After months of intensive practice, Buster has become an accomplished whiner. This means we now have two top-notch whiners in our house. Is there anything else in the world that could so completely double our pleasure?
There are two basic catalysts for little kids to cry. The first is that they have a reason to cry. This catalyst can be broken into two subgroups: a good reason to cry and a lame reason to cry. A good reason to cry is that your brother tackled you into the coffee table and the shiny new welt on your forehead hurts. A lame reason to cry is that your brother has the toy you’ve wanted ever since you saw him playing with it, and you failed in your attempt to snatch it out of his hands.
But there is hope for you yet. Keep trying to snatch it and he may tackle you into the coffee table, giving you a valid reason to cry.
The second basic catalyst is the “give me a good reason not to cry” mindset. This is often the result of a lame reason to cry run amok. Lame reasons to cry are easy to forget, even to the person crying over them. Hence, you started crying over your brother’s toy five minutes ago; the toy was dropped behind the couch four minutes ago. You are still very sad, but you’re having a dickens of a time remembering why.
Now you need someone to give you a reason to stop crying, thanks to the laws of inertia, which you are obeying because you’re a good boy like that.
Meanwhile, you’re not really even crying anymore. Over the past five minutes, your sobs have mutated into an elongated, parent-piercing note from some magical spot at the back of your throat. Your sour grapes have fermented and mellowed into a fine whine.
Sometimes you just need a hug, but more often you need some ice cream or a new toy without the stench of your brother’s hands all over it. The good news is you can have the hug anytime you want it.
Buster has made great strides as a whine producer, but Big Brother is still the undisputed master of whine at our house. Nothing has yet come near his masterpiece anthem for wrongly accused children: “Noooo! I aaaam not whiiiiniiiiing!” [sniffle, sniffle, foot stomp].
And I don’t think they even covered irony in kindergarten.
It’s a special treat to witness two great artisans inspiring each other to new heights. The way Buster and Big Brother fight over toys, no outside influence is necessary to motivate either to hone his craft. The parents are only necessary as audience. Without parents, there is only fighting; the effort is worthless if there is no one at hand to sample the whine.
With this friendly competition only just beginning, it looks as though 2014, and the several years following, are sure to be superb vintages for the very best whines.