Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Argue much?

Do all kids argue? Or just mine? LMC (Leenie) goes on streaks of bad habits and as soon as we break one, a new one pops up- much like whack-a-mole. She used to grind her teeth. When I asked her about this new teeth grinding habit, she said, "Lily says I have sharp teeth like a vampire, and I don't want to be a vampire. So, I am grinding them down and they won't be sharp anymore- and I won't be a vampire."

While I totally understood her logic, the habit was there. Softly correcting... softly reminding... softly saying, "LMC, please don't grind your teeth. It's bad for them." Soft got loud. Patient grew in. Grinding ceased.

LMC also decided that she did not need to brush her teeth. She would pretend to brush her teeth. She put up an argument about brushing her teeth. Every morning it was a battle to get her to brush her teeth. Sure, I could have done it for her- but what would that accomplish? (besides a calm morning, a pleasant day, and no screaming matches, time outs, or hand poppings)

"Leenie, brush your teeth."
"Noooo.... my legs are tired."
"What do your legs have to do with your teeth? Brush them."
"I DID!"
"No, you didn't. I sat here and watched you. Brush. Your. Teeth."

The more we argued, the, um, louder my voice grew. Turns out, my yelling is on the same decibel as glass breaking. Every time I spoke (read: yelled), there was a pleasant little chime in the background

"ding ding ding"

alerting me that a door had opened, a window had broken, or somehow the circuit of the alarm had broken.

Sensitive little sucker.

I brought this up with my brother at lunch after a few weeks of the continued nonsense and alarm ding-ding-dinging in the background. Taking a page from his book, which was borrowed from a page of his friend's book, the next time Leenie did not brush her teeth, I took her hand and we surfed Google looking for pictures of what happens when people don't brush her teeth.

She cried.

Habit broken.

She also could not sleep that night...

I mentioned the lack of sleep to Brother and he said, "Yeah- Lauren mentioned that. She showed her boys what starving children look like and they could not sleep for a few days either. But they ate their supper without anymore problems."


Recently, though... recently we are on a fun one. Let me back up...

I pride myself on being accepting of other's opinions and thoughts. This is something that does not come naturally to me. But, I have some amazing friends who are very different than me in all kinds of ways and I love this about us. We believe differently, think differently, and can all still be friends. In this friendship, we value each other's opinions.

Leenie? Yeah... notsomuch. She has recently decided that it would be fun to argue about everything.

"Honey, it's warm outside. Do you want to take off your jacket?"
Her response?
No it's not.

"Leenie, today is Tuesday and I need you to get dressed for tap and ballet."
"It's not Tuesday. It's Wednesday. I have piano today."

"Leenie, what's your favorite thing about Christmas?"
"That my baby brother is coming out of your tummy."
"Honey, Robert Fuzzbug won't be here until February."
"Nah-UNH! He's coming at Christmas."

"Mommy! Today is the day I wear jammies to school!"
"No it's not. That's tomorrow."

The more emphatic she is, the more aggravating it is.

"Honey, just because you are louder does not make you any more correct in this instance."
"No, it's tomorrow."

Have you tried to reason with a kid? I can reason with a toddler. I can probably negotiate with a terrorist. But a kid? Hah. Fat chance.

Yesterday, on the way to school- Husband was trying to explain to Leenie about the pitfalls of having to always be right and constantly arguing.

"Leenie, I want to talk to you about something.... have you noticed recently how you have been arguing with mommy and daddy about unimportant things?"

"Nah-UNH. I haven't been arguing. HMPH." (and she crosses her arms over chest... this is not going to end well for her. I can already see it.)

Slowly, Husband puts the brakes on. Slowly, he puts the car in park. Silently, I say a Hail Mary for the five year old in the background. Slowly, he turns around and looks her in the eyes.

He raises his eyebrows.
And stares.
And stares.
And stares.

Minutes tick by. I am silent in my Hail Marys. Bennie is clapping her hands saying, "Dah-Dee! hi? Dah-Dee! hi?" He is unswayed; continuing to stare.

Very quietly, Lennie looks down and says, "Sorry, Daddy."

"Thank you."

He turns around, puts it in drive and heads off to school.

"Leenie, you are arguing about arguing. Is it fun to get in fights with people? Do you like to get yelled at?"

"I don't get in fights!"

"Leenie, that's not the answer to my question. Do you like getting in fights with your friends?"


"Do you like it when we have to yell at you?"


"We don't like yelling at you either. Can you please think about what you are doing? You are arguing about nothing and I don't think you even realize you know you are doing it. It's not fun to argue. No one likes to get into fights and no one likes an argument."

"OK, daddy."

Fast forward to the end of the day. I pick her up from school.

"Where's Daddy?"
"He's at the hospital. He'll be home tomorrow."
"Nah-UNH. He's not on call."

[clearly the morning's conversation sank right in]

"Ok, he's not on call," I quip back.
"If daddy is on call, do I get to sleep with you?"
"You told me Daddy wasn't on call."
"If he is, do I get to sleep with you?"
"Depends. If he is, are you going to argue with me that he isn't?"
"Oh? But, you said he wasn't." (maybe... just maybe Mom was being a touch passive aggressive)

Ding ding ding goes the alarm. Apparently, both of us can hit the same decibel as glass breaking.

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