A Parenting Pickle

pickle postOkay…I’m in a pickle, and not one of those sweet little gherkin pickles, either.  It’s more of a huge sour pickle you have to fish out of barrel at the deli.  The kind that’s so sour, it sucks your face inside out when you take a bite.  That’s me right now…in a pickle, face sucked in – over a barrel.

As I’ve mentioned, Gus is a bright boy.  He’s also excruciatingly literal.  He’s very exacting when it comes to speech.  He really puts the pound in expound, the con in conversation, the dis in….well, you get the idea.  When it comes to semantics, he’s pedantic.  He’s always been that way.  When he was younger, we couldn’t even read Horton Hears a Who from cover to cover without the following:

Gus: Why’s it called a Who?
JD:   Why?
Gus: Yes, it should be a what.
JD:   Who?
Gus: No, not a who – a what…why?
JD:   What?
Gus:  Exactly!

I should have known I was in for it when he first spoke. You know that time period when you constantly prompt the child “Can you say Grammy?”  “Say thank you”  “That’s a puppy dog – can you say dog?”  Not my boy; his first real recognizable word was tortellini! My brother in-law was cooking dinner when he said to Gus “We’re having tortellini for dinner…can you say tortellini?”  “TORTELLINI” came the refrain – as clear as a bell.  It’s true! I have witnesses, albeit flabbergasted witnesses.

Anyway, here’s the bumpy, sour, over-a-barrel pickle part: Gus slacks off on his homework because he knows he can still get A’s and B’s on his report card.  The pickle is that we’d always told him we expect A’s and B’s on his report card – nothing less.  I had no idea he’d be so literal about it as to ensure A’s and B’s!  He’ll avoid his homework and pull down a few F’s knowing he can rebound with tests, quizzes and so on and still muster an A or a B.  In the meantime, my blood pressure goes through the roof because he’s getting F’s by simply not trying!  He says, “but you always told me to get A’s and B’s ON MY REPORT CARD – that’s what I’m doing.”  I can’t argue that point.  It’s the truth.  So now I am scrambling to elevate the “A’s and B’s on your report card” mantra to a “work ethic/do the right thing/ always give your best effort/if it weren’t for the F’s, you’d have straight A’s” doctrine.

Lesson learned:  Anything you say (to a kid) can and will be used against you…literally.  I would not at all be surprised if the boy practices law or sells used cars someday.

So you see?  It’s a pickle.  Have any suggestions?  This wasn’t in the instruction manual.

Jon writes our “When a Toddler Turns Teen” posts here on the blog because believe it or not, your adorable bundle of joy will grow up…

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2 Responses to “A Parenting Pickle”

  1. Melissa February 27, 2008 at 8:38 am #

    Just don’t write a contract! I used to make my mom agree to things then sign a contract with her. If she told me no, I would pull out the contract & tell her that she is legally bound to let me do it. Ironically, my sister turned out to be the lawyer..

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