Friday, December 3, 2010

The trials of learning English and politics

Ham has been expanding his vocabulary by leaps and bounds. Everyday is a slew of new words and we just delight in seeing how smart he is and how hard he is trying to express himself. You can see him practice words and sounds and teach his little lips to form the words he is thinking of. Here is a hilarious conversation we had last night at bed time: (don't call CPS on me. I swear he has never been exposed to incest, violence, or sexual crime of any sort.)

Ham: I want to rape you, please.
Me: No, I don't understand what you are trying to say, but its not that. What do you mean?
Ham: I want to rrrraaaape yoooou. (impatiently now)
Me: You want to read to me maybe?
Ham: No, mommy. I want to rape you.

I changed the topic. It was funny but disturbing.

But then a little bit later he saw all of the chihuahuas laying on me and it went like this:

Ham: Look! The dogs are raping you!
Me: Ham, you gotta stop saying that, Baby. What are you trying to say?
Ham: The dogs! They are raping you. I want them to rape on Ham.
Me: Sleep? The dogs are sleeping on me?
Ham: Yeah. They are raping on you. Uhh.. The dogs are reeeping on you.

I could see his mouth trying to say it like me. The best he could get out was reeeping. I was far more comfortable with my two year old using that word. By the next day he had the word sleep down pat and with any luck I will never hear the word rape out of that sweet little mouth again.

I can't lie and say there is no domestic violence around here. Every day there are punches thrown and injuries inflicted. This happens between Ham and Jack (or even more commonly, a Gartner child).

Yesterday Abe walked up and bit Jack on the back for no apparent reason. We gave him a stern "NO!" and recited the household biting policy "We don't bite people in this family."

Jack is at an age where he is very interested in fairness. He wants to see the same punishments handed out for the same crimes etc. and lets just say that when it comes to giving Abe consequences, he's a hangin' judge. "If I bit Abe, you would send me to my room forever and put vinegar in my mouth. You are not going to do anything to him!? Send him to his room and spank his butt!" He was indignant.

He made a good point and I am always inclined to listen and reward kids when they attempt to form rational arguments, rather than just throwing a tantrum. "Jack. Why do you want Abe to have a consequence? Is it because it will feel good to get revenge on your brother for biting?

The kid is not dumb and apparently he has been listening to my lectures when I discipline him because he said "No. because next time he wants to bite me he wont because he's afraid to get sent to his room for alone time."

"So do you see why we send you to your room? Do you see that we are trying to help you to be a good person?" There was no way I was letting this little lesson slip past.

"Okay. I see it. Give him his punishment!"

I hauled Ham upstairs to his room and told him he could come out when I felt like I could trust him around people. He cried and beat on the door but eventually figured out the point "Let Ham out! Ham sweet! Ham calm! Ham sowwy!"

I let him out and asked him if he knew why he was in there. He told me that it was because he bit Jack. I added that biting hurts and no one wants to be bit. yada yada yada.

So we went downstairs to have him apologize to Jack "Ham sowwy."

"And are you ever going to bite your brother again?"

And then in what I can only describe as an Eyore tone (depressed donkey from Winnie the Pooh) he says "No. Ham no bite. Ham just pinch." I could tell that he honestly thought that was the answer I was fishing for.

"No! We don't pinch in this family either! Oh whatever. I give up. go play outside and keep your hands and your mouths to yourselves."

Today we also had a funny conversation with Jack. John had offered to pay him a couple of dollars for some extra chores. He worked on them for maybe two minutes before coming to tell us that he quits but he still wanted to get paid. He argued that he had tried it and he didn't like it so he was still owed the pay. No deal, dude. We explained that he was welcome to do the work and get paid and he was welcome to not do the work and not get paid. Those were the only two options.

So he did what he does best. Threw a big tantrum. "You owe me! You have to give me money! You are my parents! Its your job to give me stuff!".

This bratty entitled attitude was the wrong way to go. "Get up off of the floor. We are not raising you like this. You're acting like a Democrat."

You have never seen a six year old so deeply offended by an offhand parental criticism. He has lived long enough to know that in this house, that is not a compliment. "I am not a Democrat! Mom called me a Democrat! Take it back! I'm not a Democrat!"

"Honey, of course you are not a Democrat. You are not old enough to affiliate with any political party and that will be your choice when you are an adult. I said you are acting like a Democrat. And you are. You are acting like a liberal Democrat. Get up and go work or quit and be quiet."

Lets just say that calling Jack the L-word was more offensive to him than the D-word. The tantrum continued. John and I were biting our lips trying not to burst out laughing at how right wing biased we have trained this child to be already. His horror at being called a liberal democrat is hilarious and heart-warming.

Then John made him sit down for a long talk with illustrations about the difference between a liberal and a conservative. It was very grasshopper-and-the-ant-ish. The conservative works hard and makes money and the liberal refuses to work and demands that he gets paid anyway, so the government takes money away from the hard working man and gives it to the lazy man. "Is that fair, Jack?" I was actually really impressed with John's kid appropriate presentation. Then we started lecturing about the fine line between plunder and taxes. "Just because its legal doesn't make it moral."
I recently read the Frederic Bastiat classic The Law so I was all ready to go on and on. two minutes into my political lecture he turned on his heel and declared as he walked out "I get it. I'm going to go work."

I told John to withhold a portion of Jack's pay against his will and give it to Abe because Abe didn't have a job. We won't take our object lesson that far this time but its tempting. Every day when I pray I just say "God, I know I will never be a perfect mother but please just help me to not totally screw these kids up." So far, so good I hope.


Scrap Happy said...

Thanks for making me laugh tonight Staci! I AM NOT A DEMOCRAT! Love it.

Anonymous said...

"Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners". ~Author Unknown

Plain Talk About Spanking
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