Playing Mommy and the Whining Game

My eight year old daughter turns nine next week. As we calculated last night, she is eight and 51/52nds. Yes, it has come to that.

My sweet little soon-to-be nine-year old loves playing “Mommy.” She dotes over our youngest, the toddler. She sneaks off to change his diaper or change his clothes and I’m alerted only by the wild screaming coming from him. He’s not too fond of this game. This must have been how my Lhaso Apso felt when we used to dress him up in baby clothes and push him around in a stroller when I was a kid. Poor dog.

My girl (the only girl, and oldest child) always looks to help when it comes to the baby. She constantly corrects him. I hear things like “No. NO. NO!” and “behave yourself!” that mimic me so well, it’s scary. Hearing her talk to her younger brothers is like playing back a secret recording of myself. It’s from her that I hear how harsh of a tone I must be using with them at times. But, it’s also from her that I see the propensity to love. She oohs and ahhs over the toddler and tells him she loves him.

Of course, she’s still a kid. She’s not a real Mommy, she’s just playing one on TV. That explains this morning’s outburst when she screamed at him to “shut up” so she could hear the show we were watching on PBS. At least I don’t say that! It seems she’s had enough of the toddler’s high pitch screaming technique he uses when he wants something. It is a tad distracting.

I read an article yesterday called “Whining is the worst sound in the world, study confirms.”

It shows how distracted people are when they hear whining. Even non-parents. They had people do tasks, like math, while the researchers played different sounds, like a buzz saw or a baby crying. Turns out, whining is the worst! According to the article, physiologically, we are designed to be annoyed by whining, because it gets our attention. No wonder my daughter told the baby to shut up!

We’ve been working on the whining thing in our house. The older kids know when they do it, I refuse to listen to them. I tell them “I’m sorry, I can’t understand you. You’re whining. If you want to use your normal, beautiful voice, I’d love to hear what you have to say.” It works perfectly on the eight and five year old. But, gee, for some reason, my 17 month old won’t listen to logic! He just screams. We’re trying some baby signs with him, as well as repeating the words for things, over and over.

I’d love to know your success stories. How do you count down on the whining in your house? And, do any of you have any “little mommies” in your home?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 21:39:58

    At a mom’s conference I went to once, the best quote I heard was, “Whining is just manipulation in a cute dress.” So, so true! I always do the same thing, ignore it. I wish I could tell you it goes away all together, but my teenage girls still whine sometimes. Heck, I still whine sometimes!!


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