Either for reasons that their brains and language skills are not fully developed or because they just want to manipulate the truth, the children put their distinctive spin on just about anything they say.
Especially if they anticipate a particular response could have an undesirable or even punitive effect on them!
So I have had to learn to interpret their misleading remarks, to read between the lines, to discern what they really mean from what they actually say.
Because, if I take everything they say literally, then I will be spending a lot of time chasing after mirages…
When Kenzie says “My tummy hurts” it really means “I don’t want to go to school today” or “I don’t want to take a nap.” It really means that she doesn’t want to do whatever is being required of her at the moment.
When Kaleb says, “I’m not tired,” it really means “I’m so tired I can hardly hold my head up and that’s why I’m being so grouchy, antagonistic, and defiant.” It really means that I’m definitely putting him to bed early tonight!
When Kenzie says, “I want to color” and Kaleb says “I want to read a book” just before bedtime, it really means “I want to postpone going to bed as long as I can.” It really means I’m going to have a tough time getting them to sleep tonight!
When we have a trip to McDonald’s planned after school as a reward for good behavior at school that day and Kaleb says, “I was a good boy at school today,” it really means “I wasn’t a good boy at school today, but I still want to go to McDonald’s.”
When Kenzie comes in the house crying and wailing “The cat scratched me,” it really means, “I pulled the cat’s tail again and didn’t let go soon enough.”
When I drop Kenzie off at school and she grabs my leg and wails, “I don’t want you to leave, Poppy,” it really means “I can control you Poppy and make you do what I want if I look and sound so pitiful.” It really means that she can control me and make me do what she wants because she looks and sounds so pitiful!
But, when they say, “I love you Poppy,” they really, really mean it!