Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Harumpf!

I think we all tend to wonder if our children's terrible behavior is normal.  There's nothing more satisfying than hearing another parent say, "Oh my gosh!  My kid does the same thing!"  We don't want our kids to be jerks but, let's face it.  Sometimes they are.

When I'm in need of reassurance, I often turn to a website called The Center for Parenting Education.  It gives this fantastic list of everything terrible your children should be doing right now.  (Isn't that so much better than all the good stuff!?)  I look through the list and say, "'Picks his nose'...yeah, he does that.  'Extremely jealous of other siblings'...uh huh.  That's true." It gives me the opportunity to give myself a little grace.  I turned to this list the other day to find some answers about my 3 1/2 year old who has suddenly become incredibly demanding.  Here's a snippet of what I found:

  • is emotionally insecure which leads to increased whining, crying, frequent questioning “Do you love me?” and frequent complaints “You don’t love me.”
  • may say, “I hate you” when frustrated by limits
  • is extremely demanding of adults: may demand “Don’t look!” “Don’t talk!” “Don’t laugh!”
  • may demand all attention be on him; is very jealous of attention given to others
Did you see how many times they used the word "demand"?  This same child would play quietly by himself for an hour if I asked him to.  "Alright, Mama," he would say sweetly as he looked up through his big round eyes.  Now, he crosses his arms over his chest, stomps his foot and drops his head.  As the grand finale, he will actually say, "HARUMPF!" like an grumpy old man.  This mostly occurs after we have been having some one on one time that is suddenly interrupted by one of his siblings.  He will either shut down or become so demanding of my attention that I cannot walk without him tripping me or talk without him interrupting me.  It's maddening.

But he still has an amazing sense of humor and my mom decided to take advantage of that.  "Oooh, that's a cool move.  Can you show me how to harumpf when I get mad at Papa?" she asked him one day after his brother had interrupted him.  He peeked up from his chest and gave a half smile then thought twice about it.  
"Don't make fun of me!!!" he said, returning to his stance (see bullet 3).  
"Oh honey, I'm not making fun of you.  I just wanted you to show me so that I do it right."
He kept his head down but decided to at least give an explanation.  "You just put your arms like this then stomp your foot really really hard then say 'HARUMPF!'"
My mom tried to keep her smile at bay.  "Like this?" she asked.
"No, your arms have to go here and you have to put your head down and look really really really mad," he explained.
"Okay, is this better?"
"Yeah, that better." he said, satisfied with her efforts.

We all joined in to learn how to properly harumpf and ended up in a fit of giggles.  "We have a harumpfer!" my oldest shouted to whoever was doing to the arm crossing.  "Who can do the best harumpfing?" my mom would ask.  And it has become a family joke that just may stand the test of time.

Sometimes your only option is to laugh.  Raising kids can make the sanest person absolutely crazy if you don't take a step back and realize how funny the whole thing is.  Will our kids stop being nuts if we laugh?  Probably not.  But it will make the journey a whole lot more fun.

What behaviors are making you crazy today?  Check this list and see if you can find it on here.  Maybe it will give you a quick giggle.


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