Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tattle Tale Land

We have taken up residence in a new home, Tattle Tale Land. It wasn’t a difficult move, no major packing to do or change of address forms to complete. It actually occurred magically over night and I woke one morning to find that my sweet little girls now look for any and every reason to find fault with each other and, most importantly, report it to me as soon as possible.

Now, I believe that there is a time and place for tattling, like when someone has hurt someone badly, is bleeding, someone has used hurtful words to wound another or when anyone under the age of seven has left the house unattended and unannounced. But all this useless information that I am now privy to on a daily basis has left me exhausted! I hear about every nudge or bump, each funny face and look, absolutely all forms of perceived injustice in our 3000 square foot radius. The girls even meticulously keep a running tally of Finn’s offenses, as if I needed more information on those!

It is difficult for me to plan my attack against this most irritating behavior. I have tried not reacting, sometimes not even acknowledging the tattling (after announcing “I will no longer be responding to these things you are telling me about each other!”) I certainly don’t want to hurt their feelings by having them think that I am ignoring them. And the last thing I want is to discourage them from coming to us in times of real need, because unfortunately, I know those times will arrive, like it or not.

It’s funny; Logan and Riley are the best of friends as well, play together so nicely at times and are staunch supporters of each other almost all the time. I guess this is all just about them laying the groundwork for their own boundaries and individuality, and creating a space where they can say “I don’t like that,” even though they currently need my backing to follow through. But I don’t tell the manager at the grocery store when someone takes the last box of Cheerios or report line-cutting to the cashier. That’s not how it works in the real world, so that’s not how it’s going to work here. Plus, I think drawing a line in the sand for what types of complaints will be reviewed by me will hopefully get them to stop sweating the small stuff and learn to roll with life a little bit.

This is a difficult plan to manage for a notorious small stuff sweater like me, but I have come a long way in correcting myself since my motherhood gig began and I hope I can help them to cure those tendencies now and not get caught up in little things that just don’t matter. I’d much rather have them learn how to really find joy in life and focus on that in lieu of worrying about every little thing. So, we’re working on it. And they’ll get it. As long as we keep trying to lead by example. Until they do though, I’ll just keep on riding the waves and steering our boat back on course.


Mary said...

Tattle Tale Land is a great entry. Love your thought process and so glad you are steering the boat.

Lauren said...

While your approach may have the best psychological benefits on the girls, I'm actually in support of the opposite approach where you and Mike tattle on each other to them every chance you get. Well, at the very least, the entertainment benefits alone would be worth it. I love your mothering.