Thursday, March 28, 2019

All the Buttons Your Kids Will Push

Do your kids push your buttons? Of course they do.

When they ask for a snack immediately after eating nothing for dinner?

When they hit that exact frequency of whine that makes you lose it in the cereal aisle at the grocery store?

They're just kids, and pressing all your buttons is what they do.

But you know, I think it's really because the world looks different to them. They're not trying to drive you crazy. It's just that everywhere they go, they simply see a smorgasbord of buttons they can't wait to push.

The Elevator, When We Step Inside It:

For example, this is what a small child might see in the elevator.

To adults, it looks like a set of floor numbers. But to kids? It's the Old Country Buffet of button-pushing (both figurative and literal) with attractive options like:
  • Cage match with siblings
  • Cry because you wanted to take the stairs
  • Fight over who got to push the button last time
  • Comment loudly on physical characteristics of other passengers
  • Press random buttons for floors we're not visiting
  • Alert the authorities for absolutely no reason (the alarm button is my toddler's favorite.)
If you don't believe me, just wait until the next time you're trapped in one of these things on your way to visit the pediatric dermatologist. You'll see.

Video Game Controllers, When I Tell the Kids to Stop Playing:

It's not just elevators. Kids see their video game controllers differently, too. When I say "time's up!" they suddenly look like this:

As you can see from this closeup, it all makes sense now. The kids literally only have four possible options:
  • Whine
  • Complain
  • Argue
  • Ignore
This phenomenon is observable across all different video and computer game platforms, by the way. I asked around.

The Washing Machine, At Chore Time:

Chore time is prime time for your kids to push all your buttons, but what you may not know is that the settings on your household appliances are totally to blame!

Our washing machine, for example, appears this way to my kids:

When asked to do their chores, kids can use any of the following pre-selected responses:
  • "I don't want to."
  • "You can't make me."
  • "I'm tiiiiired!"
  • temper tantrum
  • "I need help."
  • "In a minute."
  • "I don't know how."
  • "Ugh, I do EVERYTHING around here!"
  • move so slowly mom does it
To which I'd like to respond here's a quarter (call someone who cares,) oh yes I can make you, I haven't slept more than 4 hours in a row since you were born, two can play at this game, you sure do, you said that 10 minutes ago, indignant rage, and fine, I give up

The Car, Whenever We Go Anywhere:

This LCD display for your minivan makes it easy for your kids to push your buttons on the go!

Halfway to school, they can let you know which item(s) they forgot with the touch of a button. (Was it 'shoes,' 'homework,' 'lunch,' 'coat,' 'backpack,' 'brain,' or all of the above?)

Two adjustable knobs also allow your child to select his/her volume level in the backseat and how urgently they need to pee, even though they swore before leaving the house they didn't have to go.

My Computer Keyboard, When I Try To Get Anything Done:

Should you attempt to accomplish anything on your computer while your children are awake, two things are certain.

One, they will be on you faster than a kindergartner on the extra cupcake at a birthday party. Two, they're going to see something like this:

Then they'll probably push at least one of the following buttons:
  • Fight with siblings
  • Start doing something dangerous
  • Spill juice on the keyboard
  • Cry
  • Request snacks
  • Climb on you like a baby koala
  • Send a half-finished email
(The half-finished email, incidentally, always goes to someone you're actively trying to impress and makes you look like a complete idiot.)

The Light Switch in My Kids' Rooms, At Bedtime:

Technically not a button. But it doesn't matter! This is what my kids think their bedroom light switch says when it's time for bed:

They can flip the switch to choose between one of two modes:

  • Get hungry, thirsty, lonely, or scared
  • Ask one million questions about lava

Neither one means they're actually going to sleep any time soon.

The Phone, Whenever I'm On It:

If you pick up your phone and examine the keypad, you probably just see numbers. But your kids? They see something else entirely:

That's why kids see you talking on the phone and think, this is an excellent time to:
  • Scream
  • Make a mess
  • Hurt myself
  • Bang pots
  • Show mom all my papers from school
  • Poop (and either ask for help wiping or just announce it loudly)
  • Play a loud instrument
  • Ask mom to find things for me
  • Argue
  • Throw up
  • Make embarrassing noises

There's a reason I take most of my calls in the garage.

If Kids Had an 'On' Button:

Unless your child is a cyborg, his body probably doesn't feature an actual 'power' button. But try to imagine that he did, because this would be it:

Kids draw on the walls. They stab the table with their forks. They throw rocks at the van. They make the little rip in the couch cushion bigger and when you ask why, they just look shocked that anyone would need a reason to deface property. They have a 'destroy' button, even if it's not a literal one, and it's always on.

If you have a child who pushes your buttons daily, it's not intentional. The pictures in this article explain why, which probably makes you feel a little bit better about your little button-pusher. And maybe also a little bit worse.

Click to Share:
Unremarkable Files


Megan said...

Ha ha! Love it, this is so clever.

Ellen said...

We have a small hole in our rocker that's mysteriously getting bigger

Jenny Evans said...

Just like how the couch in our basement is mysteriously losing stuffing every time the kids go down there...