Parents, are you ever surprised by the creative completely not-well-thought-out things we say when our kids are acting out? This morning was one of my finer moments of linguistic lashouts. Calmly, of course. We don’t yell in this house, we only very sternly, sometimes loudly, express our displeasure at naughty behavior.
First of all, child #1 was distraught because I had the audacity to get child #2 ready and dressed for the day first. Apparently I am supposed to know that SHE wanted to get dressed first…obviously. Clearly I misunderstood her lack of response to my call to come upstairs and get ready as disinterest. Child #2 happened to decide she needed to go potty at that moment. She was halfway undressed already I figured, why not?
Little stomps up the stairs, round the corner into the bathroom, then….
“AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! BUT I WANTED TO GET READY FIRST!” Tears begin to fall. Hard.
Rationale explanation failed. Redirection failed. Promise to get her ready first for bedtime made matters worse. Prompting to get ready anyway so I wouldn’t be late to work- failed. So, I ignored. Behavior extinction theory. Also, failed. Ten minutes of flailing in the hallway and guttural noises of a bear. I lost my cool. Very sternly came the words out of my mouth…”If you don’t stop making that noise and pull yourself together I am going to pick you up and put you outside, in the cold, in your pajamas, and leave you there with the squirrels.”
Classic stuff. Good shock value. Confusion Theory. With the squirrels?? Mom wins. Squirrels are terrifying. Child #1 pulled herself together.
I did thank her for calming down and told her that I was sorry I didn’t know that getting dressed first was so important to her, and that even though I didn’t like the behavior, I still loved her. Then we hugged. That’s what she gets having a mommy who is a social worker and a writer. Calm, but stern creative threats and a hug afterwards.
What’s the strangest thing that’s come out of your mouth when kids are acting up? I’d love to know I’m not the only one who has these moments.