Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 30, 2009: A Touching Story about Why

It's very possible that I may have just fooled you into thinking this would be a sappy story full of love and heartache. And truthfully, my words are backed with love and my heart does ache - but not in the traditional sense when you hear a really great love story or a really cute story about kids...

No, alas, this is the story of my children - the ones who can't stop touching things and when they are told not to touch things, they ask Why. And then touch it anyway!

The summer time has brought about new challenges for us living here in France. First and foremost, the girls are home more than during the school year and I am home ALL the time since I am not working. Which means I must figure out more things to entertain them, occupy them, distract them, keep them out of trouble. Now fortunately, I have had my parents and Andrew's parents here for a lot of the time and that forced me to plan outings and automatically that occupied the girls. But now the visitors are gone and my well of creativity is running low. And the twins in particular are raising their level of "unawareness" of me and what I say throughout the day.

So call me crazy, but when I ask the girls to NOT run into the street without looking because they may be hit by a car, shouldn't that produce a new result which is - look before running into the street? Or when I ask them NOT to touch the hot pan on the stove because they will get burnt, shouldn't that produce a new result which is - not touching the pan? Or my favorite is, if I ask them not to touch anything at a nearby store when we go in (that also has DO NOT TOUCH signs in English posted throughout the store which I am sure are specifically designed for my children) and they touch all the foods, go behind the counter and try to play with their MONEY and poke holes in their quiche lorraines, I really do expect them to not touch. But it seems they are incapable. And if disobeying were not bad enough, the following question of, "Why?", drives me even more nuts!

Is it their age? Maybe. I hope. Ella is doing quite well with listening whereas Grace and Mia are not. And maybe just one 4 year old would be tolerable and understandable to a parent, but two 4 year olds ignoring you is sometimes unbearable! Twins know what pushes your buttons and they prod their sibling(s) to do the very thing that will push your button. Just to see what will happen. And then you have Mia, who doesn't need prodding. She will just do exactly the opposite of what she knows she is supposed to do to see what will happen. And generally, these issues focus around touching things she shouldn't touch or generally disobeying me. And quickly after being told not to touch, the question of, "Why" quickly follows.

I now ashamedly admit that I understand why my parents answered with, "because I said so" to my, "Why" questions growing up. You get tired of explaining yourself and the reasons of Why and it is easier to just say, "because I said so!" And after a certain point, you feel like your voice speaking should be reason enough, yet children will question you about every single thing and when you answer, only about 2% will resonate with their thought processing - and they will ignore you.

So, here I am. A mother in France, just like all of you other mothers, fathers, grandmothers or grandfathers around the world who know/knew all too well this predicament, who have/had touch-less and why-less aspirations. But failing miserably at getting desired results.

For me and us moving to France, it has been hard enough getting used to not working and instead doing load after load of laundry, load after load of dishes, day after day of grocery shopping, room after room of cleaning, meal after meal of making, etc... But to then have my children disregard what I say and choose when to listen, well that has by far been the hardest part of this whole adjustment.

Tonight - I think this blog is about all of you who read. I want to hear back from you. I'd like to hear how you conquered similar situations. How you got your kids to stop being so "touchy". How you got your kids to listen on the first request. How you got your kids to stop asking "why?" How you moved from Grace and Mia to Ella. Lay it on me!

Tomorrow is the girls last day of school before we head home next week to Colorado. We are all very excited! And the best part is that I will have Andrew with me the whole time so the girls can spend some of their, "No" time and ,"Why" time with him!


  1. and i will be with you at the airport

  2. Thanks, Suzie! It'll be a great having you there!

  3. For me it's not so much the no touching, but the not doing when asked.

    - Sammie, go pick up your pjs and put them in the bedroom.

    a minute later

    - Sammie, did you hear me?
    - Yes

    2 minutes later

    -Sammie!!! Go do that!

    But that's changed some. Or rather, had changed until my knee started killing me this week. It was suggested by my reiki teacher to use that anger that's building to DO something. In this case, she said just pick her up and move her to where she needs to be. She may not like it, but she'll get the idea.

    So that's what I've been doing. I ask her once, watch and then if she doesn't respond, I gently pick her up, place her next to her PJs (or toy or shoes or coat or whatever) and help her pick them up. then I put her on her way. Sometimes it's a fight. Sometimes it's a sobfest. But the more I do it, she's actually starting to respond. I think if I were more consistent, it would be better. But I haven't been....

    Regardless, I think it's a combo of age and personality. Ellie wasn't ever quite as bad as this... (But then again, Ellie's a rule follower.)

  4. Well, you should be happy they are saying "Why" having raised boys, all I got was a "F" you and a china plate frisbeeing at me!!! Just kidding, but G&M are certainly inquisitive and we are glad they are using their sensory feelings to back up their visual inputs .... have you tried reverse commands - touch that cake, run ahead of me, don't eat your lunch???? See you next week and we will figure something out!!

  5. I hear every word and feel every pain sista! Sheesh! No one has ever told me about the 'frustrating fours'; but I've got just one of them along with the inquisitive six/seven year old who asks a million 'what if' or 'why does' questions. Between constantly repeating myself and either making up answers or feeling stupid (because I don't know or don't remember), I wonder on an almost daily basis why mom is still sane??!! We have to have been so much worse!