“Go and sit quietly and think about what you just said Mummy” When your own words come back to haunt you
My three year old has come out with some corkers over the last 2 weeks, so it got me thinking about how much children imitate us and gauge what language to use; moulding their responses based on the vocabulary we have (often unwittingly!) given them.
I cringe so much at some of the things Aubrey says, knowing it has been taken from my barely coherent rants in moments of intense anger and frustration (when he has hit his baby brother over the head with a Duplo ‘hammer stick’ he has made for the 22nd time and I can’t seem to come up with any more reasonable or calm responses) and I am filled with a rainbow of happiness when he repeats thoughtful and kind phrases in his super cute little boy voice (“look Leo’s using a fork by himself, aaarrr he’s so cute, well done Leo!!”).
Here are some of the highlights from our house this last fortnight, hopefully they will make you smile/laugh/not feel as bad if you have sometimes said things to little people that you INSTANTLY regret…
“GO AND SIT ON THE NAUGHTY STEP MUMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
This has been screamed at me several times recently and my reactions have been to:-
- Laugh. This did not impress him. His temper exploded after I laughed. I would not recommend laughing in the face of a child telling you off.
- Ignore. This reaction didn’t really work as he repeated it louder and louder until he was crying with snot exploding from his tiny nostrils like miniature volcanoes.
- I went and sat on the naughty step. I did this out of pure desperation and…..hurrah! It worked!! He started laughing and backtracked saying “oh no mummy I didn’t mean for you to do it, lets go back and play”. He actually hasn’t said this since so I think I won that one.
“GO and sit quietly and THINK about what you just said Mummy”
If I’m being honest I don’t even remember how I responded to this as it was said in the middle of a barrage of ranting from him over breakfast one day when I had only gone and given him the exact breakfast he had asked for and when he said he didn’t want it and I reminded him very gently it was exactly to his VERY specific instructions, he came out with this line. I think we spent about 50 minutes at the breakfast table that day.
“Go to your room - I don’t want you in this room at the moment”
So cringey typing this one as it sounds so harsh (not as harsh as it sounded coming out of his little mouth). I was in a fairly harassed mood when he said this and I will admit (with my hand covering my face as I type this as it sounds so bad) I replied “I really wish I could Aubrey- I would love some time on my own in my room but that's never going to happen is it?!” Bless him, he then half screamed/half pleaded with me to stay and not leave him - which almost definitely broke my heart a little bit.
“Going to bed isn't an option Mummy. Watching another Abney and Teal is the only option available at the moment”
I definitely laughed at this one. For about 5 minutes. An then eventually he started laughing and after another 5 minutes listened to reason and came willingly upstairs to do his teeth. I started doing the ‘option’ thing when I read an article at the time Aubrey started having ‘terrible twos’ (can someone with older children tell me when this ends please as 1.5 years on I’m still waiting) about giving toddlers controlled choices so they feel they have some decisions in their power; even though they can’t decide not to drink anything all day for example). It did work for us but I think now he’s too old for it and just finds it funny to say it sarcastically back to me, which I’m fine with as he delivers the line pretty well for someone who doesn’t yet grasp knock knock jokes.
“uuuhh (enormous sigh) Jesus Christ”
This has been mumbled while struggling to do a zip up, exclaimed indignantly when told he couldn’t have another biscuit and extravagantly sighed when Leo his baby brother knocked over his Mega Block dinosaurs AGAIN. My only reaction to this is to ever so quietly snigger into my sleeve, then find a reason to leave the room and belly laugh to myself before returning fully composed to the room. All I am going to say here is - this is not one of mine; I don’t say this, so I am not going to tackle him on it when he decides to throw it into conversation. Anyway, it would be a comic waste if he stopped saying it.
So what is the morale of this story? Well, I am glad that Aubrey said these things to me. Why?? you may be asking - when it made for horrible screamy/whiney situations and awkward/repetitively painful conversations trying to unpick why he was saying them and how we both felt. But it was such a quick and effective way to hold a mirror up to me and the way I have been telling him off and how it actually FEELS when another human being says things like that to you. And it is NOT a nice feeling (albeit sometimes hilarious coming from a tiny person’s mouth).
Did I manage to fit any sewing lessons with Aubrey in between these lovely episodes? No I did not; the only needle he got close to this week was the ones being pricked into his arms for his booster jabs. I have to say he dealt with this amazingly well but said to me in a miffed tone of voice on the drive home “I didn’t like it when that nurse scratched at my arms like that - that wasn’t very nice of her was it, I wonder why she did that to me”. So I suppose you could say he’s currently developing his moral compass. And I need to try to live by the rule that if I wouldn't want him to say it to me, I should probably hold my tongue until I come up with some alternative phrases that I wont be embarrassed about if he shrieks them out in the middle of John Lewis.