Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crazy Talk

Our little bird (e.g. our child, you know I like nicknames) attends an "Early Learning Center". We have discovered ELCs are much, much different than "daycare." How did we learn this? When we paid tuition. Oh, its the same as private schools for high school kids? Nice.

But, he loves it, is excelling there, and I never felt any maternal angst leaving him in their care. In addition, most of the parents there seem great and the kids seem to truly benefit from the educational focus and overall environment. That is why I was surprised to overhear the following conversation down the hall of school yesterday as I walked with little man to his class.

Mom: Will, hurry up. We have to get to your class. (She is 40 paces in front of a little boy about 18 months or so.)

Will drinks his juice and continues walking.

Mom: Fine. I don't care if you hurry. Take ALL the time you want.

Will drinks his juice and continues walking. He is actually moving but come on, his legs are little and he's not a baby cheetah.

Mom: WILL HURRY UP. I am SERIOUS!!! (Rarely do you see parents acting/talking/behaving this way in our school. By all means, I am sure most of us wait until we are home at least!)

Will drinks his juice and continues walking.

Mom: It doesn't matter to me if you hurry at all. Walk as slowly as possible.

Will drinks his juice. He does not appear confused but I am certain I do.


Will drinks his juice. Its a long hallway, trust me.

Now, I don't know about Will, but I am thinking what in the @*^# are you talking about? I am all for reverse psychology when it needs to be implemented. Even without a psychology degree, I am confident that you don't alternate between directives and reverse psychology ten times in less than one minute. I am certain you aren't using sarcasm. And I like sarcasm (a lot). But you know who doesn't like sarcasm? Tiny people who barely grasp the English language, think their teddy bear is real, and still wear diapers. We don't use sarcasm in front of our son and he can recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance. But he is only two. Don't you have to wait until your child is at least, I don't know, ten before you introduce sarcastic statements? I hope we never do but I am not making promises. I will attest that we can wait until he is at least exponentially older than he is now.

So if it isn't sarcasm, what exactly is that pattern of dialogue you are whipping around this morning? Should you not choose one approach? It was a little bit like "which way is this bird flying." Which may explain why Will wasn't altering his pace at all because give it one more nanosecond, and she would go right back to "I don't care how fast you walk".

So which is it? You do care about speed and expediency in arriving at the classroom? Or you do not?

I made a tiny note to self: Don't talk this way. It apparently has no impact on your audience, and well, you sound just a little bit crazy. Children will learn this technique quickly. They will have the ability to use it against you one day. Don't give them ammo before they have earned it.

And yes, I can appreciate that Mom may have been having a bad morning. However, crazy talk only makes it worse. You know why? Because all the gibberish wasn't changing the outcome. AT ALL. And even when I am tempted to communicate this way, I will remind myself that Will looked cool as a cucumber while his mom was getting just a wee bit foamy at the mouth.


MJenks said...

Reverse psychology might be nice and all, but that's more like pendulum psychology.

I'm sure Will was like, "Jesus, mom, which is it? Eff that, I'm gonna enjoy my juice and get there on my own sweet time."

the girl with the pink teacup said...

I think you have to find a way to free Will(y). The poor child will need tranquilisers before age 10.

Cinnamon said...

I sympathize with Will. I am always a few paces behind my companion when I am walking. Take my time, look around. Maybe just allow more time to walk to school, and then enjoy the walk.

Sandy said...

Yes, I've learned that kids don't understand sarcasm until they're twenty-five, and sometimes not even then.

Metropolitan Mum said...

What? No sarcasm for nappy-wearers? Damn it. Can I go back and start again, please?

Schmoochiepoo said...

Well it's obvious Will has figured out his loony mom's gig cause he just carried on sipping his juice.
Smart kid. :)

Keely said...

lol! That's totally my kid. I rarely get frothy at the mouth, but when I'm having an off day and I'm in a hurry, he COMPLETELY IGNORES ME. Normally he's pretty easy-going with the suggestions.

So who's getting trained then? ;)

Maggie May said...

Being consistent with a child is the answer I think.
All my grandchildren take ages to get them to move out of the house, so I have empathy with anyone who finds this difficult too.
Thank you for visiting me.

J.J. in L.A. said...

Sarcasm, when used properly, is always good. Doesn't matter at what age it's learned.

I was already using sarcasm by age 10. Of course, I had 5 brothers to harass.

jen said...

Methinks mummy’s banter to Will may actually have been for the benefit of yourself and other parents within hearing range. The subtext may have gone something like, ‘I know we’re late but I’m not a bad mum…see, look what happens when I try to encourage him? …and when I let him go at his own pace?……I’m a good parent….honest!’

BTW, thanks for visiting me.

UPrinting said...

My mom uses sarcasm on us too. But not like this! She obviously doesn't know how to be sarcastic. This post should be entitled "How not to use sarcasm" or something like that. :D