Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Monkey Hear, Monkey Say

Last week Michael informed me (in the lowest register he could muster): “I’m a BIG BOY!” And then, after a pause (and in his normal voice): “And a gentleman.”

He has also started this game where he runs down the hall arms, outspread asking, “Who needs a hu-ug?”

Wagner has his cute moments, too. He likes to nuzzle my neck and say, “Ooh, dat’s tasty!”

Of course, they say those things because I say those things.

Like today—when Matt let Wagner choose which socks he wanted to wear.

Now, I don’t know if it’s a Berkeley thing or a “raising your kids in the 21st century thing” or if it’s because I hang out with these Greater Good types, but apparently the thing to do these days is to validate your child’s emotions.
“All feelings are valid, but not all behavior is acceptable,” the books tell you (or at least the ones that I used for my research back in the day when I was collecting linguistic data for parenting research.)

Anyway, it goes like this. Your child throws a screaming fit. He kicks and spits like a rabid goat. You say, “Honey, I know you’re disappointed/angry/disgruntled/sardonic.” And this is supposed to help matters.

So back to my house—
Wagner is choosing socks to wear. He chooses Michael’s socks (which happen to be green.) We have lots and lots of socks and usually we have several of the same kind of socks because I don’t want to have to hunt for matching socks. But these socks are Chiara hand-me-down socks (they might have even come from Claire/Jack/Maria/Annie. I can’t remember. I only know that there are two of them and they are highly coveted because they are almost knee-length and the boys are very into knee-length socks.)

So of course Michael throws a fit when he sees that Wagner is wearing HIS socks. And Wagner knows full well that they are Michael’s socks, but he won’t take them off. In fact, he puts on his rain boots to hide the fact that he is wearing Michael’s socks. Then he does his best approximation of the Nonchalant Whistle.

He also tries to sell Michael on other socks. Red ones? How ‘bout...dese socks?

Michael is screaming, “I WANT GREEN SOCKS! ‘DOSE MY SOCKS, WAGNER!”

And Wagner hands him another pair of socks. Gray? Yellow? Brown?

Finally, he puts a hand on his brother’s shoulder.

“You OK, Michael?” he asks, as if he is genuinely interested.

“NO!” Michael yells emphatically. “I’n [sic] not OK! I want green socks!”

Wagner pats him again and says, “I know.”

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