14 September 2007

Stating the bleeding obvious

One of the effective parenting skills I am still training in is spelling everything out to my toddler. I keep forgetting to cover all the angles and possibilities.

Eg. I hear myself say things like:
- Ella, please don't touch the window with your dirty hands because then the lady from the restaurant will have to clean them.
- And also not with your feet.
- (Sigh) Also not with your tongue.

Fortunately there are only so many bodyparts you can touch a window with, though still more than you would expect. Toddlers are also incredibly inventive.
In other situations the options seem endless and I have to be really creative in how I phrase my instructions.

But in the end to me these detailed instructions can all be classified as "stating the bleeding obvious". Because very few things are obvious when you've only been an observer/participant on this planet for 2 3/4 years.

People stating the obvious is one of my pet hates. It comes across as extremely patronising and if there is one thing that makes me see red it is my intelligence being underestimated. Likewise I often skip steps when I present a rational argument to other adults, because I assume they can fill in the blanks themselves.

So now my biggest fear is that I will not be able to stop stating the obvious. I know many - too many - parents with adult children who never got out of the habit again. They are the kind of people that make me want to curl up under the table for a nap 3 sentences into the conversation. If I am not able to act on that urge - I am a polite person, I usually suppress such compulsions - my thoughts start to wander towards the self-harm or suicide option after approximately 30 minutes of listening to statements/observations that seem a total and utter waste of breath.

I pray that - now I have had to resort to becoming one of them when I talk to my daughter - I will manage to grow out of this habit again as she starts to get the hang of the obvious and learns to fill in the blanks for herself.


Nancy Porker said...

You are obviously highly intuative. I came out 19/20 on the myers briggs scale, so i know exactly how frustrated you get having to listen to someone explain something simple to the nth degree. Nic's highly intuative as well. I dare say Ella is as well, but just hasn't learnt how everything is interconnected yet.

Wonder if you could prompt her to fill in the gaps/be intuative herself? Eg. Ella, what do you think happens when you touch the glass? Don't think it'd work. She'd probably say "it gets dirty". Hahaha! Gosh, glad it's you not me. Parenting must be such a challenge! :)

Lin said...

lol Dan, we're talking about a little person here who will tell me "Look mum, I'm here" when she's trampling on my toes. We often have great conversations, but I have to admit that the "Look there's a dog, it's a brown dog, he has legs, he has a tongue" type interactions do get a tad boring after a while.

I do use the "what do you think?" strategy to counter her 'why' questions and that works a treat.