You know, you do your best to add a little logic into parenting; the only problem is that children don't often respond well to rational arguments.
If at all.
They seem to live in their own little logic-free zones. No. That's not exactly right. They seem to have their own rationale as to what makes sense and what doesn't.
And what makes sense to them rarely makes sense to you.
That thought leads me to several questions that I'm sure there are no answers to, save the infallible illogic of children.
- Why am I expected to respond instantly to "please," when my own polite requests often fall on deaf ears?
Katie wanted to go outside. She was so sweet about asking, adding the required "please," but the approaching darkness and the below-freezing temperatures made her request something I just couldn't grant. That turned her question from a sweet "please" to a more forceful, "I said PLEASE!"
Conversely, when I requested that she please stop asking, my desire was met with stony silence.
- Why do kids ruin their own plates of food -- tipping them onto the floor or pouring juice on top of the mashed potatoes are two favorites at our house --and then eat yours? On the same topic, why won't kids eat their own dinners, but will come and beg bites from your plates when it's the same blasted thing?
- Why, when they're strapped into a car seat, do children yell and scream and cry "it hurts" 14 times over the course of an eight minute car trip, yet they'll spend hours playing in the same seats when they're sitting on the kitchen floor?
- Why do kids kiss up to daddy after they've gotten in trouble with him, but just get mad at mommy when they get in trouble with her? Maybe it's a girl thing; maybe it's just an affliction that affects my children, but their responses to being in trouble are solely gender-based. Grandma and I get the cold shoulder for hours after we've had to punish the girls, whereas punishments from grandpa or daddy create girls that are truly sugar and spice and all that.
- Why do kids -- maybe it's just mine -- smile at the camera only after the picture's been taken? This is a problem that we're slowly improving, but I can't count the number of adorable pictures I've missed because Katie waited until after the flash bursts to be adorable.
- Why do they want to help you at the times that their help will be most destructive to the project at hand and not want to help when it's something they could, and should, handle -- even when you say "please?" As I write this, Nikki's little finger is jabbing at the computer screen, despite my repeated requests that she find some other activity. Earlier requests that she help pick up her toys fell on deaf ears. Affection follows the same principle. There's always a child who wants to cuddle when you're in the middle of cooking dinner, but when the chores are done and you're in the mood to play, they've got better things to do.
And last for now, but certainly not last forever, of parents' unanswerable questions:
- Why do kids always know where my sunglasses are (even when I don't) but don't know where theirs are (even when I do). And even when I know where theirs are and they know where mine are and we happen to know both of those things at the same time, why they prefer wearing mine to wearing theirs.
That's just a taste of the logic that comes with children.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.