Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Don't Like It"

I thought I had dodged the bullet. I've read countless articles where parents lamented that their two year old who's favorite word was "NO!" or they would grab everything in sight and say "Mine!". And yet, my son didn’t. I marveled at his emotional maturity and good nature. Then it struck.

Me: "Jack, eat your toast."
Jack: "Don’t like it."
Me: (confusion setting in, where did he learn this phrase...) "What?"
Jack: "Don't. Like. It."..."No Like It"

Great. Now he was dumbing down his English since it appeared his mother wasn’t "getting" it.

I knew immediately this was bad news. Kids don’t go learning full phrases without a comprehensive plan for incorporating them into constant use. Sure enough, over the next few days, most of our exchanges went like this:

Me: "Jack, time for your bath."
Jack: "Don’t like it."
Me: "Jack, let's read Dick and Jane."
Jack: "Don’t like it."
Me: "Jack, do you want to play with your sidewalk chalk?"
Jack: "Don’t like it."
Me: (substitute anything I might have said to my son)
Jack: "Don't like it."

Maybe the world wasn’t ending, but it was definitely tettering on the brink as far as I was concerned. I was getting pretty fed up with Mr. Contrary, my son. He wasn't eatting his meals or picking up his toys and was basically fighting me every step of the way (Im thinking: stand aside kid, I'm an "original" on control issues. You're out of your league). So I picked up one of my parenting books, and against all odds, it was the "SuperNanny" book. Yes, as in the TV show lady. It was enough I pulled it off the shelves at the library with other parenting psychology books, but the fact that I was referencing it, well, maybe the world really was ending this time. And yes, and you know what is coming next, I created a Naughty Step at our house. I've only watched the SupperNanny show a few times, but I've seen enough to know that the Naughty Step is central. It shows up every time to cure everything from back talk to hyperactivity to leprosy (I think).

We had a slight glitch in the plan when Jack found the Naughty Step to be a hoot. He loved it. When engaging in his "Don’t Like It" defiance, I would give the prescribed warning; "Jack, if you persist in this behavior I will put you on the Naughty Step". And he would say happily "Naughty Step! Naughty Step!" and run to it giggling and sit down. Not exactly the axis of fear the SuppeNanny described.

Maybe the problem was that I was giving into my son's request for make-up hugs too early ("Hugs? Hugs?"). Lets face it, I'm a sucker for that sweet baby voice and those pudgy arms. After getting really strict and making him wait for a minute on the step, he'd fake wail a bit, get his hug, and…do what I told him. Bet you didn’t expect that! Yeah, me neither. But gosh darn it, the Naughty Step, even when employed incorrectly, seemed to work!

That was the good news. The bad news is that now I have to bear the humiliation of using parenting techniques from a childless British woman who races around in a Plymouth Cruiser saying "I'm on my way!". Sigh.


Tess said...

better luck next time, huh?

(I'm a new blogging chick)

Sudiegirl said...

I can totally relate as an aunt, at least.

I threatened to sell their candyland game because they were arguing about who was cheating.

I'm so glad you came to my blog...if you like what you read and want to link, go to


Karmyn R said...

Okay - I confess...I watched the Nanny a whopping 3 times, but we now have The Naughty Rug at our house - and just like your son, my daughter thought it was all fun about the first 10 times she was on it. Now, it is a different story. My children do NOT like it - but I must say, it seems to work.

Amy said...

Update: the naughty step continues to work like magic.

I have no choice but to erect a shine to the supernanny in my house.

I cant believe all the 8-inch-thick child psychology and neurology books I read when I could have just done what I excel at- turning on the TV.