Seriously. I was. I knew it all. I had the whole list of "My kids will never_________", and "My kids will always_________". I would listen to parents talk about their kids and think "Oh my God, those parents stink". Well...guess what? I must stink too. I was reminded of that last night when I was having a conversation about some of the crazy stuff we have said to our kids. Let's take a look at the list of "absolutes" I had in my head pre-children.
#1. My kids will never go out of the house disheveled. TRUTH: It is rare that my children go out of the house photo ready. There are many reasons; running late, don't feel like fighting with them, trying to foster independence and they pick something ridiculous...take your pick. The other day in particular stands out. Super Tuesday. I love election day to me it is like Christmas eve...so full of promise. I go to put the coats on and I couldn't find them. Then I remembered they were in the dryer. Ran downstairs to get them and they were soaking wet. A little miscommunication. I communicated to Chuck the night before that the laundry needed to be put in the dryer. He missed it. Running late like always I grabbed two hand me down coats that were way too big, 4 mismatched gloves and two hats about 3 sizes too small. And off we went. People all through the polling place were staring. I am delusional thinking they are all pondering how I am a great mom, you know teaching my girls this all important civics lesson on the importance of voting and making your voice heard especially as women. As we were walking out I caught a glimpse of us in the glass doorway...I now understood all the stares. My children looked like hobos. All that was missing was a patch of mud on their cheeks and their handkerchief on a stick....
# 2. I will never make threats I am not willing to follow through on. TRUTH: For the most part I am really good at this. I have certain expectations of my children and there are consequences for infractions. I am not talking water-boarding or anything but if you misbehave at the store you will not get a candy bar at the checkout line. That type of stuff... so it is not often that I make outrageous threats but I am not going to lie when it happens....IT HAPPENS! Back to Super Tuesday. After voting Anna refused to get into her car seat and threw a fit, so not only does she look homeless, it looks and sounds as if I am trying to steal this homeless kid. I did it, I put my phone on speaker and called Santa. Christmas was off if she could not get into her seat by the count of three. Thankfully Santa answered the phone and Anna quickly got into her seat by about 2 and a half. That is not the worst of it. I think this next one is my all time best. It involves Scott Brown, pizza and a random driveway. Intrigued? Well, we were driving home one day and Sara is famous for asking a million questions in the car. This trip was no exception. She then starts asking questions about Scott Brown. It was right around his election (for those of you not from MA he was the candidate who won the Senatorial seat after Ted Kennedy died. I listen to talk radio so Sara had heard his name a lot) so she asks me what he has in his house. I said, I don't know probably a couch, tv, etc, etc. Well she asks me if he has pizza in his house. I said probably, most people like pizza I am sure he has one in his freezer. Well that answer was not good enough, she starts yelling, demanding a better answer. I tried to talk her down but no such luck. I then pulled into a random driveway, said I am sure the mommy in this house is a better mom than me and knows all about Scott Brown. Let me go knock on the door and see if you can live with her family. That stopped her in her tracks. She was quiet the rest of the ride home.
Along those same lines she was complaining about Anna, saying she didn't want to be her sister anymore. I tried all of the usual rhetoric as to why Anna was an important member of our family...blah, blah, blah. Finally I got Anna's coat and diaper bag, when Sara asked where we were going I told her we were going to see Dr. Kathy (My OB) to give Anna back. For the record, Anna was too young to understand what was going on. So she was not scarred for life. I am sure she will end up in therapy at some point, just not for this event.
#3. My children will never sleep in our bed. TRUTH: We
succumbed. I am lucky in that my kids never fight us at bed time.
They go right in to their room, climb into bed and fall asleep pretty
quickly. They are typically asleep by 8:15. Staying asleep was an
issue for Sara. Starting around 15-18 months old she would wake up
dozens of times a night. We tried everything!!! And I mean
everything!! I even took a week off, rolled my sleeves up and tried the
whole "crying it out" BS. The first night she cried for about an hour
and a half. The next night it got worse...she didn't fall asleep
faster, the little bugger gained stamina and stayed awake longer!!!
After 7 days we gave up. Turns out my little baby was having night
terrors. Chuck spent the next year and a half sleeping on the couch
with her. She finally graduated into bed with me for a while until she
outgrew the night terrors. 99.9% of the time they both sleep through
the night now. YAY!!! It only took 4 years. Sometimes I want to
punch all the new moms in the face that brag their 5 week old is
sleeping through the night. I wish I could secretly add caffeine to their bottles. See how much they brag on 1.5 hours sleep a night...
#4. I will always provide well balanced meals for my children.
TRUTH: Again, for the most part I follow through with this but there
has been more than one occasion I am just too tired to make breakfast.
So on those days we have "silly" breakfast. It may be a ding-dong or
cookies. I do at least try and fake it when I send Sara in with her
snack for preschool, but lately she wants Pringles. I gave in and got a
big box of the snack packs. I can just imagine what her teacher thinks
of me. Last week she had her first homework assignment. Someone had
to read 3 books to her and write down the name and author. Fine, we
read a ton of books. Of course, she insists on including Walter the Farting Dog
as one of her books (Thanks Lisa C.) that coupled with the Pringles
will probably get me a red flag next to my name on the PTA list. On a
side note I was a wicked nerd when she started school and I would put a
note in her lunch box everyday...I would have a knock-knock joke on it.
After a few weeks she told me to stop I was embarrassing her. She is
four. What does she know about embarrassment? Just wait till middle
school my friend, just wait....
#5. I will never curse in front of my children. TRUTH: Sh*t, that one went out the window years ago. I know it is not right and I should have better control but sometimes it just happens. For instance when Sara was just about 3 I was pulling out of my driveway. Let me set the scene...Our driveway is pretty steep, on a curve and there are some bushes that more often than not are overgrown so there is a huge blind spot. Just as I pulled out a huge truck comes out of nowhere, I slam on the brakes narrowly missing the truck.. I yell "those f*cking bushes". Well, Sara with her little bean face and cute voice pipes up with, "Mommy, what happened to the f*cking bushes?"...she asked about those "f*cking bushes" for a good year and a half.
Turns out I am just like all other parents out there that have gone before me. I had this ideal of what I though the perfect parent should be...never truly understanding the reality of the day in and day out. I never had any crazy ideas like not getting an epidural during labor or using cloth diapers but I did have the bar raised pretty high. But you know what? If sneaking under the bar every now and then instead of hurdling over it keeps a bit of your sanity intact I say start crawling!