A Practicing Parent

17 Jan 2019
A Practicing Parent

Parenting and the Art of Distraction

Yesterday was like any other day at 5pm. I was making dinner, and my son (Luke), four, was absorbed in his one, daily-allowed TV episode.

Me: “Look at you! You’re so cute!” I gushed to my dog Snoopy as she wagged her tail at me.

Luke: “I’m cute too.” (I guess he wasn’t that absorbed.)

Me. “Of course you are.”

Luke: “I’m cuter than Snoopy.”

Me: “I am allowed to tell Snoopy that she’s cute. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think you’re cute too.”

Luke: “But I’m cuter!” Thankfully, he turned back to his show.

Really, does he have to be competitive with the dog? I sighed. Does everything have to be about him? This is not a new thing. But is sibling-dog rivalry even a thing?

Later, when I was helping my daughter (Jessie), 14, with a math problem in the kitchen, Luke shouted, “Alexa, play ‘Move It Move It’” (his latest favorite song). When I did not acknowledge him, he said, “Alexa, louder.”

Me, sighing: “Luke, I am helping your sister with something.”

Luke: “But I want to listen to my song.”

Me: “Alexa, volume lower.”

Luke: “Alexa, volume louder.”

Trust me, this child is not lacking attention, but now we were having an attention-seeking Alexa fight. There were several directions that it could go, one of which was Luke melting down right in front of Alexa. Been there, done that.

I do a lot of sighing these days. It’s better than yelling, but sometimes I do that too. I picked Luke up (something that, given his size, cannot last much longer) and carried him to his room.

Me: “Alexa, play ’Move It Move It.’” (Yes, we have multiple Alexas; we are a tech driven home.) I reached into his closet and got down a 50-piece puzzle that Luke hadn’t played with in a while. “Please sit, listen to the music and see how fast you can put the puzzle together.”

Luke looked up at me. “Can you time me?”

Me: “Sure. Come get me when you’re done.” I left his room, lowered the kitchen Alexa volume and continued to help my daughter.

It is my Parenting Lesson 101: The Art Of Distraction—a classic, but modern day parenting solution for the attention-seeking kid. It will be interesting to learn what’s in store for me today.

2 Responses

  1. Renee

    What a great solution to having time for life’s other matters. I laughed so hard 😂 at his response to being “as cute” as the dog. A solution can be had for every problem if you’re a thoughtful parent. Thanks for sharing.

  2. JA

    Totally get this! It’s always hard for me to give equal attention
    when so much is happening and needs to get done. Really smart and I will definitely use this!! We have an Alexa and three googles lol!

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