Thursday, January 24, 2008

Parenting 101 - The Eye Roll

There is so much guilt in parenting I think it's nice now and then to look back on the actual successes.

When Child 1 was about 9 we began to teach It to roll Its eyes. It was my idea actually (I do have the odd intelligent one), partly inspired by some of Child's friends who were precociously irritating when it came to adults (well, sometimes).

Whenever a moment came when we might anticipate a bit of attitude in a Child we'd simply leap in with some thoughtful advice. "Honey, you're not getting the full sweep on your eyes there. Try really looking hard over to your left, and then WAAAAAY up. That's it!" or "No, sweetie, you need to sigh WITH the eye roll. And if you can start the sigh with that little sort of grunt that's even better." As they got more proficient with it we moved on: "No, it's 'MohAAAAAWuhm,' with a really firm emphasis on the AW." and "Right, now a bit of a head flick and say, 'you're RUining my LIFE!'"

We even got them to perform the eye roll for friends and family, alternating now and then with the other trained responses such as, "no blood, no foul," or, "pain is weakness leaving the body" both of which were delivered in a bored monotone while we looked on with fond pride.

To this day when I have the chance to really cause angst to the Children - you know, by asking them to put away the dishes in the dishwasher or return the milk to the refrigerator - I can increase my own enjoyment of the situation by insisting, "Wait, wait, what do you say?" and get in return a beautifully exaggerated and histrionic, "you're RUining my LIFE-UH!"

Sarcasm. A terribly underused parenting tool.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You rock. Sarcasm is really just far too effective to be ruled out.