Don’t say Die
What amazes me about my children is that:
(a) occasionally they actually do listen to me, and
(b) they always manage to surprise me at the most unexpected moments.
Boys, I never thought I’d be the mom of two boys. They have always been into games which require some sort of dismemberment, killing, shooting, or maiming. They play pirates, cowboys, cars, trains and superheroes. Regardless of what they are playing at a certain point there is always some sort of fight or mortal injury. Thomas just HAS to knock Ferdinand off of the track and send him to the doctor. Maybe it’s because I am a girl, but I just don’t understand. Can’t the trains just be friends?
Since they like to play this way I have told them that I don’t want to hear them saying words like kill, hate, or die. I’ve tried to explain that these words are not very nice things to say to people and can hurt their feelings.
Generally speaking, I am of the mind that I speak for the pure joy of hearing myself. I’ve mastered speaking with the perfect mix of exasperation and annoyance – “Don’t fight”, “Don’t do that”, “Don’t bug your brother”, “Just stop”. It seems that no one is ever listening. It is, however, pretty hard to hear over all of the screaming, yelling, crying and whining noises that occur on a daily basis.
So, when I realized that my boys actually do hear me, at least selectively, I was surprised. It happened while I was driving in the city, a task I personally despise. Give me a country road and I am in my glory. Paint chips, suspension and dirt be damned, I enjoy kicking up dust on a gravel road.
Put me in a car,
with one kid talking non-stop,
and another crying or trying to maim the other,
on busy city roads,
in winter, when it’s icy,
with lots of other drivers who have forgotten how to drive,
and I am not a very happy mom.
Driving with children is like a prison sentence. Instead of solitary, you serve your time trying not to kill anyone with your confined and limited power for the duration of your trip by simultaneously watching the road and preventing World War III from breaking out in your backseat.
In winter, the roads are almost always icy. This “winter” thing happens every year for several months at a time. You’d think people would be used to driving on snow and ice by now, after all our city is nicknamed “Winterpeg” for goodness sake.
That day, it was the old guy in front that broke me. I could tell by his hunched back and bald head that the elderly man in the Camry ahead of me had no business being on the road. He was terrified, hands clutching the wheel as if navigating through hell itself. His speedometer never cracking 30 kilometres. I was trying, really trying, to be patient, but I was in my own hell. Cars sped past me in the other lanes and I was behind him for what seemed like forever. And, my youngest was driving me crazy with his incessant chatter. Frustrated I yelled, “JUST DRIVE, WILL YOU?”
Immediately, a voice pipes up from the back seat:
“MOMMY! NO! NOT NICE! YOU NO SAY DIE, YOU SAY SORRY.”
So, it appears they do listen, on occasion. Don’t get me wrong they still “hate” each other, and “want to kill bad guys,” but at least they are not telling people to die. One out of three isn’t bad I guess.