Whining about getting dressed and finding socks.
Whining about putting lunches in backpacks and getting in the car.
Then add to that some weeping and gnashing of teeth from the 4 year old about teeth brushing and you have the perfect picture of this morning.
There is something about the nasally singsong sound of a child's high pitched whine that can send me right over the edge. OVER. THE. EDGE.
I can usually maintain a certain level of calmness when dealing with my kids.
But when the whining begins, have mercy, because it is as if all good will has been sucked out of the universe and I feel I must do whatever I have to to make that noise stop.
(In the name of all that is good and holy, make it stop!)
It takes one or two well placed notes of whining to set all my teeth on edge and I lose all sense of perspective and logic.
That sound pushes my proverbial button.
We ask the children, semi-beg them,
"Just talk normal. No one enjoys whining. Use your regular voice."
We even ask them,
"Do you know what you sound like when you talk like that?"
As if somehow, knowing they sound like a dying monkey will keep them from talking that way.
Take this conversation.
"It's time to clean your room," I ask nicely.
To which the child throws back his head as if in agony...
as if I have asked him to pull all his eyebrows out one at a time.
He responds, "I don't want to do it."
(Drag this sentence out for a full 30 seconds and apply the vocal range of a small chipmunk.)
And in that high pitched moment of whine, every modicum of calm is stripped away from me as the very sound of it grates on my last nerve.
Mommy Nicey-Nice disappears with that one sentence and I become the embodiment of female prison guard,
"Did I ask if you wanted to do it? No, I didn't. And mister, you will do it!
And if you don't you will go bed early for the rest of your life! Your life!"
(I, myself, sound a bit shrieky at this point which may be a close cousin to whining.)
I have asked myself, "Why do the children whine?"
And I have come to one great conclusion. Because they can.
They feel empowered when their parents look all weird and glassy-eyed and start clawing at their own ears.
They realize, "I can make Mommy go cuckoo! Let's do it again! That was fun!"
So I believe I have solved the dilemma while sitting thinking about it this morning.
It may be a bit drastic but here it is....earplugs.
The hope of the future.