I was talking to a fellow Mommy yesterday about the eternal struggle that is parenting. Whether or not you work, and where, there will always be the question of how much helicoptering vs free ranging is healthy. Should you potty train at 3 months (as some say) or not even consider it before they are three (as I read today) and don’t even get me started on feeding, sleeping or discipline. No matter where you stand on what issue, there is a tribe fiercely on your side and another that is pretty sure your parenting license should be revoked FOREVER.
That being said, I think it’s a fair statement that at one point or another ALL kids serve as mirrors. Sometimes they reflect glowingly on your stellar parenting, and other kinds they are like mini Dorian Gray portraits…showing in neon lights any little defect or oversight you may have committed. Because my children are so little, this is usually just funny, but other times it punches me right in the feelers and usually helps me rethink (or rephrase) something, knowing how it sounds coming out of the mouths of babes.
“I don’t have time for this” – Bisky says this a little too frequently, which tells me she hears it a little too frequently. Come on kid, you’re four. All you have is time. Time, and an almost supernatural flexibility and the ability to walk on your toes, but that’s another story. She tells her imaginary friends, me, Daddy and her brothers that she doesn’t have time for…whatever it is she doesn’t want to do. Super annoying, but a good reminder to us over-three-footers to be careful how we are phrasing our priorities.
“I’m not playing games!” – This one I can entirely blame on Daddy, who typically blurts this out in frustration several times a week when his requests go ignored (because she doesn’t have time, of course). Sometimes “I’m not fooling around”, but because she usually is playing games or fooling around when she says it, it kind of loses its power.
“‘so-and-so’ is a d!ck”. I hate to even admit this one because a) MY mom is reading this and she is appalled (sorry Mom) and b) it is completely my fault because I am the only one in the house who calls people this. In my defense, I didn’t know she was listening, and I won’t say it anymore.
“I’m being very quiet!” – said in a loud stage whisper, repeatedly, while I’m on a work-related call, until I acknowledge how quiet she’s being.
“Are you almost done working, Mommy? Can you play with me now?” This one always makes me sad. However, it is usually the case that there WILL be playing at some point. Traditional stay at home moms, by which I mean pioneer women one hundred years ago who had four to six kids apiece (if they survived childbirth that is) did not have individual one-on-one time or specific play time in the day with their children and things worked out pretty okay from what I’ve been told.
“Fine. Go ahead, wreck my deal. That’s just fine!”. Now, these are not my words, particularly, but the passive aggressive sarcasm kinda is, sad to say. Oddly enough, it’s not my go-to jerky behavior, but I guess it appeals to a small child because she picked it up quickly enough. The ‘deal’ in question was her proposal to bake banana cake with just me, when the babies went down for their nap. PeeWa doesn’t nap so I suggested he join the baking festivities and that was her response.
“I only love Ben. I don’t love Aiden. If you want Aiden to be loved, you’re going to have to do it yourself.” No, I have NEVER said THIS to be clear, and certainly don’t think it. For one, Aiden is a much easier baby, but we do tell her she has to do things herself if she wants them done.
“Sorry. I’m too busy.” Said when asked to do anything. I’m actually surprised this one has persisted, because it never works, and usually gets her a pretty negative response, but I think she likes how it sounds and again, is a somewhat disquieting mirror.
Of course, there are also some awesome things she says that I’m happy to have had some small part in influencing:
“Do you know what fills my bucket, Mommy? Loving YOU!”
“I have the sharing spirit today, so I’m sharing with Ben!” (really, she likes Ben a lot better and poor little PeeWa is sooo sweet).
“Mommy, can you take me to the party supply store so I can get Daddy a whole bunch of party supplies for his birthday to surprise him?”
“You know what, Mommy? I’m a craft EXPERT.”
And I think the sweet, quirky, funny bits (most of the time) more than make up for the less attractive glimpses in the mirror. Usually. When I’m not being a d!ck.