Tag Archives: Screams

Why It’s Always The End Of The World For Your Child

In my house, the end of the world came around with a distressing regularity.

With three young dudes growing up in the same house, being ruled over by the meanest, most horrible dictator ever to put on a pair of pants and then jump up and down on poor, defenseless boys who only wanted so very little. . .

Those poor young dudes. It must have been like living in hell. Only, the thing of it is. . . I was there. It wasn’t hell for anyone. Anyone but an adult in the vicinity.

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You’ve all seen it. Even if you’re not a parent, you’ve seen it.Pulling an ugly face is a regular occurrence for little dudes during their toddler years. And beyond, if I'm being honest.

Something happens and suddenly the world ends for a young dudette, who starts screaming and yelling and crying and throwing herself onto the floor of the grocery store and acting like the end is not only nigh, but already here and wearing spiked heels to step on her.

On a (slightly) less histrionic level, I and probably most parents in the history of history have heard just about every single variation on the phrase, “This was the worst. Evar!”

I mean, seriously. If I hear that again, I just might be the one who screams.

So, yeah. We’ve all seen this sort of thing happen. Something minor rocks the little dude’s world and he reacts like someone tried to cut off his arm and beat his puppy to death with it. (Although that might be a bit of a harsh simile. Accurate, but still harsh.)

The big question (other than, “How do I stop this? Or, barring that, make a clean get away without being caught?) is why? Why do our little dudes and dudettes react so over the top?

The easiest answer is also the one about which we can do the least. They simply have no basis for comparison. When young dudes aren’t yet six or so, they are all about existing in the now.

If it already happened, it doesn’t matter. If it will happen in the future, it doesn’t matter. Right now. That’s all that matters.

Which means that, if a child doesn’t have something right now, at this very moment, it will never happen. They will forever be deprived, just like they have always been deprived of what they want. That’s a hard thing to face, especially for tiny humans who have so little experience.

Which leads us to a second reason. Being young, they have no basis for comparison. When little J’Amelia is mean to your daughter in school, it might be the worst day of her life so far. Really. She might not be exaggerating. Oh, she will experience worse (much, much worse) later in her life, but being young, she still hasn’t enjoyed all of life’s little jokes.

Young dudettes and dudes don’t have the life experience necessary to really make a good comparison between miseries. Stubbing her toe is bad and hurts, but they can’t ask themselves if it’s anywhere near as bad as that time they broke their arm. Or cut open their thumb. Or, really, anything.

Our ability to compare allows us to realize that it’s just pain and we’ve had worse, which allows us to calm down.

And, that’s another thing. We, as adults, are supposed to be rational, thinking beings. (I’m going to be nice and say most of us are, although, in my heart of hearts, I doubt it.) The brains of young kids don’t fully mature until they’re much, much older, say, around 25 or so for boys.

Unfortunately for the ears around them, their limbic system (which controls their emotions) is fully functioning, firing on all cylinders. Toddler brains become flooded with the hormones and neurotransmitters that cause pain and anger and sorrow and all the rest, but they don’t have the cognitive skill and experience to overcome that and regain control of themselves.

Looking back, I’m not sure I was able to offer much in the way of hope for struggling parents. Other than the obvious: This, too, shall pass.

And, though you doubt it in the midst of a truly epic meltdown, it will get better. All you have to do is stay relatively calm and help your little dude through his current issue.

It’s not personal. It’s just what and who they are at the moment. Keep showing good behavior, being a good role model and talking them through their experiences so they learn the right thing and . . . everything should be fine.

I’m going to do you younger parents a favor and not even bring up the teenage years here. Mostly because I’m a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and there’s some stuff up with which no one should put.

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Binky Bucks

The concept of money, superficially at least, is an easy one for most adults to grasp.

You’ve got these little slips of paper with different numbers written on them. You give these slips of paper to someone and that person will give you, well, stuff.

Easy, right? Until you start getting into just what — exactly — that slip of paper is worth. Because, when you get down to it, that slip of paper is only worth something because we — all of us — choose to continue to believe that it’s worth something. The same goes for almost every single currency. If we suddenly believed that the Beanie Baby was the preferred currency. . . It could work.

Still, this abstract sort of thing is difficult for a lot of young dudes and dudettes to grasp.

I don’t think I or my wife, known to me then as She Who Must Be Making Deals, made things any easier for our middle little dude, known to us now as Zippy the College Boy, when we let him pay for something using his binky. For those of you who don’t know, a binky is what we called a pacifier.

So here’s the deal: Zippy the Binky Boy loved his binky. And when I say loved, I mean LLLLOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEEDDDDD his binky. He’d pop it in when he got angry. He’d pop it in when he was contemplative. He’d pop it in when he was sleepy. And, you know the opposite of all those things? Also occasion for him to pop the binky into his mouth and start sucking.

Unfortunately for him, it was time for him to give it up. Mostly because we were getting tired of the sound. Slurp, slurp, slurp. It gets old. And, when he’d lose it in his sleep that led to a lot of loud late-night screams. For his older brother, the proto-Sarcasmo, giving up the binky was easy. He had a horrible cold at 6 months and couldn’t breathe through his nose. So he gave up the binky.

Zippy the Binky Boy? Not so easy.

After more unsuccessful attempts than I care to remember at renaming Zippy the Binky Boy, his mom and I finally hit on a solution. We figured that, since he loved animals, possibly more than he loved his binky, we could use that love to leverage the binky away. If we worked it right, we could actually get him to give away his binky and like it.

So we went for a walk down near a nice bunch of shops, one of which sold toys. We took Zippy the Binky Boy by the place, pointed out the really cool clear plastic tube of animal figures, got him really interested and then forced him to keep walking. He was livid. He wanted that tube of animals.

At that point, his mom snuck away and went back to the store. She went in and found out how much the tube of animals was and then paid for it. Then she put back the tube and told the guy that we’d be coming back and asked if he would pretend to accept the binky as currency to pay for the animals.

He said sure. As long as he didn’t have to actually touch the slimy thing. The binky, not the boy. Not that I could blame him.

And so we took Zippy the Binky Boy back into the store, him sniffling and rubbing away snot and tears on his arm. He saw the tube of animals and clutched them to his chest.

“Mine,” he said.

Then we told him he had to pay for them. He managed to say he didn’t have any money. The store owner played his part perfectly. He leaned down and said that he’d gladly take a binky in payment for the tube of animals.

*pop*

Out came the binky and Zippy the Animal Boy clutched his tube even closer. He stayed happy all the way home until it was time for bed. Then he climbed into bed with his tube of animals and asked for his binky. He needed it to sleep, you see.

We reminded him about how he paid for the tube of animals with his binky.

“Oh, yeah.”

Then he snuggled up to his tube of animals and went right to sleep.

He never looked back, but he did have a habit for several years after of hauling out an old binky he’d found and trying to pay for things with it. We had to tell him it had been a special binky or a special store.

So, why did I go through all this trouble to tell you the story?

No real reason. It’s just that I found the tube of animals in the attic the other day and I couldn’t stop smiling for a long while after so I thought I’d share it with you dudes.

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Nothing To See He–

Not much time left.

The power’s down and I can hear the screams getting closer.

This might be my last missive.

I can’t believe it, really. I made so much fun of the people who thought this was the end.

I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

I was one of the last to look at the sky. One of the last to see what was coming.

Now it’s too late. I want to repent. I want to run screaming for the hills, but it’s too late. Far, far too late.

I was wrong. I was. . .

 

 

I was just kidding!

I mean, seriously, dudes. It’s a joke. There’s no end of the world here today.

Go enjoy the weekend and do some shopping.

Apocalypse? Please.

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