When Toys Cry

Today I’m tending my niece-to-be (My brother is in the process of adopting her)I’ll call her Belle. Belle actually spent the night last night since it was their anniversery. Gleek and Belle were both delighted, they are best friends despite a year age difference. I was exhausted. Like many kids who have been through the foster-care system Belle has behavioral issues. Nothing serious, she just requires extremely stable parenting because she’s used to a parent who moves to her every whim. Nothing I can’t handle, but it is tiring.

But there is one thing that has been driving me nuts ever since Belle arrived. Gleek and Belle spend lots of time playing pretend games, and for whatever reason the toys they play with spend a lot of time crying and calling “Mom!” I keep responding to what sounds like a major crisis only to have two cheerful little girls look at me like I’m nuts. Then they tell me “Go away, we’re playing.”

Unfortunately because of the behavioral issues, I pretty much have to check every time. With Belle, intervention is always necessary to resolve conflicts, particularly if Belle’s conflict is with Gleek. Gleek responds to attack by fortifying her position and hauling out the big guns. The big guns may be yelling or hitting or even occasionally biting. In short when they play nice it’s great, when they fight I have to get there as fast as possible before there is blood.

So I’ve been spending today in a fairly high-vigilance state. Fortunately my brother will be coming to pick Belle up this afternoon. I like Belle. I love the way that Gleek and Belle play happily together for hours on end. I love seeing how happy Gleek is to have Belle here. I’m just tired and I wish the toys would stop crying.

5 thoughts on “When Toys Cry”

  1. Perhaps you could simply tell the girls that the toys need to stop crying? Lord only knows how well it would actually work, but it might be worth a try.

  2. How did Gleek get that way?

    Because frankly, sick freak that I am, I’ve spent weeks trying to convince my three year old that she should smack her cousin across the mush when she bites her. I hate when she does that, and I’ve never felt comfortable dealing with these sorts of discipline issues with other people’s children… I feel like I’m meddling in someone else’s balliwick, which of course at work causes all sorts of problems. Also, I want my daughter to be able to stand up for herself, and my wife doesn’t react as severely as I’d like.


    Hmmm. Too many she’s and her’s. It’s like in some of the passages in the Book of Mormon where your seminary teachers makes you go back through the couple of verses and underline all references to the Nephites in blue and all references to the Lamanites in red, because the whole thing is “they” and “them” and “their” etc. There. Colors added. Probably should have reworded, but this was more fun.

  3. Dealing with someone else’s child is always a cost/benefit analysis. The answers are rarely simple. My feeling is that in my house my rules need to apply to all the children. Disciplining someone else’s child always feels awkward, but if that child is going to associate with yours, you really have to make clear to the child what is acceptable and what isn’t.

    The issue of getting your daughter to defend herself is a trickier one. At the age of three a child’s conflict managment skills tend to be pretty much whatever came pre-loaded. Gleek has always had a fortify-her-position personality. You may not be able to teach your daugher to hit back, but you can definitely talk it through with her. I actually recommend this as a pre-play time activity, talk through what she intends to do if her cousin bites. She will be more likely to follow through on the conversations if the solutions are truly her own.

    Don’t know if any of that helps or not. But those are some of my thoughts on the matter.

  4. You never saw much South Park, I’m guessing, so I’ll just say “Mecha Sandra” is a compliment, and then mention that is what I think of you.

    You’re right about the pre-loaded… that is something I’ve remarked on many times with regards to other topics. I’m not sure why that would have escaped me on this topic. Scarlet mostly does the loud crying drama thing, which certainly gets some attention when done correctly, and gets the cousin dealt with anyway.

    Talking with her before hand is an excellent suggestion. Thank you.

  5. See? She has a tactic that works for her. It just happens to be one that annoys you. Hopefully your discussion can prompt a coping tactic that is happier for you both.

    It is much easier to come across as mecha-mom in the calm and reasoned environment of the internet rather than in the thick of actual parenting. Thanks much for the compliment though. Validation is a big morale booster for me.

Comments are closed.