Friday, June 5, 2009


One of the joys of being a mother is realizing that you are supposed to have an answer for everything. Reuben's "Why" phase started while Grammie and Pappie were here. At first I was happy that he was in his "Why" phase, because he just wanted to know more... but it quickly morphed into, "But, Why?" in a whiny tone. I think this is pretty typical of three year olds. This phase is pretty challenging for my creative thinking, because I don't think "Thats the way it is," is a good enough answer, and not just because it doesn't stop the "Why's." Our answers get thrown back at us in surprising ways, which means he is listening, trying to understand, and remembering. That means I need to be careful what answers I give, because it is just a matter of time before he explains something to someone who will be shocked at my view of things.

"I'm not very good at..."

We will be walking home, and if Reuben wants to stop he will say, "But, I'm not very good at walking." I tried to say, "Oh, but you are good at walking, look how far you have come and you can go the rest of the way!" He will stop dead in his tracks and yell, "BUT, I'M NOT VERY GOOD AT WALKING." So I started to say, "Oh, thats too bad. Show me how bad you are at walking." He will then walk the rest of the way home with no more mention of it.

He says he's not good at eating, sleeping, telling stories, singing, dancing, running. "Show me how bad you are" works for them all. Lest you think I am a horrible mother I will tell you that since I've had to encourage him to show me how bad he is I have been trying to slip in positive reinforcement more regularly.

"But I HATE..."
He hates being good, sharing, eating, waiting, talking, saying I'm sorry, giving hugs, getting hugs, walking, sitting, sleeping, staying awake, etc. This is his response to most requests, commands, and suggestions.

The thing that seems to work best is, "Well, sometimes you just have to do things you hate." At least is stops the arguing, it doesn't always get him to do it.

"Its my what-the-piddity-stick"

I have no clue what this is, what it means, or where it came from, but most sticks he finds are that kind of stick.

"Oh! the sun is setting" and "I woke up because the sun is bright."

I've managed to train Reuben to put himself to bed when the sun starts to set. We need to get some black out curtains for his room because as the nights get shorter so does our sleeping time.

He has a fabulous vocabulary. We owe this to a few things, but at the top of the list is Sesame Street, and also I refuse to dumb down my words (unless of course I am writing and I just can't figure out how to spell the word I really want to use). He often makes my heart happy when he says things like, "Sometimes you get angry because you are frustrated, right mommy?" "Turn off the music, it is distracting me." "Flowers don't evaporate."


Rachel said...

Brecken-- thank goodness I read your blog. You're a dang-good mom, and I'm learning so much from you. If I ever get married and have children, can I call you up for advice?

Kourtney said...

We have troubles with the "why?" phases too. We have also tried to not answer with, "Because I said so" or any other such non-answer, but it does get tough. One of the best solutions we've found is turning the question back to the kid with, "Well, what do you think?" which usually starts a discussion. It also helps the kids to realize that most things don't have easy answers.

"Show me how bad you are" is great. When Aaron was younger we would say things like, "There's no way you can put your shoes on by yourself. That would be way too hard for a three-year-old," in a really exaggerated voice. That worked pretty well, too.

Tammy Lorna said...

What wonderful phases :) I can't wait till my neice starts talking!

xo Tammy

PS. I totally get the whole "I would use bigger words if I could figure out how to spell them" thing... :)