Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kids are annoying.

Come on, you know you agree with me.  They may be cute; they may warm our hearts; but they're also just plain annoying on a regular basis.

Toddlerhood is a time full of annoying habits, like talking back and disobeying.  I think my wonderful Chickie must be preparing herself for a testing-related career, whether it's testing product testing, pharmaceutical trials, or writing achievement tests for schools.  And I can tell you she'll thrive in that career, because she is already very good at testing my rules and my patience.

Recently Chickie has become alarmingly adept at whining and talking back to me.  I suppose some of it's funny.  ("Chickie, sit in time out."  "No, you sit in time out!")  But it's also frustrating, and it something I don't have much tolerance for.  I really don't want a kindergartener who is known for being a fantastic whiner.

But as I work with her on this, I've had to work just as much on myself.  You see, as I hear Chickie talking to me in a rude, disrespectful tone, I hear myself in her voice.  

When she says, "Mommy, do such-and-such right now!" I remember telling her, "Chickie, put on your pants right now!"

When she impatiently says, "Mommy, NO!" I recall using that same tone of voice in reprimanding her.

Now, I am the mommy, and it's just fine for me to boss my child around and to reprimand her.  But I'm really, really trying to talk to her in a calm, non-angry tone, even when I'm correcting her.  Because it's become very clear recently just how much she's learning from me.  Hearing rude things coming out of her mouth makes me realize that those words and tones of voice are rude when they come out of my mouth, too.

It's a lot easier to raise my voice so that I'm both showing her that I'm serious, and venting out my frustration.  But the result of that habit--the viscious cycle of mother-daughter disrespect--is not worth it.

I thought I was grown up before I had kids, but now, as I seek to change my childish habits so that I won't pass them along, I realize how immature I can still be.  I'm thankful to my kids for challenging and maturing me.

I guess that means I'm thankful that they can be so darn annoying. 


A Woman Of No Importance said...

I once caught my son saying, "Well, I haven't got a crystal ball...!" - That was straight out of my mouth, and I was shocked to hear my excuse - The one I always used to explain how I did not know what was going to happen next - coming out of his!

Celeste said...

They are shining little mirrors aren't they?

Recently I said to my toddler "Neko just WAIT one second!" as she was impatiently bouncing up and down and whining for something and she literally rolled her eyes and said "Excuuuuse me!" Oy.

Amen sister! Kids ARE annoying. (I suppose Mommies are annoying too.)

Special K said...

So true! My current annoyance is my 5 year old saying "Mommy, you know? You know? You know? You know?" about 50 times and getting distracted before he'll say anything real. Aaah!

Katie said...

this made me giggle. Maybe our daughters will work together in testing some day. My 10 month old is getting a head start in her 'studies' !! Can't help but smile and enjoy the ride I guess! :)

Dina said...

You are right on with this post. Our 2 1/2 year old is definitely into testing these days. Sometimes it's funny and sometimes it's annoying, but it's definitely a growth period for all of us. I'm really trying to be aware of my tone when scolding. It's just really hard to keep a totally calm voice when they are being sassy with a capital S or threatening to throw a wine bottle in Target (see my latest post).

In response to your comment on Sandra's blog - the message on the fridge with magnets is awesome! Great engineers must think alike. ;)

Anna said...

Yup! after going through this for the third time I have become "cool and collected mom" cause I don't want to deal with their outbursts...but DH on the other hand can't understand why kids throw stuff even though I've caught him throwing things at them plenty of times.....grrrrrrrrr

Call Me Cate said...

I would be in so much trouble. I can just imagine my adorable small child looking at me and saying "the cat is on the counter, I'm SO gonna punch him in the face!".

Cute but very thoughtful post.

Desert Grace Boutique said...

It's funny that you post this, I just had a sit down over the weekend with my daughter who is now living with me. Every morning she gets up flips on her 5 year old son's light and yells get up we have to go in 10 minutes. He responded with NO! I don't want to! (in the same tone as her).
I asked her if that was how I treated her when she was a little girl. She thought about it and said no. I suggested she sit on the edge of her son's bed and say gently, it is time to get up and get ready. She has been doing that and the results are so much better! Mornings are pleasant again.

Lora said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I'm always trying to catch my tone and words with Liam, nothing like having a little echo to improve your self awareness.

He's current phrase is "It's okay" Not a bad one, but it shows me how much I've been trying to sooth him lately.

Anonymous said...

UGH! This is so true. I too am struggling with a bossy kid. But then, as a mom, I'm often pretty bossy too. I'm realizing it may be as much learned behavior as it is atypical 3 year old phase.

Interestingly, he says "thank you" easily and often but usually forgets "please". Hmmm. Guess who else does that?

I'm trying to soften my requests and make them less bossy so he stops bossing back. Here's hoping the damage isn't already done.

Kara said...

We're going through this, too, and I am trying so hard to remember to be the "adult" and to think about what words and tones of voice I want to model for Abby. Toddlers have a way of pushing just the right buttons, and it's so easy to want to yell or, frankly, just collapse into a tantrum myself!

Janell said...

Oh, Beth, you are not alone. Just the fact that you--someone I know to be a calm and very kind person--posted this makes me feel a little better. I know I do the same thing, sometimes talking to my kids in a "rude" voice. I doubt there is a mom alive who is perfect in this. But you're right--recognizing it is important, and using a calm voice more often I'm sure will promote more respect in our kids! Good luck!

Sandra said...

Wise words, Mommy.

Annelie said...

I loved reading this! Fantastic post.

Deanna said...

whew, this is hitting me where I live today...

Sabrina said...

My husband and I coined a phrase we now use frequently..."fun-noying." Kids are fun-noying, vacations with them are fun-noying, Chuck E. Cheese is fun-noying. Like it?
We also sometimes use fun-itating, but it's not as "fun" to say.

MarjnHomer said...

our kids mirror us as you already stated, so the solution is we should let our child see the person you want them to be..

Grand Pooba said...

It's amazing to me how fast kids pick up on things. When I babysit my nephew, he goes home talking exactly like me! Gotta watch what I say now!

C. Beth said...

A Woman of No Importance--It's so funny that I will hear a phrase come out of her mouth, one I didn't even realize I say often--but clearly I do!

Celeste--Oh, rolled eyes! I think we're still waiting on that "milestone." :)

Special K--Oh, yeah, the repeating can totally be annoying!

Katie--Uh oh, already testing at 6 months old! You're in for some adventures!

Dina--Oh, I definitely have to check out the wine bottle in Target post! I've definitely had to explain to managers why something in their store is broken. Ugh!!

Anna--Good for you, being cool and collected! Too bad you don't live closer so that you could rub off on me!

Call Me Cate--Ha! Yeah, it's amazing how much you have to work on self-censorship when you have kids. :)

desert Grace Boutique--I'm so glad that your daughter is able to make that change! I hope I'll be just as successful.

Lora--I have to say, I liked reading your response since I consider you to be such a calm, respectful, kind mom. It's good to hear that you have to work on your "tone and words" too!

JL--As for whether the damage is already done or not--we'll definitely damage our kids, all parents do, right? But I do think at this age if we can change our habits, a lot of theirs will change too.

Kara--Yes, it is hard to be the adult! And I definitely know that feeling of wanting to have my own tantrum--sometimes I give into that!

Janell--What a sweet comment, thanks! I hope you and I will both be able to work on this!

Sandra--Thank you, :)

Snarky A.--Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Deanna--I think a lot of us mommies have this weakness!

Sabrina--fun-noying--I like that!!

MarjnHomer--Definitely wise--be the person we want our kids to be.

Grand Pooba--Yes, kids make you aware of what you say more than almost anyone else!

Anonymous said...

Right on target again - I'm going through this same routine with my son who just turned 4 in Jan. It's driving me bonkers but then the next moment he's so sweet - saying things like Mommy you're my favorite person in the whole world...

CDB said...

This is EXACTLY what I posted about on Thursday, wow.. great minds. It is so imperative that I listen as my son holds up a mirror to me, so to speak. Calm and sweet, I know he can do it (and so can I!)

LEstes65 said...

That is a tough balance to find. I've made some headway there but I think I will be learning for the rest of my life. Single motherhood definitely threw me into reactionary mode for a year or so. And my boys had to deal with quite a bit of short fuse from mom. I have found, however, that there is a certain tone I can adopt that snaps them to! It's not my lost-patience rude voice (although, that still rears its ugly head). It's a totally different tone that means, I mean business and you WILL have consequences if this doesn't stop! It's the one that Liam knows so well now, he'll give a very fast, "Yes ma'am!" And I learned this from my sister who is 10 yrs younger than me. She helped snap me out of my reactionary frazzled mommy state into the take charge mom. I'm not saying that's you. I'm just saying, I hear you! And I'm finding at least one solution that works (mostly). You and I are both such good actors and vocalists, I imagine we'd be naturals for finding different voices that will mean something to our kids.