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Do you remember that book, “A Separate Peace” from high school? All I can really remember is that there was a very important quote… “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

What the hell did that mean anyway? Because it seems like if something remains the same, then it doesn’t really change much, does it?

I’m so glad I’m no longer in 10th grade English.

I was thinking about quotes because I have a new quote for motherhood…

“The more I learn about parenting, the less I know.”

I’ve been talking a very big game about the age four for quite a while. I tell everyone that it’s a complete turning point. Your child goes from an irrational, tantruming toddler into a delightful young lady or man. It’s like a miracle.

Because that is exactly what happened with my daughter Dylan (who is now six and still a delightful young lady 90% of the time).

Then I had the chance to meet Summer. Have you met her?

She’s four.

She’s also my daughter.

And I’m pretty sure she is the whiniest girl on the planet. I don’t even know why I’m excluding the other planets. I’m sure she’s the whiniest there too.

This weekend we took a winter hike.  It really seemed like a lovely idea and I applaud my husband for coming up with it. We are trying to make winter fun since it’s evidently never ever ending.

It was a beautiful, sunny and crisp Sunday afternoon. You could hear the rustling of the treetops and the deer prancing through the woods.

Well, not if you were standing near us.

If you were walking with our crew, all you heard was Summer.

“I want to go home.”

“I’m cold.”

“I can’t walk.”

“I want to go first. I want to be in front. Let me be in front!!!!! Dylan’s not letting me be in front!!!!”

“I want to go home. I want to go home!!! I want to be in front!!!!”

For an hour and a half.

At one point, I had to walk way ahead to keep my brain from actually exploding with frustration and impatience. Don’t be fooled by this photo (She’s very crafty that one)…

Four is apparently not a turning point for everyone.

The more I learn about parenting, the less I know.

That night, after Summer was asleep, I went in and watched her breathe. I kissed her soft cheeks and stroked her silky tangled hair. She was so beautiful. And quiet.

mama bird notes:

Catch me over at The Mouthy Housewives today giving some half way decent advice.

And I’ve joined Babble!! I’ll be writing a blog on life in New York with kids. I’ll be sharing lots of cool stuff to do with your children because apparently yelling is not actually considered an activity. So check it out.

37 Responses to the whiny child

  • Lee says:

    My sweet four old boy has started jumping out from the curtains screaming “I blasted you”.

    Thank you all boys pre school class.

    Before this year he had no idea that he did not have to be Prince Eric to big sister’s princess dress up party.

  • Lee says:

    So the moral of the story is…..someone kidnapped your Summer and my Walter and they had better bring them back, sans whining and “blasters”

  • Tiffaney says:

    She’s made progress: wasn’t she asking to be carried/pushed in the stroller everywhere last fall? (seriously, why can I remember this but not stuff going on in my own life??? oh yeah. its not nearly as fun or interesting. 🙂 )

  • Kerri says:

    So today is not the day to tell you to just wait until all the girls magically end up on the same cycle & have their menses all at the same time, along with mom & the lady we babysit for! ROAR!!!

  • Bitsy says:

    Here’s the good news: it seems that the ones who get it all out during the early years are easier as teenagers. True in my house and I’ve witnessed it with others. For now, it’s a good thing she’s so darn cute.

  • Julie says:

    You could do what my grandmother did to me when I whined too much- bribed me with the prospect of $100 if I never whined again. Of course that lasted about 5 minutes…

  • johanna says:

    It’s amazing how they can perfect the art of whining in a short period of time and how in a short period of time it can push you right over the edge! It’s one thing that I just loose my cool with and occasionally have to snap “STOP IT!!”

  • Kerri says:

    I told mine I don’t speak “whine” and literally do not “listen” unless they speak in a normal voice to me. If they are just complaining in a whiny voice I have also offered them some cheese. I recognize their complaint (when not whined) ask if they have any other ideas and suggest whining isn’t going to change a thing anyways so why not make the best of it. Sorry, but this is not the only time they go through this stage. Oh and the boys do it too, well at least my husband does.

  • annie says:

    My grandpa used to say “you’re such a sweet girl….when you’re sleeping”. Of course he said that to all the grandkids. He also said “that’s a pretty dress, too bad it’s not on a pretty girl” so you might want to take that into consideration. (yes, we knew he was joking. wasn’t he??)

  • It is awesome that you are documenting this for your future sanity because in a few years she’ll see this adorable picture and declare that she had the best time EVER on the family winter walk. Ah revisionist history.

  • Aunt Marcia (Guess Whose?) says:

    Whine back to her; exactly the same words she’s whining to you….that should drive her crazy and maybe give her a ‘clue’ as to what whining does to people who have to listen to it. You can thank me later; but don’t send me her shrink bills.

  • Leigh Ann says:

    All I remember about that book is something about the narrater describing the back of Phinneus’ blazer being parted by his plump, round, buttocks. No idea why that is all I remember.

    I think seeing my kids’ sleeping innocence is the only reason I look in on them at night. Well, that and to change Rachel’s diaper so she doesn’t wake up soaking in the morning. That girl can pee.

  • amourningmom says:

    When the twins whine in the car I just turn up the music. It doesn’t necessarily stop the whining . . .

    I also tell them that no one understands whinese. Not sure that any of this is helpful but I did want to let you know that Summer has lots of company in the whining department.

    I have never heard of Babble – I will go check it out. Congratulations! xoxo

  • Leslie says:

    My four year old son is about to make me lose my frickin mind with the whining! He wants juice, he wants a snack, he wants to watch a movie, he wants dinner, he doesn’t want dinner now – he wants lunch, he doesn’t want to go to bed, and on and on and on. He can’t speak in a normal voice anymore! OMG someone please just make it stop!

  • erinb says:

    ohhh the whining…her and K must be related. I cant even deal anymore. cute pic!
    congrats on the new gig!!! awesome!! be sure to let us know when you post there :-}

  • Tonya says:

    Oh god, my son is 3 and it was the thought of making it to 4 that has been helping me make it through. That’s it he’s going up on Craigslist. He also comes with a free cat.
    Congrats on Babble!! Can’t wait to read it!

  • Lu says:

    Four was a turning point in my house. He turned into a grumpy little boy. Hrumph-ing everywhere. My husband actually said that we are raising a 70 year old… I love him though. He’s perfect!

  • Aunt Marcia (Guess Whose?) says:

    Saturday Night Live had a skit on about a family called ‘The Whiners’ and everyone whined to everyone else all the time. It was one of the ‘unfunniest’ ‘annoying’ skits they ever did. Make Summer watch it over and over again if you can get a copy.

  • Upside of four? She may be old enough to have non-whining behaviors be incentivized. I spent much of last summer offering my 5 yr old a buck a day if he could go ALL DAY without whining. I swear to god it worked. And cheap at the price. Now, of course, he’s moved off the JV whining team and into the varsity bicker-with-my-brother squad. Stopping that ain’t gonna be cheap.

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kelcey kintner