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)?
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