Thursday, November 29, 2007

Call It Instinct

Women have this longstanding reputation of being "intuitive." We're just naturally bent toward the whole parent thing, it's our gender. Well, not always. But, there is a lot of instinct at work in this whole parenting thing, and less and less of it is my own.

Think about it, the Under-Three Set has limited vocabulary for expressing complex verbal narratives, yet, somehow they all seem to know the same tricks, at the same time. And ALL of them ambush us parents despite our thousands of books, online forums, emails, letters, and desperate calls to friends from the brink of sanity. How do you explain these shared behaviors? Where do they come from? For example:
  1. If she doesn't get what she wants from Mommy, she will immediately turn to Daddy, pitting one against the other. This is lawyer-grade manipulation. WHERE do they learn this? It ain't Elmo, he can't even get his pronouns right.

  2. That meltdown move usually performed in the middle of a crowded store, the one where they drop to the floor and become completely limp. It's impossible to pick them up as they lay there screaming at the top of their lungs.

  3. The absolute ear-ripping tone of whining that can break you. Like those whistles only dogs can hear. Or waterboarding.

  4. An uncanny sense of when and how to screw your whole morning schedule just you are the most late for work, and have a meeting.

  5. The ability to give you just enough positive reinforcement to make you think you get this whole parenting thing just before they totally shatter your illusion.

  6. How to look perfectly angelic while sleeping no matter what they just put you through seconds before they drifted off.

  7. Finally, that incredible ability to see you at your most frustrated and exhausted, and then do or say that one tiny thing that can melt your heart in a second. Ah, kids.


Her Grace said...

Oh, the whining. We are smack dab in the middle of it right now. No matter what's wrong with her, it comes out in a slow whine and she only says one thing,

"Moooommmma, I cold."

No matter how many sweaters I put on her, she keeps whining :).

Great post.

Janet M (at said...

Bad news: It doesn't get much easier as they get older; it just gets frustrating in new ways.