No whining, Mr. Crabbedy

November 3, 2009


Call it a blending of like minds, a synergy of creative forces, or just plain bad hearing, but Flash and I came up with a nearly perfect way to describe Avery’s less-than-charming side.

In a word: “crabbedy.”

As I was getting breakfast ready under a fog of Benadryl and lack of sleep, Avery asked me one of his standard morning questions: “Am I staying for nap today at school?” Unfortunately for him, the answer was “yes.” So I cringed, waiting for the whining, pleading, and stomping onslaught to begin.

“I HATE NAP!!!!!” Avery screamed, only the preamble to a verbal tirade that I endure on a daily basis. Why he does this, I’m not sure. It is rare, if ever, that I give into this type of behavior.

To be fair, I know nap time is hard for Avery. He rarely falls asleep anymore and is forced to lay on his cot for at least an hour while much of the rest of the class sleeps. This is very difficult for a boy of Avery’s energy level, and I feel for him. I’m amazed that they can even get him to lie down, really.

I gave up on Avery napping at home at least 3 years ago. The last straw came when I told him I would lie down with him, hoping to get a bit of a nap myself. But he proceeded to kick, whine, and finally just talk and laugh for two hours as I pretended I was asleep next to him in his bed.

So, I figure the kid really doesn’t need to nap. However, at Alabama Waldorf School, all kindergarteners who stay past lunch must rest quietly if not napping.

He has for the most part learned to live with it. But with the napping comes the whining about napping.

So it began this morning. Usually, this type of tirade is enough to put me in my “mean mom” mode.

Enter Flash.

He says to Avery, “Quit being such a crybaby.” But with my Yankee ear and his Southern accent it sounded to me like, “Quit being such a crabbedy.”

I really admired that quaint Southern-sounding word. “Crabbedy.” I put it in my new word file, pleased that he introduced me to such a useful new tool. Had I heard him correctly, I probably would have bristled. “Crybaby” to me is name-calling and a taunt. Probably unproductive in my best estimate. He sees it as an accurate description. Which is true to an extent. But I still don’t like it.

Then Flash and I spontaneously started a conversation in Whinese. We whined and moaned to each other in our best whiny voices for darn near five minutes (trying desperately not to laugh) as Marely and Avery watched us wide-eyed and silent.

Then Flash took his coffee downstairs, and Avery cautiously approached me asking why we were talking like that.

“Why, didn’t you like it?” I asked.

And with a hint of a smile, he said ,”no.”

“Well, how do you think we feel when you whine about things?” I asked.

“I guess you don’t,” he said.

That’s the first time it really seems to have sunk into Mr. Crabbedy’s head that being crabbedy ain’t that cool.

Chalk one up for humor.

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