Puppy dog eyes, fish-pucker lips, and the tearful sniffle. The trifecta of all that is pouting.
To me, pouting is an interesting beast. It’s not something that is taught explicitly, but something that just shows up in your toddler one day, taking you completely unaware. It is also not something that can really be addressed explicitly. Not a time-out or lecture worthy offense, but definitely not one I want to encourage. Hmm…
One day Bubba had asked, as usual, for gummies for breakfast. Now this is a daily occurrence with the same outcome, always. You’ve got to hand it to him on a persistence level, kid’s got guts. Maybe he’ll use that to his advantage later in life.
Anyway, I told him, “We don’t eat gummies for breakfast. Would you like cheerios, toast or a waffle?” To which he slowly walked away and sat in his toy corner. Odd? Yes. But he’s a toddler, most things he does are odd. After about a minute of eerie quiet, too quiet for a toddler, I checked on him again. I found him sitting, legs crossed, head down, eyes scrunched up and mouth in a giant lip-out pout. The first of many that were to come. As I got closer I realized, the little noodle was trying to cry! He was hoping that if he cried Mommy would give in and it would be 8am gummies for everyone! As my husband says: Buddy, I was born during the day, but it wasn’t yesterday. I don’t think so. Ahh, but how hard it was not to giggle.
Instead, with a slight smirk, I asked, Hey bud, what’s wrong?
“Bubba sad.” He says.
Why are you sad?
“From my mouth.” Ummm, what? That doesn’t really answer the question.
Oh, from your mouth? What makes you sad? Let’s try this question another way.
“I want gummies.”
Well duh. Oh, I see. Well, we can have gummies a bit later today. Now, its breakfast time, what would you like to have instead of gummies?
*Sigh* “No eat. No hungry.” Oh- it’s that kind of drama today, is it? Cool, I’ve got this.
Alright Bud, but I’m going to go make some coffee, if you want something, let me know. *Walk, slowly away*
*Second big sigh* “Ohhhhkay, I have… cheerios.” As he all but drags his not-yet-25-lb-self to the kitchen.
I mean, he played it up big. And the Oscar goes to… Bubba for his role as Toddler in Mean Mommy- the Gummy Dilemma. Yeesh.
Now, any time he’s not getting what he wants, but he’s not yet in trouble he goes for the pout. Sometimes he can even get out one-single-tear that expertly rolls down his adorable little cheek. I can hardly hold back the chuckle when that happens.
Yet, we press on, holding our ground and hopefully teaching him that pouting isn’t the way to get what you want. Even when polite words and actions (or tantrums and screaming) don’t get the job done. Sometimes the answer is simply no, and that’s not a bad thing. Usually when the pout is over, he stands up triumphantly and announces “Mommy! I not cryin! I all done!” and gives me a hug. He’s a sweet kid. I hope he stays that way.
Sometimes we need to remember that they’re still experimenting with their emotions, they’re not trying to jump on our heartstrings and hey, we adults don’t usually get what we want when we pout either. At least not yet anyway.
*Crosses arms and sticks out lip in front of lottery office.* I’ll let you know how it goes.