There’s no way to always know what your child is going say; either in private or public, but there are a few things all parents know they will encounter at some point. Just as we can’t always know when or what our kids will say there’s not always a right reply. Today’s post is about things I fully expect to hear from my daughter and some things I have heard as a nanny as well as my responses or ones I learned from my parents and friends.
Things Kids Say;
1. ‘No!’ – Ahh the dreaded ‘No’, every kid gets this one. It’s usually somewhere in the first few years of their speech that this phase comes along. They are so used to hearing the adults around them saying it to them and others that it’s only to be expected that they would pick up this denial.
‘Baby, it’s nap time.’
‘Baby, it’s time for dinner.’
‘Baby, do you want to go to the park?’
Sometimes, especially in the beginning kids don’t always use ‘no’ at the proper moments and fail to realize they are turning down a treat. I found that replying with another question usually ended up with the same response, so I would try to turn my reply into a statement, something like ‘But you know the park is where the swings are.’ By, adding a little exciting detail the ‘No’ mostly stopped coming, not always but more then half the time. Of course, this didn’t always work, especially with the younger ones but we can’t always stomp our feet and say ‘Too bad, because I say so!’ even if we want to.
2. ‘Why?’ – This one never stops, even when they’re older you’ll still get this one, just with a few added words thrown in in the case of teenagers. With littles, it sometimes feels like any time you say anything you’ll be hit with a ‘Why’ and after you answer it’ll be another ‘Why’ and ‘I Dunno’ just isn’t a good enough reply. It can drive you batty. This one is harder to step away from if you’re in the car or somewhere that makes it hard to distract them from the fun of constantly saying ‘Why’ but if you’re able I found that distraction worked best for me. I would never immediately try to turn their attention because asking questions is part of how little kids learn and process but after 5-10 minutes of it I figured once I was making up answers it would be more harmful to continue. I didn’t want any of my charges to wonder into kindergarden one day and telling all their friends that the dinosaurs died out because they didn’t listen to their mothers and brush their teeth or something crazy.
3. ‘I don’t like it.’ Obviously most kids don’t like the dentist, I’m talking about the new food ‘I don’t like it’s.’ As much as we want to ask if they are psychic, that’s not the best way to go. Did you know that studies have shown it takes the average taste buds up to seven times experiencing a new food for our bodies to develope a taste for it? I didn’t until recently, but there you have it.
My parents always went the whole ‘If you don’t eat it for dinner you can have it for breakfast cold’ route. Not fun, and always worse in the morning than the night before, or if we wouldn’t eat enough we got no dessert or treats afterwards. I didn’t like this way and tried a different tack. I just didn’t tell the kids what they were eating when they were younger.
‘It’s dinner.’ was what I stuck to.
‘But it looks funny/different/yucky.’
‘Oh well, it’s all we have today.’ Then I would start to eat my meal, ignoring their pouting faces. Usually I would make exaggerated faces of satisfaction and ‘Mmm’ sounds and unless they were being really stubborn most of the kids would at least try it without too much whining. Once they did try it all I asked was for a certian number of bits or a set amount to be eaten. This worked pretty well, I got the kids I looked after eating Indian food with almost no fuss.
4. ‘I Hate you!’ – I never got this one, but I remember saying it to my parents when I was younger. Always in anger and when I felt I was being unfairly treated. I still remember what I got in reply, sometimes they yelled it back when I was in a particularly rotten mode but usually in a scolding tone. My parents would always say ‘That’s ok, I love you enough for the both of us.’
I was definitely not an angel and went through a pretty awful patch when I was 14-15, I was very sick and house bound for most of it. I was a terror. I can’t imagine how hard it was for my parents to say this and not respond in an equally cutting way. Now that I’m older I know it would have hurt to hear your child shout those words at you and yet they always tried to not retaliate. The funny thing is, it actually did help, I cooled off sooner and was usually able to see their side more easily. It also always made it easier to apologize later on knowing they weren’t going to hold it against me. This is one I wholly have taken to heart and plan to keep in my parenting arsenal in case the Little Miss decides to whip this phrase out on me.
5. ‘But it’s not fair!’ – Obviously life isn’t fair and at some point most people snap and say so to kids, but it shouldn’t be the go to reply. Yes, it can seem like the kids are wailing this constantly and bemoaning that we’re not letting them get their way, but the least we can do is cushion the realization that life isn’t all ‘Me me me’ and ‘I want, I want, I want’s. There is no ‘right’ response to this, it’s situational, but I always tried to explain why I was making the choice I did, and yes, I would get a ‘Why?’ or ‘No!’ sometimes, but just revert back to my earleir notings of how I dealt with those phrases.
Since I don’t yet have a child who is talking yet I figured I would let you in on some of the unexpected little things I’ve been privy to hearing over the years. When I first started looking after the last set of children I was a nanny for they were 9 (boy), 2 (girl) and a belly (boy), they are in order of age; Con-Man, Bean and Roni.
Bean was sucking on a popsicle one summer afternoon and wondering around the yard while her mother and I chatted. We happened to be just a few feet away and watching her when she dropped her popsicle on the side walk.
Her little shoulders slumped and she looked at her fallen treat and in the saddest, funniest little voise said ‘Oh cwap.’ She was 2 1/2 and neither of us had any clue she knew that mini curse or where she had picked it up from (we think her mechanic dad). Do you know how hard it is to tell a toddler that something they’ve said is not ok while you’re dying of laughter? Yeah, that hard.
I used to have a mole just next to my arm pit. The two littlest loved it. When they were tiny they liked to rub it lightly as if it were a teddy or good luck charm. I kid you not that it was something they did for comfort, their mom had a mole on her torso below her clavicle and they did the same thing to it. I had it removed almost 2 and a half years ago. The first time I saw them after it was removed and healed they asked to see it and touch it like usual and when I told then it was gone they didn’t believe me. I showed them the little pink scar and they were horrified ‘But you’re ugly now! Put it back’. Talk about a confidence booster.
I think it’s important for people to feel comfortable in their own skin naked, maybe we shouldn’t run around outside nude, but letting kids pre or post bath/shower run around the house naked I think is fine and good for their sense of body image. When Roni was around three I came across him lying on the floor in the living room watching TV. He was naked and leaning against one of the big couch pillows. His back was to me and I couldn’t see what he was doing.
‘Whatcha doing there Roni?’ I asked.
The little man turned his head and gave me the sweetest most innocent smile, “I’m playing with my Willie!” and then he showed me. That was an awkward talk we had about touching is ok in private but not for public and yes he named his penis ‘Willie’. He still calls it that.
I almost forgot the mention the ‘Skinny-dink’ incident. Yep, skinny-dink. I don’t know if ‘Sharon Lois and Bram’ was aired anywhere other then in Canada but I used to LOVE that show. I saw them live and watched it constantly as a kid with my brothers. When I started watching the kids I would sing the ‘Skinamarinky Dinky Dink’ song to Bean, hand motions and all. We made this a daily habit. She loved it too. Her parents had no clue we did this and one day while her mother had business guest over Bean wondered into the dining room and asked if they would do the ‘Skinny-dink’ with her. They didn’t know what she meant and she kept saying it over and over until she finally broke out into the song, until that moment I’m told all the adults stood back in minor horrified silence trying to figure out why a 2 1/2 year old was talking to them about dinks. After they realized what Bean meant they laughed but until then it was uncomfortable I guess.
There countless funny and awkward things kids say; we all hear them, some just stick in our heads a little more. If you have any more that your kids or kids you know have said and stuck you feel free to let me know. I love hearing about them.