Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Okay, so this is probably obvious to everyone, but I've really learned that most of what comes out of our children's mouths could be a direct quote from one of their parents. This isn't always a bad thing, as I've mentioned before, given that we do from time to time have good things to say. And everything is open to interpretation.

Case in point: Rowan, our temper tantrum title holder, can really throw them. And once he gets started, he only gets worse unless we can help him calm himself down. I've been trying the "take a few deep breaths" trick, which doesn't always work but often distracts him just enough from his screaming to start the calming process. Well, the other day at nap time they were both in Kemper's bed (just the latest in a long line of stalling tactics, but I digress), and something happened that set Kemper off. He screamed for me to come up, and was howling incoherently while Rowan lay still and angelic next to him. Rowan looked up at me, gently placed his hand on Kemper's shoulder, and said, "I want he to take a deep breath". How sweet is that?

Of course, there's always the other end of the spectrum, when they repeat things you wish you'd never said in their presence. Like when Kemper gets really angry and, in his gravelly angry daddy voice says, "Dammit Rowan!" Or like earlier today when Rowan was pushing all my buttons and earning himself multiple consecutive time outs and Kemper said, "Mommy when you shout at us it pisses me off." Yikes. Did I actually say that?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Kemper has become a champion user of the word "why". He's a textbook case, actually. Lately it seems that no matter what you say to him, he'll ask why (when he isn't shouting "no!", that is). And when you tell him, he'll respond to your answer with another why. Arrrgh. It's enough to drive a person nutty.

I can understand the significance of this stage - he's taking in so much information all the time, and this new word can help him make sense of things. Now that the boys talk so well, I sometimes forget how much they still don't know about life, the world, the way things work. So I try to be patient, and try to answer all of the questions. Which doesn't mean I don't sympathize with the comment I read somewhere recently (maybe in one of my parenting magazines?). A father said that sometimes when he just can't deal with answering any more questions, he'll say, "No one knows why". I haven't tried that one yet, as I think it might be lost on Kemper at this age.

But I've been thinking about Why now that I hear it so often, and I realized that we never stop asking it. Or at least, I don't. We just don't often ask it out loud. There are so many things I'd love to know why they happened, or why I do some of the annoying things I do. I suppose in some ways, I have to admire the way that a three year old believes that there is always an answer. At what point, I wonder, do we learn that this just isn't true?