What’s Your Number?


Wednesday, my son was sick and irritable with the latest iteration of stomach bug. Much like my father, Liev reacts idiosyncratically to stomach troubles. Rarely does nausea touch him. But when it does, it is time for TV.

We watched the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse all day. That was more TV than we consume in a week.

At the end of a day, sleep deprived and filled to the brim with Disney propaganda, Liev requested computer time. The soothing sameness of the online metronome always quiets him.

Within minutes, Liev ’s hyper focus kicked in. His fascination was with an online stopwatch. He loves countdowns and timers. Our YouTube site has the funkiest countdown playlist you’ve ever seen.

Anyway, I sit nearby on my laptop to prevent unauthorized Google image searches.  Last Halloween, he snuck in and typed “bad hello kitty.” Even with safe search on, I had some explaining to do.

After ten minutes of countdowns, he flung the chair back from the computer and this conversation took place:

L: “Mama! Mama! I need something!  Right away! Mama!”

Me: “What Liev ?”

L: (tearful) “I have to have it! Mama, please!!”

I turned to look at him.

Me: “What is it, Liev ?”

L:  (hysterical) “My free credit report for 2012! I have to have it!! Let me fill out the form! I have to have it! Please! I need to know my number! My credit score! For 2012!”

Free credit report? Good grief.

I noticed that his online stopwatch has a Free Credit Report banner, with inviting, empty fields. Liev loves to fill out forms but is forbidden to do so. Last September he went on a form filling frenzy which infected every inch of our computer for three weeks.

I know how this conversation will go. Liev was on the verge of tears, because knowing his credit score was a life and death matter.

For once, I resisted the temptation to explain to him the complexities of modern life and credit reports. This was hard for me. As compelled as he is to fill out the form and see the numbers pertaining to his life, I am compelled to deliver a lengthy lecture and tell him the truth. In fact, I slip into lecture mode ¾ of the time.

But not today.

Looking at him, tears in his eyes, tense and frantic, we speak:

Me:  “Okay. But there is a problem”

L: “Problem?”

Me: “Yes. You need to get  a W-2 form before you can have a free credit report.”

L: “Oh.”

Miraculously, he was satisfied.

L: “So when I get my W-2 I can have a free credit report?”

Me: “Sure.”

L: “Okay!”

Meltdown averted.

This is one of my prouder parenting moments.

I am proud, not only for avoiding a meltdown, but for being able to put aside my own immediate agenda.  I must work diligently to corral that tiny professor in my head, who is always seeking an opportunity to take the stage.

I must also remember that meltdowns are not logical-reasonable lesson teaching moments. Meltdowns are all about shifting focus away from the frustrating onto the doable.

11 thoughts on “What’s Your Number?

  1. “I must also remember that meltdowns are not logical-reasonable lesson teaching moments. Meltdowns are all about shifting focus from the frustrating to the doable.”

    Oh, these are great words to remember! I am glad you were able to divert the meltdown. W-2! That’s great!

    We had to have several of our own diversions this morning. A Hex Bug broke and was unable to be revived. Not a fun morning. 🙁 We did end up getting a new one after school was completed…but it took a lot and I had to bind down my “tiny professor”. 🙂

    1. I think the Hex bugs are the coolest toys ever! I so wished my son would get into them! He’s a worksheet sorta kid.

      It is the worst when your child has a “moment” before school. The transisiton is tough in the first place, but to have some out of whack thing can be difficult for little professors and mom professors alike.

      Thanks for the cheery comment! 🙂

    1. Thank you for the kind words and thank you for stopping by!

      I just love the modern world and all of its accessible visual media! There are days when I can hardly tear myself away!

  2. Great post! All of it reminds me of my son! He used to sign up for all kinds of random things. He finally only fills out appropriate forms and asks prior to signing up for games that require payment.

    I completely agree with the last sentence!

    “bad hello kitty” lol that is funny! (sorry!)

    1. Thank you for visiting, AspieSide!

      How cool that your guy likes forms too! We are working on the appropriateness issue. When he first learned how to use Youtube, he would leave random comments. I had no idea he used my account until some irate persson wanted to know what I meant by “123456789 numbers 987654321” on their kid’s birthday party video. Heh!

      Yeah, explaining the nuances of college girls Halloween costumes can be tricky! 🙂

  3. Very clever parenting indeed!

    I had no idea that you can prevent unauthorized Google images – now that my little one is searching I’ll have to figure that out. Bad Hello Kitty made me LOL.

    1. Thank you! I usually bumble along, but that was a fine moment! 🙂

      If you search google images, a bar should appear to the top right with the words “Safe Search On.” I think “Safe Search” is default. You can set it to “Strict” for kids. For example, if you have safe search off and you google “Pigs” every third picture is of pig testicles. With the safe search on, every 30th image is pig testicles. With “Strict” on, all you see is swwet little souts. 🙂

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