Friday, November 15, 2013

My Little Nagger

Well, now I know how I sound.

It's no secret I have a nagging problem I've been working on for some time. Sorry, I don't have a nagging problem -- I have a problem with nagging. I have trouble stopping myself from offering what some in my family would call...unsolicited advice on certain matters, repeatedly.

I'm doing better. I'm learning to bite my tongue (at least with Dan; not so much the kids. To me they're still at the point where they NEED nagging to make it out the door or to do homework). But as my nagging diminishes, Ethan's has ramped up.

What gets me is his nagging is usually about something I've already thought of; something I'm trying to do but haven't gotten to yet. My brain works in a similar way. I nag myself all of the time. Sometimes I wear myself out listening to the voice remind me of everything I haven't done. Now I have Ethan's voice added to the mix.

He sees the hamper in the hallway piling higher with clothing. "Oh mama," he admonishes. "Those clothes are getting too high. You need to do laundry soon." Thanks, Ethan.

About his overdue library book? "You need to put that in my backpack for tomorrow. I have library. That library book has been here for too long!" I will, Ethan.

Looking outside, at the leaves that assault our front and backyard each fall: "We still have 50 more leaf bags to go! How are we going to do it? We don't have enough time!" I know, Ethan, I know.

Sometimes I find it quite funny to be lectured. The other night, as I put a new pair of socks on him before bed to keep his feet warm, he said: "In the morning, when you get my clothes, don't get me any socks because I already have socks to wear."

Other times his nagging is every bit as annoying as mine must sound to everyone else. Especially when it's about the same thing over and over. Breakfast is a good example. In Ethan's perfect world, every day he would have a bowl of maple & brown sugar oatmeal, milk, and a plate with a banana, piece of cheese, and Flintstone vitamin (this is his "big" meal of the day; he usually picks at his dinner). God forbid I forget the cheese or we run out of vitamins. God forbid Dan makes him breakfast. That's always good for a laugh because then he nags him. "Where's my banana?" "I like my banana on a plate." "I don't have a vitamin." "Why did you give me this cup to drink from?"

Thankfully, and I mean this whole-heartedly, Ethan does not flip out when things are out of order. He just stresses and whines. Very much like his mamma. And his breakfast regimen is a big one. When the vitamins are gone, Ethan is sad. "We need to go to Target and buy more," he announces every morning, forlornly. When the maple & brown sugar flavor is gone, there is even more sorrow. "Please mama, when can we go to BJ's and get more?" he'll say, while grudgingly eating a different flavor. At least once a week, I force him to change it up and eat say, a bagel or pancakes, so we don't get too trapped in routine.

As I was writing this, Ethan came down the stairs. One of the first things he did to start the day was to ask (yet again), "When are we going to take down our Halloween decorations? They need to go in the basement." We've had this discussion before. I've told him the decorations up are NOT Halloween decorations, they are fall decorations (i.e. scarecrows and fall leaves; never mind the "give thanks" banner). I tell him we can leave them up through Thanksgiving. He doesn't get it.

"Well, when are we going to move them, because they are bothering me?" he asked again.

Sigh. This is what I get, for the eons of my own nagging.

After that I went into the kitchen to make breakfast...and was summarily chided because of Ethan's watch. He noticed it was different from the stove clock and slower than the radio news at turning to 7 a.m. I made the mistake of telling him his watch was a little slow and was lectured about how his watch was not wrong (because daddy bought it at the Watch Museuem, duh!), and that I needed to make it match the time on the stove. Seeing his watch say 7:03 when the one on the stove says 7:04 is the type of thing that really bothers him.

I tried to explain the concept that his watch was almost right but just a few seconds off. This went over his head. We attempted to consult the atomic clock with the official U.S. Eastern time zone time. He still insisted his watch was right...and wanted me to change it. I found myself getting increasingly annoyed. This had gone over the top. All I wanted to do was make his darned maple & brown sugar oatmeal, banana, cheese and vitamin breakfast.

Then I remembered the minutiae arguments I've had with Dan over the years, over things like the toilet paper roll or the placement of the recycling bins. Nag, nag, nag. And again my child is a mirror. I look and have to sheepishly smile. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

No comments: