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The $#&! I Say Way Too Much

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Do your kids listen the first time you say something? Mine don’t. Like, ever. Maybe this is a parenting flaw of mine, maybe they’re just kids being kids, maybe (as I suspect) it’s a little bit of both. Whatever the reason, their unwillingness to jump when I say jump causes me to sound like a broken record sometimes. OK, a lot. Couple that with their sometimes baffling behavior and their need to question and challenge everything I do and say and there are some pretty interesting things coming out of my mouth lately. If you were to spend the day listening in, here’s what you might pick up (you would also hear lots of positivity and love and story-telling and joking but that’s not nearly as much fun to record):

"Whoa, are you eating out of the garbage? Please don’t eat out of the garbage. You understand why you can’t eat of the garbage, right? Tell me. No, you can walk. Yes you can. Yes. No. I shouldn’t have to carry you. You’re three now. You’re five and a half, bud. I shouldn’t have to strap you in. Are you strapped in? Are you strapped in? Are you strapped in? I shouldn’t have to say this 10 times. I shouldn’t have to wipe you. I shouldn’t have to yell. No, you can’t wear a hat to bed. Or gloves. What do you think the answer is? Are you serious? Why are you crying? Are you seriously crying? Tell me. Tell me. Tell me. Please don’t cry. You’re not seriously kicking my seat are you? Seriously?

I just need a little privacy, OK? Please close the door. Just one minute. Just one minute. You hear me right? Pull up your pants. Put on your socks. Put on your shoes. Your shoes. Your shoes. YOUR SHOES! Please don’t wipe your boogers on your sleeve. Please don’t wipe your boogers on the table. Please don’t wipe your boogers on me. Seriously? Get a tissue. Get a tissue. Get a tissue. Really? Really, Al? You can feed yourself. You can wipe yourself. You can get it yourself. Yes you can. I know you can. We don’t throw food. We don’t spit food. We don’t drop food on the floor on purpose. Are you kidding me? Are you serious? Wow. Wow. Wow.

Wash your hands. Brush your teeth. Are you brushing your teeth? You brushed your teeth, right? Let me smell. Let me look. Let me check. Let me try. No more books. No more TV. No more snacks. No more minutes. No more talking. No more. Just a second, I’m talking. Just a second, your brother is talking. Just a second, your sister is talking. Just a second. Just a second. Just a second. No talking, please. Please don’t say that word. Or that word. Please say please. Say thank you. Say excuse me. What do you say? Did you forget to say something? Please don’t say that. Please don’t say it like that. You know we don’t say that. What did you say? Whoa, whoa, whoa, don’t sit on that. Don’t stand on it either. And definitely don’t jump on it! You do understand me when I talk to you right? And you do understand why you can’t jump on that yes? Tell me. I know you do. Yes you can. You’re a big girl. You’re a kindergartener. You know better. You’re my kid. You better not. I love you. I love you. I love you. Goodnight."

I swear I do not spend all day reprimanding my children and telling them what to do and not do although sometimes, I’ll admit, it feels that way. Denise Shipani, a writer/author/new friend of mine wrote a similar post yesterday. Her kids are older but the repetition is still there—and, as she points out, it’s important. “If you believe it, you have to stick to it. Like exercise: Just once, and you’re simply sore. Not at all, and you’re just flabby. But to be firm? It’s over, and over. And over and over. And over,” she says. Denise wrote Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing The Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later—I just started reading it and I’m loving it. And learning a lot!

So, can any of you relate to this style of repetitive parenting or do you have the kind of kids who don’t test you and who do as you say on the first ask? (If so, where did you get them?!