My kids have a really annoying way of expressing themselves sometimes.
I know how to translate, but usually they catch me when I’m half-there and concentrating on something that requires intense focus, like making chicken curry or trying to find that missing $0.09 in the bank rec.
Here are some examples:
“How come we never eat ground beef anymore?”
(we had it last night in the form of burgers.??)
“I never get to hold the baby!”
(you just held her for 25 minutes while I was in the shower.??)
“Why don’t you ever buy bread at Trader Joe’s?”
(you finished the last slice of it with breakfast. ??)
In my half-aware state I sometimes engage with the actual question (which of course goes absolutely nowhere, since it has little basis in reality) rather than what I’d do if I were paying attention, which is to insist that they make a request or statement of preference. But most of them would rather DIE than make a request, apparently. It’s more fun for them to ask ridiculous questions like the above rather than say, “I prefer beef tacos to chicken, can we have that next time?” or “May I please hold the baby?” or “Will we buy more bread next time we go to the store?”
Notice the common thread, too is the use of “never,” “ever” and “always.” These types of statements are rarely true (did I almost just write “never?” You’ll have to guess) and as such I have long had a rule that they must rephrase such statements. Invariably the result is much less inflammatory. “You never let me play with you” incites much more of a defensive response than “You sometimes like to play alone.”
Sigh. I suppose the only way to get them out of this habit is to continue making them rephrase each time? Yeah, I figured. How come they never learn?