Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ethan's Brain Doesn't Play Nice

My mother did it. I did it. Ethan does it. Lots of people do it. And it drives parents crazy. It's that moment when they're in trouble and instead of looking remorseful, their faces look distorted. Not because they're trying to make funny faces but because they're trying so hard not to crack that smile so evident on their little faces.

It raises my hackles. It increases my anger. It makes me feel like he's not getting the point at all.

Ethan notoriously smiles when he's in trouble. I'll ask him why he got in trouble. I'll ask him how he can make sure he doesn't repeat the offense. And the entire time, he is trying to hide that little crack of a smile that gets to me every.single.time. I'll ask him if he thinks it's funny. If he needs more time to think about his actions. "No!" he says, still cracking a smile. It's aggravating.

Apparently, my frustration has not gone unnoticed by the eyes of my little one.

Conversation out of the blue....

"Mom, my brain doesn't like my mouth."
"What?" I ask, perplexed.
"My brain is trying to get my mouth in trouble."
At this point, I'm expecting him to tell me that it makes him say things he shouldn't.
"Because when I'm in trouble, I tell my mouth not to smile but my brain doesn't listen. It just tells my mouth to smile, even though I don't want it to. It's not being very nice to my mouth."

How does one respond to this line of reasoning, especially when I completely understand what he's talking about. I imagine his internal dialogue goes something like this...
Don't smile.
Brain says, smile.
Quit smiling, brain!

I wasn't sure how to respond, so I just said, "Well, that is a problem, isn't it?"
"Yes. My brain is supposed to do what I say, but it doesn't. I don't think it's funny when I'm in trouble. I don't want to smile. But apparently my brain does and I can't make it stop."

And so the next time Ethan finds himself in trouble, which will undoubtedly be tonight, I think I'll say, "Your brain isn't helping you out kid!"


  1. Oh goodness, I have this problem too!

  2. Sometimes it is hard to turn our brains off. I remember wanting to laugh when I got in trouble. I knew I was going to get in trouble and seeing my moms anger just sealed that and my brain wanted to smile at it! Actually I would sometimes laugh and that didn't go over very well. Good luck.....