Saturday, August 30, 2008

Something frustrating and a little bit obnoxious

Lately, Josh has developed his own sort of syntax for communicating his most basic needs and desires. Either he's earnestly experimenting with how best to liberally apply adjectives so he can follow in his marketing writer mom's footsteps or he is simply dedicated to thoroughly annoying me every chance he gets. I have a feeling it's the latter.

It began with food. He would announce proudly that he was hungry. I would dutifully ask what kind of snack he wanted, and he would answer in a vague, yet specific kind of way: "I want something that's crunchy and goldfishy," or "I'm thirsty for something appley and juicey," or "I'm hungry for something twisty and a little bit fruity." I would scratch my head and pretend to search through the cupboard before emerging victoriously with Goldfish crackers or apple juice or twisted fruit in his favorite "tropsical" flavor.

But this penchant for description in lieu of directness has expanded beyond food and grown into a considerable chore. He is now applying his new technique to all his meals as well as his activities. And he has begun to demand polar opposites. "I want something crunchy and fruity and a little bit chewy," he said the other day after his nap. "Crunchy and chewy?" I asked. He nodded. "I don't have that." I responded, and I was met with an instant tantrum.

He also uses this strategy to narrow down things he doesn't want. Yesterday morning, he asked if he could take a toy in the car on the way to school. I told him to bring something small. He looked at his toy table and said, "I don't want something that floats or something that drives on roads or something that goes on a track." Then he looked up at me and told me to choose, based on those criteria, of course. If I threw all the boats, trains, and cars out of his toy box, there would be little left. I motioned toward an airplane, and he quickly threw in, "Or something that flies in the air." Damn. And last night after we went swimming, he announced, "I want something messy that I can eat at the table." Way to narrow it down for me.

So how did I end up as the sole contestant on Josh's unique form of Jeopardy? I have no idea. But if I really think about it, I can probably trace it back to that very first time when I thought it was cute — and I indulged him. The mistake of all mistakes as a parent. I think it was that deadly combination of pride over his evolving language skills and my desire to be the fun mom that lured me into participating. Now I'm stuck in guessing-game hell, and I'm no longer impressed nor concerned about my mommy Q score. I'm just aggravated, and I'm suddenly desperate for something that's a little bit rational and really straightforwardey.


Laurie Rodak said...

He sounds very smart. I don't know a lot of kids who would think to describe their meals without being prompted to. Hehe even if it is just a game to annoy his mother.

Sus said...

that last paragraph was a positive GEM, robyn. from jeopardy to straight-forwardy.

come on, he's clearly just brilliant. it's relatively little to endure for the sake of hilarity. sometimes i have to remind myself of that.

Kate said...

I'm laughing, almost too hard to type. I have to agree with laurie and sus-- he's a genius (with a wicked sense of humor to boot)! And I too, loved the last paragraph (although I'm quite smitten with "crunchy and goldfishy" too). Next time you have to come up with some good marketing for a product, as Josh to describe it:)

Midwest Mom said...

This sounds just like my sons!!

If I had a nickel for every time I had to play "guess what I'm thinking about", well, I wouldn't need Adsense on my blog.

Somewhere in the fourth year, both of my boys started understanding the power of describing what they want, or starting every sentence with "guess what?"... And I do have those times when I have to tell them Homey don't play that game.

They will laugh, "is your brain tired again, Mom? Okay. I'll give you another hint."

Lucky me. ;)

Have a great day! -MM

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