And the parenting award goes to…

Kid, in a 60 degree house, is intoning, over and over, “I’m hot. I’m hot.”

I just hollered “Stop saying that; I don’t care.” Roll out the red carpet, I know I’ve been nominated.

Come on. He’s wearing shortie jammies, he’s on top of the covers. He’s fine.

And he’s been up no fewer than three times (next time gets the door shut completely, so he won’t be up again) to tell me that his friends don’t all fit in the bed. The whole day was about how they, they being Clementine the rabbit, Oliver the dog, Pizza the zebra, Uncle Bear the bear, Madeline the monkey, and Biff the Billy Goat, don’t fit in the dining room chairs and in the small table’s benches, and in the small orifice where I crammed them all by about 5pm.

Now he’s intoning, “Where’s Daddy? Where’s Daddy?”

Man, that kid knows on which side his bread is buttered.

Warning: fugitive at large

Police in the Bay Area are looking for the perpetrator of a heinous crime: teaching a three-year old to say, “Whatever, Mommy” in response to her urgent requests to “listen to her words”.

The authorities have a few suspects in their sights. First, the father of said three-year-old, who has been known, in both times of calm and of rage, to tell his wife, “Oh, whatever.” Also on the suspect list is grandma, who has been witnessed on numerous occasions to roll her eyes and sigh, “what-eeeever.” The select few who have seen both these suspects use the epithet in question have also been known to shoot her disparaging looks while intoning, “oh, right, like you’re perfect.” Police are afraid that if they don’t capture the Whatever Bandit, the toddler might become a snide, sarcastic preschooler.

The suspects were reported to police by the child’s mother, after she gave him a timeout and told him he could say ‘whatever’ to the cats or the ants that are overtaking the house, but not to people. When asked why she was so shaken by the child’s response to her requesting that he pull the drain plug at the end of bathtime, she answered that she is terrified that preschools won’t admit him, after the two year waiting list finally clears, because of his tween-y behavior.

“I’m just desperate to get him in the care of some responsible, child-development expert who will reinforce the gentle discipline we’ve tried to teach,” she says. “Or anyone else who will have him. If they refuse to admit him because he rolls his eyes and bleats his little falsetto ‘whatever’ to teachers, what the hell am I going to do?”  The bags under her eyes tell a tale of strained patience, as do the nervous tics we noticed while reporting this crime.

When asked if she, by chance, could have used the term, “whatever,” even in passing, she adamantly denied it. “Of course not. I’m very careful with my words. We say ‘you’re doing it yourself’ not ‘good boy;’ we say ‘you must have worked hard on this, you should be proud of yourself,’ instead of ‘I love this!’; and we always use ‘I love you and I don’t love hitting’ instead of ‘you’re going to go live with your uncle if you hit again, you terrible little terrorist!’ But if you don’t believe me, whatever.”

If you have any information about the whereabouts of the reckless cad who taught this small child such language and its appropriate use, please call your local FBPI (Federal Bureau of Parental Insanity) branch. They are willing to let drop the whole “who taught him to yell ‘dammit’ every time he drops something” issue, since they know it was reinforcement by both of the aforementioned parents that solidified that one.

Ah, perspective.

After getting so far in the weeds I couldn’t see the sky anymore, I grabbed my copy of Elizabeth Pantley’s The No Cry Discipline Solution.

I’m feeling much better now. A bit of perspective, a few new techniques, some reinforcement for our AP style, and a welcome reminder that all the stuff I used to do was very well grounded in child development and therefore might work again.

Sigh. Pantley brought some welcome help for our sleep issues (not a solution, by any stretch, but some help) and is now my new best friend for getting back to teaching and away from yelling. She might just be my Valentine this year.