I have a good idea

said Thomas at the table tonight.  "Let's talk about something NICE."
Mama: Like what?
Thomas: ".........the river!"

It warmed my heart to hear Thomas mimicking one of my attempts to change the subject, even though the conversation was going well.  I usually do this when they get reallly whiny and particularly when they've gone on and on about something "BAD" someone said or did at daycare that day.  Of course, I don't dismiss what they have to say. 

We pray for our friends (and ourselves!) to have kind words and kind feet, kind hands, etc; I tell them that it makes Mama sad and Jesus sad - "...and God sad?" - and God sad - "...and Daddy sad?" - and Daddy sad, "...and-" and all the people sad when boys and girls do those things.  We'll even open our mouths and look up and pray that God would fill it up with kind words.  They love for me to look in and tell them the kind words I see.

I remind them that we don't say those words in our house.  "But (kid) can say those words at their house?"

I try to offer situational advice:  when (kid) says that to you, you just tell her we don't say words like that; we say kind words.  Or: when (kid) does (whatever) to you, you just go play somewhere else.  "But (s)he will just follow me, Mama!"

I try to acknowledge their sadness/shock: well that was an awful thing to say/do.  One time, Thomas prefaced his report by saying, "Mama, just don't say, 'that's terrible; that's makes you sad' when I tell you."

So, when acknowledgement, prayer, and advice fail, and the reports continue to come, I do say, "Let's talk about something nice that someone did or said.  And I suppose the river's about as nice as anything I can think of to talk about.

What made me laugh today:

Thomas: "You don't do it like dad."
Mama:  Well, I guess I don't.
Thomas:  "Well one day when you are big and shave all your hair off, then you can."

John David:  "Hey Mama - I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE girls!"
(It's even cuter the way he says it: "gay-ulls".)