As I predicted, the magic from Monday disappeared sometime in the middle of the night. In its place, normalcy has returned. And so, as promised, here is a post about tattling and whining. I’ve decided to keep a running record throughout the day of all the tells made to Mommy.
Shall we begin?
Frances: “Nora took the smoothie that has the blue straw. And blue’s my favorite color!”
Nora: “Fine. Here. Take it.”
Frances: “No. I want the red straw.”
This is typical fickle Frances. Such a pain in the arse.
Nora: “Mama! I want to color and Frances is sitting in my seat!”
Frances: “No I’m not!” (She was.)
Me: “Well, Nora. Did you ask her kindly to move?”
My go-to tattling response is to ask the girls to first try to work it out themselves. Unfortunately, when one of the players is a stubborn, grouchy two-year-old, this doesn’t always work.
Frances: (comes running into kitchen) “Mommy, Mommy! Nora not wearing her socks, so I’m not going to either!”
Nora: “Yes I am, Frances. (Takes off boot). See?”
Frances: (grumpily) “Then I’m gonna wear ’em too.”
Fine. Problem solved.
Nora: “Mama, Frances said she’s going to beat me into the car, but I told her it’s not a race.”
Frances: “Yes it is a race, Nora!”
Me: (says nothing, but thinks about running away to Mexico)
Sometimes silence is golden. And sometimes not. Sometimes ignoring the tattling just brings on more whining and arguing.
11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
No tattling or whining! We went to the park for an hour and enjoyed playing in the sunshine, followed by lunch at home and some reading of library books (read: the key to halting tattling—keeping kids engaged; sadly, this is not always possible).
Frances: “Mommy. Nora had a date and I didn’t have one.”
Me: “That’s because Nora finished her carrot.”
Frances: “I not gonna eat my carrot. Ever!”
Frances: “And I’m gonna knock these letters off the fridge.” (Proceeds to knock magnetic letters of fridge and onto floor.)
Nora: “Mama! Frances just threw the letters onto the floor!”
As if I hadn’t just witnessed the spectacle for myself and needed the play-by-play. So annoying!
Nora: “Mom. I was building a tower and then Frances wrecked it. And she did it on purpose. And I told her not to, and then she hit me!”
Me: “Frances, we don’t hit.”
Incidentally, if I had a dime for all the times I’ve said these words to this child, I’d have enough dough to buy a week’s worth of groceries. Clearly, something is not working.
Frances’s consequence in these situations is to be left alone. I want her to see that if she behaves in this way, she won’t have any friends. Time out doesn’t work for her and I won’t hit her myself, much as I’m tempted to. Only the leaving her alone doesn’t work all the time either, as the little sprite will often try to follow us around the house into different rooms as we try and make our point. What’s a mother to do, I ask?
6:30 p.m. (Getting ready for bed)
Frances: “Mommy, Nora’s not sleeping on the dust pillow!”
Oh, for heaven’s sake!
Nora’s been having difficulty hearing due to fluid buildup in her ears. The doctors suspect allergies, so before they recommend tubes, they want us to try to alleviate Nora’s symptoms by using hypoallergenic bedding. So, she’s supposed to sleep on one of two blue pillows that have dust-proof covers. Although they are meant to keep dust away, the girls have dubbed them dust pillows, and Frances is always eager to point out when Nora is not sleeping on hers.
For the love!
So, if anyone has any advice for dealing with these annoying behaviors, I’d love to hear it. I know that tiredness, boredom, too much time spent together, and sibling rivalry contribute to the tattling/whining mess, not to mention the girls’ sense of justice and fairness, mixed with a two-year-old’s limitations.
But I wonder: Am I overinvolved? Not involved enough? Saying or doing the right things?
Hopefully it’s all just a phase, and once the younger gets older, it’ll all stop. Or at least, lessen. If not, I feel for the future teachers and peers of these two, not to mention their parents!
If it keeps up much longer I fear I’ll be calling out soon for my own MOMMY! to save me from it all! 😉