I had been warned about the terrible two’s. I even knew that the terrible two’s actually last into the threes.
Even though I knew those hard days of toddlerhood were coming, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little caught off-guard when my son would launch into horrid tantrums. Who knew that it would be this hard?
About six months after his third birthday, my son turned a corner. We were out of the woods! That screaming, frothing-at-the-mouth monster was again my sweet little boy.
But then, he turned five.
NO ONE warned me about what happened to kids when they turn five. You think you’re in the clear because your child has started understanding consequences. He no longer throws a fit at Target and he even helps with your younger kids. Life is perfect now! The boy will never do wrong again!
When kids turn five, they start to whine.
Oh, dear Lord, the whining.
He whines because we turn on the light in his room. He whines because the shirt he wants to wear isn’t clean. He whines because his breakfast got cold even though you told him to eat it RIGHT AWAY or else it would get cold but he ignored you so he could play with Legos and now his breakfast is cold so he whines.
He whines that his shoes make his feet tired (whatever that means) and that the music in the car is too loud. He whines that his sister messed up his train track and that he doesn’t feel like going to school today.
He whines about going to play group, and then whines that we aren’t going to play group. He whines that he wants broccoli for dinner, then whines when we make broccoli for dinner.
In the midst of all the whining, I find myself time traveling back to when he was just starting to babble a little. Of course, his first words included “Dada,” but not “mama.” I would stand in front of him and plead, “Say mommy! Say ma-ma. MA-MA. You can do it! MA-MA.”
Fast forward to today, when I will hear him say my name hundreds of times, many of which are in that high-pitched, nasal whine that makes my skin crawl. I want to stand in front of him again and beg him to just say my name normally. “MOM. You can do it! Just say MOM.”
I realize it’s ironic to whine about my child whining. Who knows? Maybe he gets it from me. I do whine when my food is cold, and I really whine when I try to sit down for five minutes and the kids start jumping on me.
But to whom do I whine? I can’t whine to the kids, because they don’t care. I don’t want to whine to my friends, because they have plenty to whine about already. I really don’t want to whine to my husband while he’s at work, because that’s not productive for either of us.
In general, I don’t want to whine BECAUSE NO ONE LIKES A WHINER.
That logic has yet to sink in with my child, who is whining that I’m working on the computer instead of fixing him a snack. I think I’ll let him go hungry a little longer – you know, really give him something to whine about.