Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails...

My oldest son has just discovered that toads live in our yard and he can catch them rather easily.  Umm...gross.  It's not like he just sees a toad and tenderly places it in his bug box.  No, he picks up the toad, squeezes it until it slimes his hand, moves it to his other hand, holds it by the leg, then grabs it around it's belly, before squishing it between both hands, and then places it in his bug box.  Then he proceeds to touch his clothes, mouth, and (aaahhhh!) siblings.  Next, since my four year old is rather impulsive, he will make his way into the house where he rubs his hands on the furniture, kitchen table, and refrigerator while I scramble after him trying to convince him to wash his hands before touching anything in the fridge!  I get squeamish just retelling it!  Now keep in mind as well, that he does this every time he goes outside.

My four year old has also developed an odd habit that my daughter did not: the inability to hear the word no.  Does anyone else have a little boy who hears you every time you say it's time to eat, or play, or have a treat, but somehow, even if he is two inches away from you, can't seem to hear you telling him no?  I can't tell you how many times I have said, "No, no, no, NO!" and not even received a glance over the shoulder.  Really?  He is clever too.  When I ask him why he didn't stop when I said no he will usually respond with, "I didn't know you were talking to me."  Hmmm, I didn't know looking someone straight in the eye while telling them "no" was sending an unclear message about who I am directing that "no" at. 

Okay, so let's try a different approach, shall we?  I mean, I am an education major and I did work with kindergarteners so I should have some other tools at my disposal.  So instead of being a "no" machine, I attempt to avert his attention to a more appropriate activity.  For instance, when he is wrapping his body around the baby like a boa constrictor, I ask him to find her a toy rather than tell him to stop grabbing her.  Or, when he is tackling his little brother to the floor because he has the ball he wanted to play with, I ask him to help me find a different ball.  Unfortunately for me, his ability to block out the word "no" has morphed into the ability to block out any directive that is not one he is interested in hearing.  Yes, my beautiful boy has developed the rare gift of hearing only that which he desires to hear.

So my next strategy is to sit down with him and talk to him before the behavior occurs.  So here's an example.  "It's time to clean up, ok?  Can you do a really nice job so that you don't have to take a time out and we can all go inside and eat?  I know you are an excellent cleaner!"  And he will respond with, "Yes mommy."  So I'll say, "Remember what the consequences are if you are not following directions."  "I'll have a time out."  "Right.  Do you want a time out?"  "No."  "Ok!  Let's see how quickly we can clean up!"  Yet, literally, as soon as we finish our conversation, he is putting the sidewalk chalk in his mouth and running around trying to get his little brother riled up.  Uggghhh.  My head is in my hands now in case you can't tell.

Oh well, at least I know I tried.  Guess I'll try again tomorrow in the hopes that I am somehow able to crack the dome that keeps out that which he does not want to hear!  Please God help me to appreciate my beautiful boy, even in times of frustration.  Thank you for my son, snips and snails and puppy dog tails in all!

Thanks for reading!

Busy Mommy Blogger