Sophie was whining this morning. I handle crying, screaming, tantrums, arguments, flung food, coloring on things other than paper and about a bazillion other things better than I do whining. I can’t stand whining. I ignored her (but not for long—I can never ignore whining for long, a fault, I know). I told her to stop. And then, I pulled out the big guns. I told her that if she didn’t stop, we weren’t going to go on the play date we were actively getting ready for—something I knew she’d hate to lose. She then gave me the most pitiful look and said, “Mommy, you’re making my heart hurt.”
How does she know such words are the exact thing I need to hear to crumble into someone who totally takes back everything she said, someone who doesn’t follow through, someone who Supernanny would spend an hour chiding on national TV, someone who pulls her whining, not-listening child into her arms and says, equally pitifully, “I’m so sorry! The last thing I want to do is make your heart hurt!”
I’m in so much trouble come her teenage years.
For what’s it worth, we went to our friends’ house (and had a wonderful time). She stopped whining (after hugging her and apologizing to her I did remind her that she was too old to whine but I said it in a much nicer tone). We’ve had a good day.
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did—that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that—a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” —Debra Ginsberg