Let Me Tell You a Story

…. about a little man named, “Shh.” Yes. AGAIN.

When Cole has nothing to say, he finds something to say. He makes noises, mumbles incoherently, and sings Decemberists songs (The Engine Driver is his go to, but he really only knows the chorus so he walks up and down the hall singing, “I’m an engine driiiiiiiiveeeeeeerererer.”) There is quiet in my house only when he’s sleeping, and that’s not even a mild exaggeration.

When he and Hayden were about two, Karen and I took the 1.5-hour drive to Rutherfordton, NC to check out the town’s awesome children’s museum. Cole yapped the entire time. No, you aren’t hearing me on this. When I say he talked the entire hour and a half I mean that quite literally. Hayden stared desolately out the window. Cole chatted to the back of his head. About 15 minutes out, Karen said that she didn’t think she could be his mother.

“I really couldn’t. I don’t know how you deal with that.” She smiles, but she’s deadly serious.

I thought he talked a lot, but the shocked expressions and exclamations of, “My, he’s a chatter,” have confirmed that he really never shuts the hell up. Oh, and got this little gem upon picking him up from school on Thursday:

Entire day in time-out? Check.

Sweet, innit? The consequence of this was the taking of five trains, which is really the only way to rock his little world. I took the trains and put them atop the refrigerator. He wailed and I pulled him into a hug. Children, let me tell you a little truth: When your momma said that punishing you hurt her too, she wasn’t lying. It breaks my heart – not just his sadness. It’s not just that, because sadness is a part of life. What paaaaaains me is his behavior. When he is snide to me or to others or when he demonstrates a lack of care and respect.… it makes me sad. There you go.

So I hold him close and we talk and I explain this, that his behavior hurts his teacher and hurts the other children. I explain that no one wants to be ignored. No one wants to feel not listened to. He seems to be getting it. He sniffles.

“Can I have my trains back now?” He looks to the top of the refrigerator where five battery-powered trains wait, silent.

“No. Five days.”

He glares at me, narrows his eyes. “This is your fault!”

That could be true. I don’t know.  What I do know is that I’m not going to listen to that bollocks from a sullen, sarcastic, back-talking kid. So I sent him to his room to cry/berate me from his bed. My advice? I don’t think I have any at this point; I’m working through it. Stick to yer guns? Maybe. Stay tuned.

And here they will stay.



Filed under Raising Kids

9 responses to “Let Me Tell You a Story

  1. Dan

    All I can say is I am thankful everyday my parents were my parents and not my friends! I was a kid, they were the adults…..as a result I’m not now in prison…..or dead….which is where I was headed….from a very young age! You go girl.

  2. Ah, yes. The trains used to be our go-to punishment. Now it’s the Mario Kart Wii. Red light day at school? The Wii does NOT go on. Suck on that, kid. (I don’t usually say that last part.)

    Keep on keeping on, sister.

    • sarafraser

      You know, as much as I rail against technology and technological toys, at this point I’m so ready to move on from trains that I’m considering buying the kid a gaming system of some sort. Good to see you, Mister.

  3. It is so hard to be a parent. The toughest thing ever. I think you’re on the right track taking the trains away. You’re calling his attention to a problem he hasn’t responded to. But man it hurts. I think it would break my heart, too, having to tell him he’s got to be quiet when he just wants to do what comes naturally to him, like he’s got a story to tell. The snide part, and the back-talk–that’s not cool, but man, he needs like a little hand puppet or something, or a voice recorder. He clearly has a lot to say! Is he old enough to write yet? It’s a tough lesson to know when to be quiet, to understand that what you’re doing which you find to be a perfectly normal thing (like just talking out what’s in your head) is disruptive to others. I bet that hurt his feelings (which might explain the snide comments and back-talk). It’s like when my daughter told me, “can you please stop singing? It’s hurting my ears.” Ouch. But it was ruining her ability to listen to the song on the radio. I try not to be an annoying pain in the ass, but I really, really want to sing to the music.

    Maybe he just needs an outlet, some way of expressing himself that isn’t always through talking, especially when no one wants to listen. It’s a life skill, really, one we all need to learn (knowing when to express yourself and when to be quiet). Maybe he needs cues, like if you say “Mommy is talking now” or “quiet time for ten minutes” and in this time, he has to put on listening ears. The listening ears work really well for my sister and her son, who is so easily distracted. She actually has him pretend to put on ears and keep his hands there. It really just helps him focus. As for the car rides…hmmm, maybe a DVD?

    Listen to me–like I know anything. I just have a soft spot in my heart for little chatterboxes. I was one of those, too. As long as he knows that you care about what he has to say, he’ll eventually come to terms with the fact that not everyone does. You may not be able to be his friend, but he won’t always see you as the enemy. Hang in there, mama.

    • sarafraser

      LOL, you DO know things, and you’re absolutely right. I do let him talk to me. And a lot. I think it’s just… he needs to get that there’s a time to talk and there’s a time to listen. Balance. And understanding that he’s not the center of the universe. :>

      I don’t mind the talking; everyone else might, but I could pretty much listen to him all day. Ceaselessly entertaining. Thank you for the kind words and for reminding me to keep that soft spot for he who never shuts up.

  4. Karen [Hayden's Mom]

    Cole: Karen, am I going to your house?
    Me: Yes, Cole
    Cole: Karen, am I going to your house? Am I –
    Me: Yes Cole
    Cole: Am I going to your hou –
    Me: Yes Cole, I just told you
    Cole: Hayden I am coming to your house. Karen I’m coming to your house?
    Me: Yes, Cole, lets go
    Cole: Hayden I’m coming to you
    Me: Boys lets go
    Cole: Hayden I’m coming to you
    Hayden: I KNOW COLE!!

    And I promise you Sara, it wouldn’t be so wonderful if it was any other way.

  5. So. Let me tell you about a little guy named Matt. Who was EXACTLY LIKE THIS as a little kid. What did I do about it? Welllll, pretty much what you’re doing. We had talks about when it was good to talk and when it was maybe not so good to talk.

    Did it work? I genuinely don’t know. It either worked, or he outgrew it. Maybe both. At any rate, it hasn’t been a problem for a while. So, there’s some hope for you, maybe?

    • sarafraser

      Maybe. Maybe. I’m just trying to set aside more time to actively…. listen to him. Like, “alright, pal, you got something to say? Say it.” We shall see.

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