And Another Thing: Wah, Wah, Waaaah

Friday, November 11, 2011

When I caught up to him, my heart was beating in my throat. I was angry, but more scared. I wanted to grab him, shake him, yell so he would understand that he was never to do that. Never to break away from my hand and dash into the parking lot, where cars were moving — more like zipping — through the twilight; the drivers unaware of little bodies running below their line of sight.

When I caught up to him, I grabbed his arm and dropped down to his height. He was giggling. Clearly this little jog was fun for him. He had paid no mind to the car that was making its way up the uneven path toward us.

When I caught up to him, I told him, sharply, that he must not do what he just did. Then I picked him up and took him to our car, buckling him in his car seat without doling out any of my usual kisses and tickles. In fact, I was silent, giving him a hard look just before closing his door.

He started tearing up.

And I melted.

I waited for a few more seconds before turning around in my driver’s seat to explain why I was upset. Talking to my little son in the clearest terms I could figure for a 2.5-year-old to follow, I realized he didn’t really understand. All he knew was: Running! I like running! I’m out with my mama and I’m going to run! Yaaay!

It made me wonder if to him my scolding voice sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher … waaah waaanh waaaah.

I also wondered if anything I said about the dangers of running into the road actually computed to this kid and, more important, sank in. Did he get the message? But then I snapped out of my momentary lapse of mom sense. The fact is, even if my son heard every word of my warning, I will undoubtedly be repeating it soon. At the end of the day, he’s a toddler, a child, and part of my job as a parent — especially in these early years — is to be a bit of a broken record.

Let’s just hope I won’t sound like a sad, out-of-tune, wah-wah trumpet for too much longer.

Parents, how do you talk to the young ones so they hear you (or at least sort of hear you)?

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