Seriously people, why does it take so long for good parenting strategies to enter my mind and exit my mouth?
This morning Quinn and I have been having something of a battle of the wills (hee, hee – that is actually funny but will make no sense to most of you).
Anyway, I am just getting really, really, VERY tired of him grabbing my hand, arm, clothing, whatever he can reach and grunting/yelling at me when he wants something. Don’t misunderstand, he’s not constantly walking around grunting/yelling, but it happens more than it needs to. It is particularly frustrating when I am trying to enter school work for one of the other little people into the computer and Quinn comes up and just grabs my hand, thereby making me click wildly around the screen at just the wrong moment and accidentally wind up on a porn site.
Okay, not really. There are no links from the online school to porn sites, no matter how wildly or randomly you click. At least, I’m assuming there are no links to porn sites. I’ve never actually tested that.
Anyway, when this happens, and it happens daily, I remove his hand from mine and tell him to wait a minute while I finish, and he just grabs at me again; and again what I was trying to enter doesn’t get entered and, while not a terribly big deal in the grand scheme of things, it is moderately frustrating nonetheless.
So it happened again today. The Wii Fit game he was playing finished (those balance games finish quickly when being played by a two-year-old) and he wanted me to start another one for him. He came over, grabbed my hand, and just yelled/grunted at me. This would be less frustrating if I thought he couldn’t actually say something, but the truth is, he can.
He can say “please.” He can say lots of other things, too; but he doesn’t talk unless he wants to talk. Period. For so long he had us totally buffaloed with the receptive language, and, to an extent, he’s been doing it with the expressive language. I’m not saying he can talk really well (that usually takes some practice, you know, talking on a regular basis, but he won’t do that), but I do know he can say “please.”
When he grabbed and grunted this time, I turned to him and said, “If you want me to put a new Wii game on for you, you need to say please.” He looked at me and vehemently said, “No!” See? I told you he could talk. We hear “No!” all the time. We also hear, “One, two, three, four, five, ten!” all. the. time. Sometimes six, seven, eight, and nine also find their way in there.
I told him again that he needed to say please, and he just yelled some more. At that point I decided to stick him in the corner for a bit. I have given in to the grunting/yelling way too much, way more than I ever would have with any of my other kids, so I drew a line in the sand today. I put him in the corner and told him he could come out when he said “please.”
He gave me the stink eye.
I so wish I could capture the stink eye on film for you all. It is an amazing thing. I have never had anybody anywhere give me the stink eye like this kid gives the stink eye. It is something to behold, truly.
At any rate (trying not to use “anyway” quite so much), he refused to say please. And he refused, and he refused. After he realized his Sad Cry of Devastation just wasn’t going to work this time, he sat in the corner quietly playing with his Uno cards. For over an hour.
I know! I know! He’s two, therefore any time-out type thing should ONLY last for two minutes, and you all are speed dialing children’s services in indignation that is so great it has caused you to forget you don’t know where I live or what my last name is (well, except for a couple of you). Honestly, I don’t know who made up that one minute per year of age rule, but if I were forced upon threat of death to classify that person as something, I believe that something would be: Idiot.
He was fine, and he was not forgetting why he was there since I kept saying, “If you say please I will turn the Wii on again and you can play.” More often than not he would just give me the same blank stare he used to give us all the time when he was still pretending like he didn’t understand language at all (and trust me, he was pretending) and then go back to playing with his Uno cards. The kid loves numbers right now.
Now comes my “duh” moment. Seriously, I am too old and senile to be a parent sometimes. I was grading Midge’s language arts lesson, seeing Quinn sitting quietly out of the corner of my eye, and it hit me: he will sit there all day, fall asleep there for his nap, skip all of his meals, just to “win.” And he really probably would (but only when it comes to language). However, it only takes a little creativity, a little work-around, for me to “win.” Why didn’t I think of it much, much sooner?
So I said, a little bit loudly to make sure I had everyone’s attention, “Hey Midge, say ‘please.’”
“Please!!!!!!” she said with a big grin, because she caught on immediately.
“Hey Tank Boy, say ‘please.’”
“Yeah you. Say ‘please.’”
“Hey L~ (she’s home sick today), say please.”
“Hey Quinn! Say ‘please.’”
And after much fanfare the Wii came on.
My fifth kid and it took me that long to figure it out. On the bright side? I figured it out.