I’ve written about my son’s whining before.
Of course I’ve written about it before. It’s such a large part of my day-to-day existence, the presence of the whine, the powerlessness to do anything about the whine, the desire to drink lots of wine because of the whine, that how could I not have written about it before?
But that was foolish. Because in the time since I wrote that post, things have taken a turn. And I’ve learned that whatever whining that I was, ahem, whining about back then was hardly whining at all.
It’s almost like my son saw my blog post and was like, “You think that was whining? Hahaha! I’ll show you whining!” Okay, so my son isn’t actually a vindictive little jerk who lives to make my life a living hell (not all the time). But he is something of a whine enthusiast. Which makes me need a drink.
If I could go back to those earlier days, back when I wrote that post complaining about what I naively thought was whining, I would hop in a time machine right now. Because today? Now? I know whining. I’ve served with whining. Whining is, unfortunately, a friend of mine. And that, sir, was not whining! Compared to what I deal with these days, that shit was wonderful, it was soothing. It was music. If my son started up with that right now, I’d stand on my chair and wave a lighter around to keep it coming for encore after encore, so intense and torturous is this new stage of his whine.
The worst part? It begs you to surrender.
For parents, the whine of the toddler is akin to the mythological siren song. Underneath the endless, infuriating pleading to do something your child shouldn’t, won’t, can’t be allowed to do is the constant temptation of relief, the sweet ecstasy of deliverance that is in the offing, if only you’d succumb to the high-pitched entreaties, the endless whimpers, the droning mewls, and grant the toddler’s wishes. (In this case, instead of luring one to forbidden erotic pleasures, we’re being cajoled to parcel out Goldfish crackers and ice cream and to put on episodes of “Clifford” and one more showing of Frozen.) But we must resist! For there’s a reason sirens are evil. There’s a reason Odysseus forced his crew to plug their ears and keep him tied to the mast rather than allow him to answer their call.
Wikipedia states that “the term “siren song” refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad conclusion.” Yeah, like your kid growing up to be a spoiled piece of shit.
So we soldier on as best we can, occasionally giving in – but only occasionally honey, I swear!; occasionally boiling over in frustration and losing it on a helpless, clueless three-year-old like the grown man/woman you are; occasionally surviving like Odysseus, strapped to the mast with nothing but beeswax to block the noise (read: alcohol).
Maybe it’s because of his age, maybe it’s because of our unsettled living situation (we moved from North Carolina in April and are split between Connecticut and New York), maybe it’s because he lives in Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of Dreams that is Grandma’s house. Who knows? I’m just hoping to weather the seemingly never-ending storms of the terrible twos and the threenage wasteland and the fourror show, praying for the vessel that is our family to squeeze past the Scylla (whining) and Charybdis (tantrums) unscathed and emerge into friendlier, less perilous waters.
The best thing I can say about my son’s whining stage is thank god he doesn’t watch “Caillou”, because that would be some Inception-level shit, wherein he would whine in order to watch someone else whine and would then whine even more when “Caillou”‘s whining was over because he wanted to watch more whining.
Pass the wine.