Monday, June 30

Who Knew All That Work Would Actually Pay Off?

I am a trainer. I train people. OK, well these days I don't actual stand in front of a room full of 30 annoying people and talk, I tell other people how to stand in front of a room full of 30 annoying people and talk. But, I used to have to do it. Mostly I used to train people on how to use various software applications, but before I fell into that world of joy, I was one of those people that stood in front of a room and taught you all about how to communicate more effectively, provide better customer service, work as part of a team, and various other topics that were FREAKIN' ANNOYING.

Yeah. I was that irritating woman who talked about concepts that didn't make any sense and could never actually be used in the real world. I might have even made you *gasp* role play *gasp*.

(*ducks to avoid all the shoes being thrown*)


An amazing thing has occurred to me.

At least one of the craptacular concepts I used to train ACTUALLY WORKS ON THE TODDLER!

There's this thing that I used to cover in conflict resolution training that basically says that if someone is doing or saying something and they won't stop, you should practice XYZ. XYZ is when you say, "I feel (fill in the blank) when you (fill in the blank). I wish you would (fill in the blank)."


When I heard Alexis was scratching kids' faces at daycare, I told her, "I feel sad when you scratch other kids. I wish you would please play nice without hurting them." When Alexis thought it would be Great! Fun! to throw a bunch of puzzle pieces all over the nice clean living room, I said, "I feel sad when you throw things. I wish you would please pick up your mess." When she got the fantabular idea in her head to smear her beans all over the cat, I told her, "I feel sad when you get the kitty dirty. I wish you would stop."

Hell if the kid didn't obey my wish in every.single.instance. It's like magical and stuff. For whatever reason, "sad" is the only emotion that gets her attention, but that's OK. I can be sad. No problem! Sad it is. I mean, she even apologizes when I use XYZ on her. Awesome.

Go forth and XYZ. Report back your results.

In the meantime, I think I'll be using XYZ to tell Alexis that I feel sad and icky when she tries to eat lilies and that I wish she would quit making me throw up in my mouth.


"Ook, Mommy! Pretty flowers!"

"Mommy! Flowers smell pretty!"

"Ook, Mommy! This pretty flower would fit ever so perfectly in my cute little mouth. You know, the mouth that I use to kiss you. I wonder what pollen tastes like? Mmmm . . . tastes like chicken. Want some?"


  1. I actually remember this from my working-at-a-day-care-center days. It does work. Why did it take this post to remind me to use it on my own kids?? :-)
    Too cute, btw. I LOVE the pics! tee hee!

  2. You tricked me! Yes, I got sucked into your tweet because I thought "I feel sad when I am ignored, too!" So I feel sad when you trick me. I wish you'd quit tricking us and just love us. *sniff*

    And are so the person I would roll my eyes at for roll-playing...gah! Although I was also the person getting eyes rolled at when I had to train dozens upon dozens of very-angry-and-bitter-unionized-associates who thought the knowledge tool I was training them on was taking away their jobs. I feel your pain!

  3. She's a bee, mommy! Her lips are as sweet as honey! Or lilies.

  4. In training sessions, not only did we roll our eyes at people like you, but we drew really funny pictures of you and passed 'em around :)

    Of course, you, as in Burgh Baby's mom, we'd like you *snicker*

    BTW, I tried this method with my high schoolers. For some very odd reason, it never, ever worked. So, get 'em while they're young, I say!!! Maybe it'll stick.

  5. anglophilefootballfanatic.com11:49 PM

    Does she know what chicken tastes like? I thought she swung the veggie way? Have I told you lately how much I love you for putting up the button. SMOOCHIES!

  6. Well I am trying this tom...I'll report back...

  7. And here we've been waiting anxiously till E is old enough for the "I can't understand you when you scream/yell/talk like that."

    This trick sounds soooo much cooler.

  8. OMG, I did this too before I was a Mom, then I did the Train the Trainer thing for a few years, then even I couldn't stand myself and so I stayed home...for the kid's sake of course.

    Does this trick work with ten year old boys? I have a feeling he's gonna tell me that he doesn't care if he makes me mad/sad. Actually he may even tell me that this is the WHOLE point.

    I'll report back.

  9. I too used to do conflict resolution and peer mediation stuff. ZzzzZzzzzZzzzz.....
    I have 3 kids and never once thought to try this on them. I'll report back. I fear the worst though. My kids are much smarter than I am.

    I will say that even if this doesn't work, it was totally worth reading your post because the picture of your daughter eating the lillies made me laugh so freakin' hard for some reason that I think I peed my pants a little.

  10. I don't think my boys would give a rat's butt if I felt sad. Maybe if I said, I feel REALLY PISSED OFF when you...

    Okay. Maybe I'll try sad first.

  11. I feel sad that you feel sad.

  12. doncha just HATE it when stuff you think is really crap actually WORKS??????

    yeah, me too.

  13. Yeah, and according to my son boogers taste like chicken too. Actually, many flowers are edible-Ewell Gibbons. That XYZ thing, they freakin don't care about my feelings. SO I say when you do X, I feel like Y (hanging you by your toenails, making you clean every room in the house, etc.)So, I'd advise you to do Z instead. If I totally eliminate every other form of sensory stimulation in the environment before I say that, it works quite well. Hang onto the toddler, she's a keeper.

  14. Anonymous4:01 AM

    OK, so I was reading this as ST was banging his feet against the table which was beginning to rile me, so I just turned to him and said "I feel sad when you bang the table..." etc, and... HE STOPPED!

    You are now my parenting guru.

    (And to think I used to just come here to read about the fish tank).

  15. hmmm I can just hear my son answering "well it's not supposed to" and me going "oh... yeah." I suck. Somebody just do a trust fall or something to give me my confidence back please.

  16. Eating lilies? I'd kick her little cute butt cuz it takes so damn much for me to get ANYTHING to grow. And then she'd eat it?


    Sad is a very powerful weapon. That and Santa Claus.

    "Santa Claus feels sad when you do "x." He wishes you would stop."


  17. I use this in my classroom, but...funny...I never tried it with my own darlings! Hmmm....

  18. Sweetie I ain't gunna throw shoes at you. I have much more respect for my shoes...

    But a trainer that KNOWS how crushingly annoying those role plays are? I heart you. Just as long as you don't make me do one K?

    And when she becomes a teen you say 'homicidal' or 'hormonal' instead of sad. Just giving you the heads up.

  19. Hmm. Wonder if this would work on my neighbors? "I feel mad enough to beat you with a stick when you let your soon to have a baseball bat to the head German shepherd onto my property. I wish that you would pack up your dog and all the people living in your shack, along with all your crap, and move far away from here so that we could sell our house!"

    Something tells me that isn't exactly the correct way to implement the technique, huh?

  20. I used to train military users of a medical information system. I know all about those glazed over looks and latent hostility. You have to have some guts to do that job.

    I'm glad your skills paid off with the Toddler. Let's hope it works for awhile.

    Peace - D

  21. I statements you mean...I'm a therapist and I'm all the time telling my kids to use those, good to know it actually works in real life!

  22. I never blamed the trainer for the craptacular, nonsensical topics being presented.


    We blamed our employer who hired them to come and talk to us about stuff that was utterly ridiculous.

    Like when my job was to complete tasks that might already be way overdue, they brought in a specialist on how to manage your time so we wouldn't feel rushed and our projects would be on time (kinda like now...where I was just handed one Monday that actually was due 9 years ago. Really. ). Because, you know....punctuality with assignments in that circumstance is such a possibility.

    Or the person who came to talk to us about diversity and cultural awareness. We worked in consular services. The company hiring someone to come and pressure us to go to Chinatown to experience a new culture (when most of us had actually been to China) was laughable.

  23. Ha! I do that with the Bean. It sometimes works. Sometimes.
    And do you not FEED that child? She has taken to eating wildlife!

  24. So where were YOU when I was a new parent 13 years ago? But it's not too late to try - I'm going to be sad an awful lot in the coming weeks.

  25. Heh, I guess that stuff isn't totally useless, then? I took conflict resolution workshops, mediation workshops, etc. while in college for my job. And I *hated* them. I especially hated the role play, so I'll just have to ignore that you were once the one making poor saps like me role play.

    Ew! That must have tasted AWFUL!

  26. Does it work if you are already crying cause a little boy who was running full speed, knocked his head into yours as he dove onto the couch.

    I can see it now, "Mommy feels sad *sob* *sob* when you smash your head into mine *sob* *sob*. I wish you would *sniffle* *sniffle* get me a towel to clean off the *cry* *cry* blood.

    But, hey, it's worth a shot, right?

  27. I will try it next time a Little Person whizzes by my head because I made the preposterous preposition that she clean up.

    Will report back.

  28. I totally could have used this advice when I was at the grocery store last night and Little Man threw a complete fit because I refused to buy him M&M's.

    Although I'm not sure that 'I feel humiliated when you scream like your hair is on fire, I wish you would shut your trap and walk to the car' would have been heard over his screams of anger.

  29. I just got back from some EEOC training and they made us role play. Hate, hate, hate the role play. Just give me my dang certificate!

    Also, I will have to try out some of that XYZ business. I am impressed by the results of your experiment. Obedient children are a plus!

  30. Do you think that would work on husbands too?

    "I feel sad when you don't lift the toilet seat up and pee all over it. I wish you'd stop."

  31. This is a great idea! I will have to remember it.

    I'm apparently the lone geek around here that really enjoys going to training and has fun in those kinds of classes. And yes, I also train users on computer systems and coworkers on writing. I try to be fun and funny about it all, because what else can you do? I'll bet you are a fun trainer who makes everyone laugh.

  32. It makes me sad when you beat your brother, I wish you would play nice!

    I am going to try it the moment my feet cross the threshold!

  33. Chachi12:10 PM

    I feel sad when you stand in the outfield and make fun of our inability to play softball, i wish you would be a team player and help me talk positively to the team!

    Lol! nah its fine sarcasm is a great weapon!

  34. Anonymous1:06 PM

    NEVER underestimate the power of emotional blackmail! I told Cooper a few weeks ago that not being nice to his sister really upset me . . . imagine my complete surprize when he actually stopped what he was doing and thought about it. I will be kicking Plan XYZ into effect today!

    (Wish me luck, because we are also in the midst of Operation No More Binkie . . . at 3, we are a bit late in the game for Cooper, but poor Maren's little 17-month-old world has been turned upside down!)

  35. Is is too late to try this on my 4-year-old? I don't care if it is, I'm gonna try it anyway.

    That was the easiest training session I've ever

  36. As a Social Worker I used to use "I feel" statements all the time. They were great with the Hub except for the time I said to him "I feel like you are an extreme asshole and I wish you would go fuck yourself". I'm glad you are having better luck in your family though!

  37. OK, I tried it...results? I got the look.

    so I just threw ANOTHER shoe at you. DUCK!

    and take another for the little throw up in my mouth too! bleech!

  38. Mine likes things out of the garbage. Seriously.

    Wanna kiss mine?!

  39. I am so going to try that when Aidan fights over toys with the other kids.

  40. I love coming to this blog so I can see that picture of your little girl at the top. It just brightens my day.

  41. Anonymous10:38 PM

    Oh yeah! The whole "that makes me really sad" emotional blackmail works wonders! When does it stop working actually? That's what I need to know!

  42. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Don't over use the emotional black mail mom used it, still tries to occasionally...she over did it, it doesn't work anymore!

    oh and Nikki, mine used to do that too...i threatened to leave used pads lieing around the bathroom if he didn't stop it! (I know, sooo gross, don't know if I could have actually done it, but never had to find out - it worked soooooo well!!)


  43. I am working it, HUGE!!!! I see a marginal improvement...

  44. My boys used to respond to that now they would probably say...well let me try it, wait here, certainly they are doing something undesirable right now.

    Perfect I said "I feel sad when you don't clean your room and we have to stay inside all day. I want you to go clean your rooms so we can play tomorrow."

    They looked at me and off they went singing "clean up everybody korbin". I'm not familiar with that song but I'll take it as good sign.