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.”
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.