Like fingernails down the chalk board

Readers of this blog could be forgiven for the belief that I’m a doting, besotted Daddy. So far I have written about my desire for her affection, my need to keep her safe, my fears about the Dad I may turn into and the excitement I have about another bundle of joy entering the Illiterate household.

Sure I’ve written about some harder stuff (projectile vomiting, sleepless nights and sleepless days) but if you weigh up my writings to-date, it’s basically been series of episodes from Family Ties/Full House/Step by Step (you may insert your own cheesy American family based sitcom here but I’m pretty sure I’ve got the best ones covered).

Well there has been a development lately that’s more True Blood than Different Strokes, more Dexter than Growing Pains (as I said – best ones covered). You see lately, my daughter has learned the ability to inflict a pain I never thought possible in nature (ok, slight exaggeration but at the time…). My daughter has developed the whinge.

(If your still reading then thank you; you’ve obviously gotten past your initial response of “harden up princess, what do you think mums around the world put up with everyday”. Either that or you may have the misguided belief that I have some miracle cure for this behaviour.)

Yes, my adorable conversations about her Teddy’s latest adventures have been swapped for the whining tones of my daughter complaining nasally about wanting Pink Teddy NOT Purple Teddy. Regardless of subject, be it wanting to get changed (or not get changed), to get in or out of the car, have have her hair clips in or out, the whinge just sounds the same, over and over and over again.

Maybe I’m finding it hard because in my weeknight-weekend role I don’t get a lot of exposure to whining or maybe, as a noise, the whinge has been specifically tuned to create aural discomfort in anyone nearby. Maybe it’s the ability for my daughter to “lock-in” on a concept and repeat her dissatisfaction over and over and over again. Whatever the reason, I was struck by how powerfully annoying it can be.

The worst part though is… that it works:

“Don’t want to go in the shopping trolley?” – “Fine, walk.”
“Don’t want to eat your breakfast?” – “Easy, don’t.”
“Oh you reeeally want breakfast (now)?” – “certainly sweetheart.”
“Don’t want the blue bowl, but not sure if you want the green one or the red one?” – “No problems, let me continue to bring you plastic Swedish crockery until you find something you like!”

What I have learned is that the other, better half of the parenting team handles this much better than me. Like a war time trauma surgeon, she can block all apparent emotion, stare blankly back at her offspring and simply carry on. “Don’t want breakfast? Sorry it’s hard to understand you with that spoonful off cereal in I just put in your mouth”. But the piles of unused bowls and drink bottles on the kitchen bench show that sometimes even she crumbles.

My fear is that I am willingly participating in raising one of the spoilt children I eagerly looked down my nose at before having my own. My bigger fear is that I am being taught a fiendishly clever cosmic lesson in not judging others whose circumstances I don’t understand. My biggest fear though comes when I think, what if she’s like this when she’s 10, 15, 21…? (keep in mind I thought the same thing about reflux, not sleeping through and late crawling).

So, does your kid’s whinging affect you or am I simply a princess in need of toughening up? Is this a phase, a new found skill my daughter has developed to manipulate her world that should be celebrated or even worse, it is due to her push over parents (read Daddy)?

Linking up with Diary of a SAHM for IBOT,  Twinkle in the Eyewith some grace and you know it happens in your house too for the Friday Linkups and Blog Hops.

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34 Responses to Like fingernails down the chalk board

  1. Mac says:

    I hate the sound of whining children – I have moderate success with mine by refusing to understand them until they speak in a proper voice (doesn’t stop them starting far too many requests in whine voice though sadly).

  2. There is nothing more annoying! Rachel

    #teramIBOT was here

  3. Ames says:

    I give in easily to whinging sometimes too. I know consistency is key but it’s so annoying and patience isn’t always available. Good luck!!

  4. lyndal says:

    whinging anyone is a pain in the butt, let alone from a kid LOL!


  5. This is brilliant – you are so funny. I love the bit about the cosmic lesson – totally relate to that!

  6. heheh I had a little chuckle… my husband is very much like you…

    I say no, he says ok what about this..

    #teamIBOT was here to say hello!!

  7. daddownunder says:

    We have a good cop bad cop routine in our house, somehow I became bad cop and give Max a bit of tough love (if you can call not giving him everything his heart desires tough love?), Mum is there to do the opposite. Do not convince yourself that anyone except the toddler is in charge.

  8. Ok I’m gonna say it: toughen up! But not in the sense that you become immune to the wingeing, to the point that you will not accept the winging. If she wants something she asks nicely or misses out, and if you give her something and she doesn’t want it, tough cookies!
    This part is easier for you because you only have to be an ogre in the afternoon and on weekends, while your poor wife has to be frustratingly consistent all day long. But guaranteed, it does work!
    My kids are pros now and switching their tone of voice to a more ‘agreeable’ sound. 😉

  9. mamagrace71 says:

    There are days when I would rather lie on a bed of nails than hear the twinlets whinge. Especially yesterday when I had a splitting headache.
    I’m trying to teach the boys to get out of the habit and to ask for things nicely. It’s work in progress. Slow progress. But I think we’re getting there.
    But yeah, I’m with Jess – Toughen up, princess 😉

  10. Oh i have a whining child. It’s terribly annoying. With a house full of girls there is a lot of whining going on here

    • I gave my boys credit for their dedication in finding the pitch and tone that really grates the most. It took a lot of practise!

      We’ve moved from the whinge to the tantrum to the sulk, and they’ve finally settled on a compromise that involves all three.

      My latest technique is to imitate their tantrum and roll around the floor with them until they feel sufficiently mocked or forget why they were whingeing in the first place.

      I’m pretty sure this will inevitably result in a hefty therapy bill in later years but if they show the same dedication at school they’ll be able to afford it?

      Saying all that, if I look through my own blog then every post seems to make mention of a tantrum so probably best to ignore everything I’ve just said!

      Mark, Sonny, and Luca

  11. kyl21z says:

    I must admit Mia has mastered the sooking without words and I am seriously terrified for the time when she does have words to use. I must admit I am much more of a hard ass when it comes to her sooking though, as evidenced by the fact that now if she starts to sook while sitting in her high chair I only have to give her a look and the noise stops….I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

  12. kimbalikes says:

    Everyone thinks someone else has better behaved and worst behaved children than their own. Rest assured, we’re all dealing with levels of this! x

  13. Zanni Arnot says:

    Yep, know that feeling too well! I have a very short fuse for whingeing…My response now is to breathe in deeeeply and try and respond in my nicest voice possible, because it makes me feel better than using my cranky voice. Sometimes I just jump up and down in a cranky (funny) way, and flap my arms and say “Enough enough enough” and my daughter giggles and stops whingeing. It is one of my biggest hurdles as well Kevin.

    • morander says:

      Great advice. My most redeeming feature appears to be the ability to be silly so I may need to give this a try.

      Thanks for (continuing) to pop by – great post this week.

  14. Trish MLDB says:

    I always live by the motto – pick your battles. Sometimes it doesn’t matter and whinging does annoy me more.

  15. Kelly HTandT says:

    The whining gets worse, because they get smarter, and eventually you learn to tune them out! My 4yr old now present rational arguments in a whiney voice and my god I’ve started to just wake away. I now understand the origins of “because I said so”!

  16. Sorry kid your mom doesn't play well with others says:

    Ear buds! I can’t deal with whining it makes me rabid. I have a few times started singing really loudly and nasally and when they stop and ask why just say “oh I thought that’s what we were doing” I mean nothing will ever cure it but maybe you can get a laugh out of throwing a kid off guard?

  17. iSophie says:

    4 different whiners in this house, feel your pain.

    (popping in from fybf)

  18. Enid Bite'Em says:

    One of the ‘preventative’ measures is supposed to be offering choices, you know “do you want to wear the red or blue t-shirt today” … so that they feel they have choice or control, but this still turns into a whinge “why can’t I wear the yellow top? You know that’s my favourite!” What?! (The book I was reading didn’t explain what to do about that!) I use the tactical ignoring, and waffle on about what I’m doing instead, occasionally checking in, “do you want your breakfast yet? No, okay, well ” [then walk away a bit] “look at this dishwasher, I think it didn’t work very well last night because … ” while he fades into the background, or stops, usually sits there angry for a minute and then comes back with a nice comment … at the moment he’s whinging at me to get off the computer! Tactical ignoring going on as I type!!

  19. Sim says:

    When my 4 year old was younger she used to have “silent” tantrums, which just involved lying on the ground doing nothing. I loved that arrangement, very happy to wait out a quiet protest. Unfortunately now she and her little brother are fluent in the languages of “whinge” and “tantrum”, but unfortunately for them, their mother has very little shame and will actively engage in her own whinge and tantrum to counteract theirs. It’s funny how quickly they forget their problems when they are laughing hysterically at their mother who is banging her fists and kicking her feet on the ground. I like to keep them on their toes!

  20. My son’s discovered wingeing lately. Everything’s “I can’t do that” (as though he really wants to, but is unable to!). Please advise if you find a cure 🙂

  21. Camilleta says:

    Oh there is no noise more annoying. I deal with it by turning on music. It’s a win/win because we both like it. 🙂

  22. bigalittleamom says:

    I cannot hear them if they whine…that’s what I tell them. So, even if they are two inches from my ear, making the most irritatingly whiny noises, I cannot hear them. If I can’t stand it, I walk away but usually, they follow :(. My younger one has a very (amazingly) stubborn nature, so the only option is to distract him otherwise, he is ready to whine and scream all night for what he wants.

  23. Emily says:

    Whinging is horrible, but manageable so far. At the early end of two, I’m sure my little one is just warming up though.
    I’m learning to pick my battles. Sure you can wear the summery party dress to the pool in the middle of winter. Sure you can take three stuffed animals to the park with us. But you are not, I repeat NOT, walking through this carpark without holding my hand. Or jumping on your bed. Or climbing onto the stove.
    Tough, aren’t I?!

  24. We are starting to get tanties whenever I say she can’t do something. I think it’s time for me to read up on discipline. I too cringe at the idea of raising on of those spoiled brat… Argh. I totally understand how it happens now.
    PS. We nominated you for an award:

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