The Long And Whining Road
If whine was intoxicating, there would be some mornings that I’d be loaded by 9AM. Aside from the voice of any Republican presidential candidate, Enya and that festering pustule Ann Coulter, there are relatively few things that I find as intolerable. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when whining begins, other than after a child learns to speak. And I’m not sure why it occurs. One could understand if it occurred only after not getting one’s way. But often, it’s right out of the gate. And when it’s before Daddy has had even my first cup of coffee; well, that is just part of parenthood that they don’t prepare you for in any of the books.
And apparently, I’m not alone in my aversion for whining. A study conducted at SUNY and Clark Universities ranked whining more annoying than even nails on a chalkboard. Imagine that? Now, I’m not certain if funding permitted the inclusion of Ann Coulter sound bites or Rick Santorum simultaneously proselytizing and crying like a little girl for what Dan Savage has done to him (God Bless You, Dan!), but nonetheless, we are all in agreement. Whiiii-niiiing suuuuu-cks!
Not that the whining is limited to any one place, but one of Elly’s favorite places of late is to bring it on in the car. This makes it challenging on multiple levels. We’re both restrained, we can’t make eye contact, we are in a confined space and I’m actually trying to concentrate on the bigger task at hand - driving, and getting us from point A to point B safely.
So like any other behavior, I’ve taken to the books and the Interweb for advice in curbing Elly’s use of it. One of the most effective ways that I have found is saying "I can’t understand you when you talk in that voice. Please use your big girl voice." Sounds easy? Sure it is. The first time I say it. It’s the twelfth time I say it that I start to develop a twitch. And sticking to my guns until it ceases, now that is the true challenge. Because children are quite determined little creatures. And I’m not talking determined, as in, "I’d like to get my way, thank you. Carry on." I’m talking determination that is the caliber of the Running of the Brides at Filene’s Basement where brides-to-be will gladly stampede people to get the $79 wedding gown of their dreams.
Inevitably what ensues is a battle of the wills. Who will break first? Will Elly stop whining and ask for what she wants nicely? Or will her whines escalate to their apex while Daddy’s patience plummets to its nadir resulting in my pleading her to "Stop whining!" (all the while desperately trying not to whine myself) At this point in time, I’d say that I have about a 60% success rate of getting her to stop before wanting to put earplugs in. The other times I consider looking for earplugs while reminding myself that she is only two. And for good measure, I pray that she doesn’t continue to whine until twenty.
So while I work on my patience and reiteration of the "big girl voice" mantra, I have decided to invoke another approach. I’m going to fight fire with fire. And for this, I turn to Enya. For a mere 99 cents, I’m going to download some annoying, repetitious song on iTunes. The second that Elly’s whining begins, I’ll cue it up... "...Sail away, sail away, sail away..." Elly whines again. "...Sail away, sail away, sail away..." And my plan is to just repeat it ad infinitum, until either the whining ceases or we both end up institutionalized. The one major flaw that I see in my plan from the start is that I doubly punish myself by having to listen to both girls whining.
I’ll let you know how I make out.