Playing with a Full Deck

I don't know if it's just our children... probably it isn't, but...

Let's say our children each have a set of emotional cards. There are certain rules (which we are trying to figure out) by which they play these cards.

The Big Kahuna card is called "the Golden Child." H is the only one who uses this card, but I think it's just because Y has empathy for H, and not the other way around. The GC card works like this: Y will get a time out, the "Chair," and H will immediately play the GC card. He will lavish attention on me... "Mommy, I LOVE you." He will kiss and hug me and THANK me for all I do, and offer to HELP me. All in front of Y, who then dumps all her "I'm no good" cards, and sinks deeper into bad behavior. It makes me cringe when H is so loving to me (for the wrong reasons), so I don't make a big deal about it, because I know I've been GC'd.

When H goes down in flames, Y plays her "Empathy" card and will feel badly for him and will not accept love or attention from anyone until H feels better.

They both have multiple sets of "Farts are Hilarious" cards, and will play them one after another. They also have "Pretending to be Angry" cards, which, if not handled carefully by adults, will turn into "Angry for no Reason" cards.

These cards mask hunger or tiredness: "Pinchy," "Cranky," "Fight Picker," and "Just Joking, but really trying to make you cry."

Oooh, I forgot about the "Killjoy" card that Habtamu has... if Yordi has anything, he'll practically shove her away and take it. We're working on this, but then he plays the "Martyr" card, which forces Yordi to play HER "Martyr" card. Ain't nobody can play the "Pout" card like my boy. And ain't nobody can play the "Scream in Indignation" card like my girl.


ABG said...

This is a really helpful metaphor for parenting older kids. I'd like to share this with my adoptive family network--is that okay?

jur said...

What a great description! Perhaps you could market this as a "parents only" game for when you're REALLY stressed... what a way to laugh a little about it.

Yarnsmith said...

ABG: You go right ahead and share it. I'm glad it's helpful to you. :)

Sue said...

Well, I just want to say that I am absolutely NOT reading your blogs anymore because I didn't win a prize. So there!! Boy, I guess I really showed you, huh?!!
However, IF I was reading, and IF I was going to make a comment it would be:
How did you two get so smart when you've only been doing this parent thing for a few short months? Some of us have been doing it for years and have never been able to come up with helpful metaphors like that!
But since I'm not reading, I'm not commenting.
Sue L

The McEvil One said...

Your card descriptions sound like they are part of a Pokemon game...

"You may have played your 'Pinchy' card, but I counter attack with KILLJOY!"

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog.

I believe there are no rules OR the rules can change at will! :-)

What a fun way to explain this common phenomenon. I think the main part of the battle is realizing that a game is, in fact, being played on their part.

Nobody ever said parenting was easy. I think I will deserve several degrees by the time I am done. :-)

Sue is right, you guys are doing a great job figuring out this parenting game.