Learning to keep my mouth shut. Or: lies I tell my child to get her to school.


In Simplicity Parenting Kim John Payne writes that the less you talk the more they listen. This makes sense right? I mean, apoplexy if you never shut up they (meaning your children but this advice can apply to any situation) will tune you out. I can see everyone nodding their heads right now because we have all been in situations where someone has made their point but won’t shut up thinking we need to hear the same thing rephrased and repeated five times.

Children don’t need to be over-talked to because it confuses them. I am trying really hard with this concept because I am used to answering Moira’s questions all day long. I’m also in the bad habit of over-explaining why it is a bad idea to wrestle your baby sister/bash your head into your baby sister/have a total meltdown with every little injustice (and everything is an injustice when you are three). Of course Payne also says that most 3-year olds don’t really want to know the why to everything but I don’t think he is talking about my 3-year old because she is relentless in getting an answer out of me when she asks a question.

However, food what I am getting at here is that while I don’t really want to talk about how hard adjusting to preschool is for Moira right now (we’re talking hysterics that start the day before she has to go to school) what I do want to talk about is the absolute drivel that pours out of my mouth as I am negotiating how to get this child to school. Yesterday morning she did end up at school (still in her pajamas but at least she had underwear on) but she cried hysterically from the moment she realized it was a school day until I closed the door to her classroom.

I don’t remember everything that was said but I do remember telling her the following lies:

  1. She had to go to preschool because it is the law.
  2. She had to go to preschool because Mummy needs to go back to work.
  3. If she doesn’t go to preschool then she will have to go to daycare and that is all day instead of just a half day 3x a week.

Yes, generic I was saying anything to get my daughter to get in the car. No, there is no law that everyone over the age of three goes to preschool in this province. No, I am not going back to work right now or anytime soon. And yes, I did ‘threaten’ to send her to daycare (even though I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing at the time). I’m not proud.

So why does this garbage come spilling forth from my mouth? Well, part of it is because in my fluster to calm her down I end up saying everything and anything that I can think of that makes going to preschool sound better than staying at home. Or I start making stuff up about what life will be like without preschool.

In case you are wondering if there is anything wrong with the preschool – there isn’t (it’s wonderful). Or the kids there? Not really, they all seem nice (I stayed on Monday for the whole 2.5 hours so Missy could become better adjusted). And yesterday Moira stopped crying right after I left the school and didn’t want to come home at the end because she was having ‘too much fun.’

Of course today she is still asking me why I have to go back to work and what is going to happen to her and Fionnuala when I do.

Must learn to keep mouth shut.

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