Thursday, March 03, 2005

sotto voce

My eight-year-old has a new thing going, a kind of constantly running commentary on his day, barely audible. I've gently teased him before about it, telling him that people who talk to themselves like that are considered crazy.

He's not crazy, as far as I can tell. All the usual indicators point to "happy, well-adjusted, bright." The fact that he refuses to blow his nose when he has a cold doesn't mean he's crazy, just that he doesn't like to blow his nose. The constant wiping of said nose leaves it all chapped, though. I keep waiting for something like a self-preservation instinct to kick in: what's worse, the discomfort of a few seconds while blowing your nose, or having to constantly wipe snot off it, leaving it all red and sore? I know which one I'd choose.

But I'm not him. We butted heads a few times today, once over the nose blowing, but several times over some in-class work that his teacher had to retrieve from the floor today, incomplete. He finished it at home, but was muttering under his breath the entire time. I drifted off to let him finish it, because sitting there I was getting more and more irritated, and couldn't figure out why.

At supper I finally realized how the muttering was getting to me. I told him to do something inconsequential (perhaps even to get a tissue!) and the muttering started. I have no idea what he was saying, but the obvious thing for me to think was that he was cussing me out or at the very least grousing about what a nag I am.

There is no way I'm putting up with that kind of disrespect, even if it's all in my head! I told him, "I have no idea what you're saying, but I can't help but think that you're complaining about what I just told you to do. Stop it. You can think whatever thoughts you like inside your head, but they need to stay there."

Serious consequences were promised for repeat offenses. We'll see.

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