the day after mc implied that i had ruined our whole family by getting pregnant again, she went into her class and announced, “there is a baby in my mommy’s tummy and i am so excited!” people’s heads actually tilted at the thought of the precious moments we must have had when we told her of our great news.
of the many lessons learned in parenthood, perhaps the most important is this… your kid is unstable.
don’t get offended. it’s not just your kid, it’s everybody’s kid. they are growing into their bodies and learning how to use their brains and it is a confusing and overwhelming process that includes falling on the floor and weeping if your sandwich is cut at the wrong angle. you can’t have your mood based on that!
we, and several friends, have had irreversible fits of rage over the following…
- the color of gummi vitamins
- texture of socks
- sheets being wrinkly in the “wrong way”
- jackets/coats/outerwear/acknowledging winter on the whole
- not being allowed to do the seatbelt
- the “bankies” is too cold (can’t get a “hot sniff”) or too hot (can’t get a “cold sniff”)
- anything involving a car seat
- the wrong color cup, plate, bowl,straw, etc.
- mixing cereal into yogurt or not mixing it in, depending on the mood
- not forwarding past the intro song to a tv show.
- anything related to grooming
- the ends of bananas
- food that touches other food
- holding another child
- the inability of a parent to read their mind
- not recognizing a movie/story/song they are trying to describe
- singing and/or dancing
- laughing when something is funny in a book or on a movie we have seen
- being asked to wear sweat pants with anything other than a collared shirt.
- the toe seam on tights
what we can learn from this list is that left to their own devices our children can be ornery about just about anything. this morning hazel cried for 20 minutes because “my jeans look worse”. worse than what? we were all having a really great time all morning what caused the jeans that you did not just put on to become worse? can you tell me about the emotional damage said jeans are doing to you right now?
“i hear what you are saying, that you don’t want to wear your jeans today, but this is the outfit you picked out. what happens when we fuss?”
“we don’t get what we want.”
“that’s right. let’s read the first few pages of this truck book we got at the library and see if it is any good…”
after the book, she calmed down and came downstairs for breakfast where she refused to eat or drink. i went ahead and gave her a kiss on the head, letting her decide not to eat, and made lunches. when she saw she was getting zero attention she ate but with a big ol’ scowl on. then an aladdin song came on the disney pandora station and she jumped up with excitement and said “this is the song we can play in our rooms!” (on a mix CD someone gave us) and that was it. happy as a clam from then on…until she had to put on a jacket.
for years i have battled with asking am i doing this right? am i causing irreversible harm to my kids? would they be able to handle life better if i read more parenting books, went to more seminars, pow-wowed with more people that have seemingly normal children? and i am here to tell you that although some of these may help for a season, the resounding answer is no. they are growing up and growing up is hard work!!! just look at all the adults you interact with that have tried to avoid it entirely.
when faced with the unstable, do not attempt to reason. do not welcome the guilt train into the station because your kid is unable to deal with a cracker you gave him due to it’s size/ shape/ color. know that your kid is cray cray, but that doesn’t need to become a hand-me-up. grab some tea and watch the sheer volume, the energy and the instability required to display such a phenomenal tantrum and be thankful. thankful that your kid is learning and growing up and that it is no longer acceptable for adults to act in the same manner.