Sympathy Scale

My kids are so whiny at the moment that I’m going to design my own ‘Sympathy Scale’ so I don’t put unnecessary time and energy into being compassionate when I don’t have to be.

General falling and minor injuries in the house whilst playing score no points at all, as they’ve usually had the warning that ‘it will all end in tears.’  When it does I just feel smug that I was right and ask them to pick up whatever it is they have fallen over.

Falling on the way to school happens several times in each journey, so that makes you a bit desensitised to it anyway.  It usually only results in slightly grazed knees which is worth about a two; if blood is involved it’s a three, but my sympathy tends to be surpassed by annoyance as trousers have usually been torn in this case and it means I’ll have to sew or buy new ones, so I have to subtract a point for the inconvenience.

My three year old has got chicken pox, which may well have been making him feel lousy for the last few days and would normally score about a six.  As it is, you know what they say about the boy who cried wolf?  There’s a lesson to be learnt about having tantrums on a daily basis; they test levels of patience, and low levels of patience = lower levels of sympathy (in this case, about a four).

During the day my youngest can usually expect attention when he cries because he’s really cute and more vulnerable than the other two.  He also can’t talk enough yet to argue with his brothers, all of which score him points, so he’s in a better position to begin with.  Also, the sympathy quota is higher up to the age of two, so he’s a way off his limit yet.

However, when he’s poorly, he will insist on waking up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT; if you’re after sympathy, three o’clock in the morning when you’ve woken someone from a deep sleep is not going to be the time to get it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go in and give paracetamol and water and possibly a quick cuddle (which classes as about a seven on the scale), but if he milks it and doesn’t settle back down again immediately, a point is knocked off for every ten minutes that he fusses.  I will also expect him to sleep longer the morning after to make it up to me.

And by the time I’ve extended this much love, compassion and devotion to my children, my husband is lucky to even feature on the scale at all.  In fact, he’s usually in negative equity because he’s an adult, a man and is the one who’s responsible for giving me children in the first place 🙂




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