I try to teach the wee ones right from wrong and about how they should behave and the like. Actually, what parent doesn’t try to do that? Of course, some parents have different definitions of right and wrong, but everyone tries at least.
Minor rant: Parking at Little Miss’s preschool is somewhat scarce. You can park along the main entrance, the 8 or 10 parking spots behind the school or on the street, which is actually closer to the entrance than many of the 8 or 10 parking spots. So where do moms choose to park? In the handicap spots and between the handicap spots where the yellow lines are. And they don’t do this just when all other parking spots are full; there are parents who are sometimes one of the first there and still choose to park illegally in the handicap spots. Granted, the likelihood of someone truly needing a handicap spot during dropoff and pickup is slight, but it’s the wrong thing to teach your kids, and it drives me nuts! I won’t even go into the fiasco that was polling day …
Back to teaching my kids….
Every once in awhile, I get an unsolicited please or thank you, and it really makes my day. The wee ones know “the look” when they’re forgetting a please or thank you, and usually I don’t have to ahem to get it.
Sometimes, they even put their dishes in the dishwasher unsolicited. That’s one of their jobs, but generally I have to remind them to do it. And I always have to remind them to hold it level. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cleaned up crumbs from the floor that they spilled on the way to the dishwasher. BUT they won’t learn unless they actually do it, so I just take a deep breath and get out the broom.
I also have a series of books called Help Me Be Good that teach basic concepts like interrupting, lying, overdoing it, cheating, etc. Well ok, to be fair, they teach about them and that those behaviors are wrong. The wee ones love the books, and we read them frequently. Both of them can tell me what each kid in the book is doing that’s wrong and how it makes others feel. Translating that to their own activity though is a bit more of a challenge.
Tattling is Mister Man’s biggest downfall. I get that he’s the big brother and he knows the rules, but he gets a real thrill out of pointing out what she’s doing wrong.
Mister Man: Moooooom, Little Miss is singing at the table again.
Me: I’ll take care of you. You worry about eating your dinner, please.
At that point, we discuss with Little Miss appropriate dinner conversation. It generally doesn’t sink in, but she usually stops singing, probably to laugh at me for trying to explain the whys behind the rules. And what happens thirty seconds later? Mister Man breaks into song. And never gets the irony.
The same thing will happen with popping out of the chairs. Little Miss has a hard time sitting still, but for her own safety, we try to keep her seated in her booster – we generally no longer “get” to buckle her in. As soon as I start hearing the reports that Little Miss is popping up or out or turning around in her chair, I can start the countdown until Mister Man has only half a cheek on the chair or had to go run check something in the other room.
My other favorite is:
Mister Man: Moooom, Little Miss is stepping on the books again.
Me: I don’t need to hear it from you, Sweet Pea. Tattle only when she’s in danger, remember?
Mister Man: But Mooooooom, she’s getting in trouble.
Me: I’ll take care of it. It isn’t your job.
Mister Man: Little! Miss! (with his face all scrunched up in his best imitation of authority) Do not step on the books. That’s a no-no. You’re being naughty.
I try as hard as I can not to laugh, of course. And stepping on books is something we don’t allow, although half the time Little Miss is just oblivious and not trying to do the wrong thing. The other half, well…. And two minutes later, I’ll catch him walking across books to get to something he wants to play with. Needless to say, that’s usually about the time I realize that Daddy hasn’t had them picking up toys after playing with them and it’s time to crack that whip. Fortunately, singing is allowed while cleaning, but if I hear “Everybody clean up, clean up, clean up. Everybody, everywhere. Clean up, clean up. Everybody do your share” I think I have a cleaning switch that automatically turns on now. It’s supposed to work on the wee ones, I know, but I thought I’d be exempt.
As odd as their interpretation of rules is, at least I know something is sinking in, right? And hypocrisy is completely unintentional at this age, isn’t it? Please, please tell me that this changes….