Friday, June 30, 2006

If I can't have wine, you can't have whine.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, friends, books and internet sources all referred to the nerve-wracking tenor of a newborn's cry. So when S came along, I was prepared for the effect that her cries would have on me. I understood why some folks assert that the sound of nails scratching against a chalkboard is preferable to an infant's cry. It gets to your very core and sits there festering -- all you want to do is make it stop. It's probably quite evolutionary: this is how nature ensures that a parent attends to a helpless newborn's needs.

But, WHY didn't someone warn me about a toddler's whining?!?

My daughter is generally a loving, fun, easygoing little kid. Until the whining starts. And it started about three weeks ago and has hardly let up since. She wakes up whining for her milk, or her bunny, or her daddy. Then she whines that she wants me to read her a book, or that she doesn't want me to take a shower, or because she wants a snack. And all day long I am trying to hold my patience and tell her to ask me in her "normal voice" and to "please stop whining". I mean, we're both starting to sound like broken records.

I know I am not alone and that this must be something specific to her age. Many of my other friends with two year olds have reported the same trends in their homes. But the company I have in this misery doesn't make it any easier to bear when S is whining for "more crackers, Mama" for the fortieth time today. There is something so unnerving about the whine that makes me want to bang my head into the wall. In fact, I came up with a list of things that I would be less painful than the constant whining:

1. Answer the phone every time my mother-in-law calls (we're talking 4-5 times a day, people).
2. Open the front door everytime some 20 year old comes to my door selling magazines so that he can earn money for a "school field trip" or "college" or "camp".
3. Watch "Elizabethtown" or "In Her Shoes" again. Awful movies.
4. Have a Plantar's wart removed every day for a year. Without painkiller.
5. Take advanced calculus again.

Obviously, this list is by no means exhaustive, but you get my drift. Right now I am just trying to find ways to get through what I pray is a phase. A short-lived one. I think I am doing the right things -- at least according to my library of child-rearing reference books. I don't respond to requests delivered in a whiny voice; I ask her to use her normal voice; I don't use a whiney tone myself, etc. But, I would love to hear any advice that any other parents might have.

And, you know the worst part is that after a long day, I can't even calm my frayed nerves with a nice glass of wine. Or a stiff vodka tonic. Now that's enough to make you whine.


J Fife said...

Oh, even though this is of no help to you, I can tell you that I feel your pain. My almost two-year-old is driving me crazy! I have no defense for the whine. In less than a minute, I usually cave and give the kid anything that will quiet her. I know that is absolutlely the wrong thing to do, but I just can't take the grating, nerve-wracking sound. I'm weak...

Lady M said...

Mary P at "It's Not All Mary Poppins" is a mom and home day care provider with an awesome blog. She posted on whining (or more specifically, how to get kids *not* to whine) recently: