Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Tattler

As a teacher, I can appreciate the fact that a child's tendency to "tell" on classmates displays evidence of achieving a developmental milestone:  not only does that student show an appreciation for social norms, but the student also has equal expectations for the behavior of other children.  The challenge I often face is supporting The Tattler to develop an understanding of the difference between a problem that requires teacher intervention, and one that can be solved by the peers themselves.

As a parent, I find it particularly frustrating when my own offspring display a difficulty in understanding the difference between circumstances that require the intervention of The Almighty Mother, and minor infractions that could be easily resolved by a smidgen of self-regulation.

It's summertime. 

All three girls are home with me, as I desperately attempt to de-tox from what has been one of the most frantic years of my existence.  During this time, my youngest child has apparently decided to take her pre-existing condition of tattle-tale-itis, and hone it into a form of Fine Art.

This?  Is the child whose most frequent tattle runs along the lines of:

"MUM-MEEEEEE...  (insert sister here) just called me a TATTLE-TALE!!!"

Somebody, tell me:  If I stick custom-fitted wax plugs in my ears, and my youngest child narks out her siblings, does it still count as tattling if I can't actually HEAR HER?

Yesterday, as I was slogging away in an overheated kitchen, scraping a layer of solidified crud off of the worktop, Wee Three manifested herself at my elbow:

Mother:  (wearily)  What's up, squirt?

Wee Three:  MUM-MEEEEEEEEE... 

Mother:  (immediately detecting the distinct whiff of Rat-Finkiness)  Yikes!  This doesn't sound good already...  Tell me, Wee one, do I sense a TATTLE coming on?

Wee Three:  (regretfully)  Wellllllll...  yes.

Suddenly, she brightened up, and hopped from one foot to another in what can only be described as evil anticipation:

Wee Three: (gleefully)   BUT...  It's a really GOOD one!

God save the foundation...

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