When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Make Fun of Themselves

There’s nothing quite like Sunday. The alarm clocks are off, the street is quiet, there’s one more day of leisure before the weekday grind begins again…

the kid is still up at 6:30AM.

As he was on Saturday morning, and as he will be again on Monday morning. Now, I actually knew a woman who was quite proud of the fact that she locked the door to her sons’ room every night, and the toddlers were not allowed out until 7AM. Yes. Locked it. From the outside. With a key. And while I can appreciate that such measures take care of such inconveniences as Grown Up Time and deep, philosophical conversations about what killed the dinosaurs (at 3AM), I just don’t think that such a drastic measure is the right thing for my little family. We don’t have a television, so I can’t just tell him to go watch cartoons. He’s a crafty little bug, too; he’ll clamber in the big bed, pretending to want to snuggle and go back to sleep. What he does, however, is toss. Turn. Kick. Squirm. Wriggle. Talk. Pat.

Drive. Mom. Nuts.

I am a grumpy, grumpy mama today. Did I mention, I’m grumpy? grouchy? cranky? and four other dwarves that Disney never told you about. Now, I could take it out on the little guy and be grumpy. Not fair to him. I could pretend to be light and airy and happy. Not fair to me, honestly, cause I feel like kaka, and I don’t feel like faking it. So I’ve got a compromise that seems to work wonders around the house. It’s called Grumpy Mama. She’s a close cousin to Cranky Mama and Boring Mama, two characters that seem to make the kid crack up every time either of them show up. It’s a technique from Playful Parenting guides the world over, and let me tell you, it works, even when, like me, you don’t have a sense of humor left and all you want to do is shut the door and lock yourself in. What am I babbling about? It goes like this.

I growl. I groan. I tell the kid, in all seriousness, that he kept me up all night/woke me up too early/pushed my buttons/yanked my chain, and so now I’m Grumpy Mama. I frown. I make Mean Angry Faces. I tell him to Leave Me Alone, I’m GRUMPY. He laughs. I tell him I mean it, I’m serious. I growl again for good effect. I might even throw in a scowl or two, just to make sure he knows I mean business. He giggles some more. Invariably, he asks me if I’m making fun of myself, which always makes me laugh because yes, I’m making fun of myself. And then I start to feel better.

This kind of thing works when your kid is in a certain kind of rotten mood. If I get Annoying Whining Boy, there’s nothing better than a blanked declaration: “No happy children are allowed in this house. Nope. I mean it. Not one. NO SMILING ALLOWED! Nope. No laughing. Nope. NO way. Not a peep. I don’t want to see one smile in this house, we’re all grumpy whiny people here.” He’ll begin to smile. “AUGH! No! Did you smile? That Is Not Allowed!” He’ll laugh. He’ll insist on trying to whine again, but it’s no use. Once the Silly Rules are declared, there’s nothing to do but laugh about them.

That’s a Good Thing.

Photo Credits: Felt clown on Flickr

discipline, funny discipline, humor, love, parenting, playful parenting, positive parenting

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