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.
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...