Saturday, March 29, 2008


How is it that the sound of your own child whining is like fingernails on a chalkboard? Somehow they know exactly what to say, and how to say it, to grate on your nerves and cause your whole body to shudder. But, then they look up at you with those big eyes and long eyelashes, and you just start to melt.

Well, the other day, I had had enough of the whining, and decided to turn the tables on the Munchkin. She whined about something (I can't even remember what), and I whined right back at her. She stopped in her tracks and whirled around to look at me with a very strange expression on her face -- sort of a cross between amazed horror and extreme shock at the sound that had come out of my mouth. "Mommy! Don't whine!" But, I kept whining. She covered her ears and had a slight look of terror in her eyes as she said, "I don't like when you whine..." And I said, "I don't like when you whine either. Isn't it a yucky sound" To which she replied, "Yes, Mommy. But, it sounds better when I do it."

How exactly was I supposed to respond to that? I felt I had three choices: 1. attempt to rationalize with a 3 1/2 year old about how similar our whining tones were (not a particularly realistic option); 2. burst out laughing (not a particularly constructive option); or 3. ignore the comment completely (not a particularly plausible option, as the Munchkin doesn't often let me get away with ignoring her...). So, I attempted a combination of the three, which apparently was NOT all that successful, as the whining continues on a daily basis. Some days are better than others, but some days, it practically takes my breath away.

It must be hard to be an age when you don't get to have a whole lot of control over your life. Other people (grown-ups) decide what you're going to do, who you're going to have playdates with, what will be served for dinner, and a whole host of other monumental things that are part of daily life. I believe that this is a stage that will be outgrown, and she will move on to some other trying characteristic of "preschooler communication."

I take heart in the fact that the Munchkin is definitely NOT the only offender in this arena. Every one of her friends has succumbed to the same lovely behavior in his/her own time, some of which is louder and longer than hers. I consider myself thankful the Munchkin's whine can usually be cut short by diverting her attention to something more pressing. And I am also thankful that our chalkboard just isn't that big...


jami said...

It makes H laugh when I whine back at her, but in truth? no effect whatsoever. It momentarily cuts out the whine, and then it comes right back.

We did have one new idea: I told her we'd think of a secret word (and we wouldn't even tell Daddy!) and then if I heard her whining, I'd say the secret word, and she'd stop, and it would be our secret. She picked, "heart," as her secret word. Don't ask me what that means.

This was about ten days ago. And while it wasn't terribly effective, yesterday, when she was fussing and I tried to "jolly" her out of it, she stopped me cold and said, "You're supposed to say 'heart' when I'm whining!"

OK, seriously good memory, kid? So she obviously gets it... Now, if she'd just DO it...

Suzanne said...

We'll have to try the secret word thing... Anything!