you were being a goon, and you got hurt.


  1. Sounds like a GREAT rule to me. We're kind of doing the same thing over here. I believe part of toddlerhood is looking for attention in any way they can get it. It's good not to sympathize when they do things like that. If you sympathize, you reinforce that behavior, and God knows we don't want that, right? So I'm with you on this one.

  2. Damn it, I hope my husband doesn't implement this same rule....I'd be screwed...

  3. Great rule. I don't think it will take long for him to get it. Good for you.

  4. Great rule in deed, you put a lot of sense in education your son and I am sure it will be rewarded! Good for you and for him!

  5. Awesome post! I think your son would be great friends with my son!

  6. I'm totally adopting that rule in my house.