We were in the midst of a typical cranky morning getting you ready for the day. You didn't want to get dressed. You didn't want to fix your hair. You didn't want to brush your teeth. In case we didn't already know all this by your uncooperative manner, you let us know by crying & whining & yelling. You know, a typical morning, the kind of morning that makes me want to hide under the covers until you turn four & hope that whining was just a three year old phase.
I had been trying to coax you into opening your mouth so that I could brush your teeth for almost five minutes when Daddy walked in. "Hey Emma, I just got off the phone. I can't believe it. Guess what, you won! You won whiniest girl in America!" He began to sing, "There she is, the whiniest girl in America..."
You looked up at Daddy with wide eyes. "I won?! I can't believe it. I won," you said excitedly.
I looked up at Daddy. This was obviously not how we thought this conversation would go. I don't think he thought you were going to be excited about being the whiniest girl in America. Little does he know, you're excited to win anything. Seriously, anything. Every time we walk up the stairs you declare, "I'm going to beat you!"
You ran out of the bathroom excited to share your new title with your best friend. "Hey S, guess what! I won!" I gave Daddy a "well, that backfired look." At least you weren't whining anymore...well, that is until S declared that she was actually whiniest girl in America & then you both whined over the title.
The next morning we were again in the throes of getting ready again when you all of a sudden looked up at me & said "well, do you know Daddy is a liar?" What?! "I didn't actually win anything," you told me sadly.
I guess you & Daddy had a heart to heart the evening before as he put you to bed. You were whining, of course (lucky for us, it's not something you save only for mornings, you share it with us the whole day through). Daddy asked you if you would just use your words. He explained how much people dislike listening to whining (especially Daddy & I). You shot back, "but I won the award!" I wasn't there for this conversation, but I can imagine Daddy trying so very hard not to laugh at that comment.
"Emma, it wasn't a real award. You don't want to be whiniest girl in America, because people don't like to listen to whining."
"So, I didn't win?" I imagine your face must have been so serious & so sad.
"So, you were just teasing me?"
You explained the conversation to me that next morning. You were crushed about losing what you thought was your rightful award. I suggested you try to help me get you ready in the morning (you know, instead of fighting me tooth & nail the whole way), & you could win the Extra-Special-Helper-Getting-Readier Award. It might not be an Olympic event, but if it helps with our mornings I will erect a trophy.
Unfortunately, your excitement over the new award was short lived. Three days ago you cried in your room while we were supposed to be getting ready for our day. When I asked you why you were crying you said you didn't know. When I asked you if you wanted to stop crying since you were crying for no reason you said resoundingly, "NO!" I explained that it didn't make sense, but you were too busy crying to care. How do you reason with that?!
Yesterday, you spent 15 minutes in your room whining in a high pitched shriek. "I don't like it," you whined over & over & over, because I had laid out a turtle neck for you to wear underneath you short sleeved dress. When I finally went to help you get dressed, you were still standing in your underwear. You wanted time for reading before leaving for school, but I explained to you that when it takes twenty minutes just to get you dressed we don't have extra time for reading. Somehow you believe that this is my fault.
I have enacted a no whining rule in our house, but that hasn't really worked. So, I'm going to go back to option B, which is hiding under my covers until you turn four. I would also go with option C, hoping that Mary Poppins will glide down to my house with her umbrella & work her magic. But it's probably going to end up being option D, buying earplugs.
I love you so, even when you're at your whiniest,