The kids are sleeping, we just ate some burgers, and now I’m sitting here looking at a sink full of dirty dishes, but I think I’m going to write a blog. Congratulations to the people who do all their dishes the same night they create them. I mean, that’s f*cked up, but still impressive.
The other night I was being a couch potato, and working on a white wine spritzer. It had been a hectic and stressful week, but I was out of red wine. Otherwise I wouldn’t have drank that garbage. Go red or go home.
I was thinking about the mind games that I play with my kids on a daily basis. It’s all part and parcel of parenting, though. I’m realizing this. At two-and-a-half, Annika is reallllly starting to test various methods (and our patience) in order to get what she wants. It’s become a system of staying one step ahead.
When my babies were still hypothetical and I was a parenting-wizard, I would NEVER have resorted to bribery, trickery, hypocrisy or yelling. But here I am with real human children, and yes, I will sometimes I go into survival mode, and stoop to their level. Oooops.
One thing that struck me was how little kids get praise and thanks for REDICULOUS things. And to be honest, I’m jealous. It just doesn’t seem fair that by the time you’re of an age where you can appreciate how good you had it, you’re suddenly held to a much higher standard. It’s BS.
Anyway, I thought it might be fun and funny to make a list of all the crappy things my kids get thanked for. So in no particular order, here they are:
Simply. Wearing. Pants.
My Mom and I had a baby shower for my sister on the weekend. In the middle of a crowded room, my daughter took off her training pants, and handed the soggy mess to a woman she just met. There was no second thought to it. Someone approached me to tell me what happened. By the time we got a fresh pull-up on her, I found myself whispering “thank you” in her ear for being willing to even wear new underclothes during the excitement of the day.
That left me thinking “What the actual heck”. She got a “thank you” for not being naked in a room full of strangers. And all this after handing someone her wet diaper.
My GOD do we praise them when they sleep. Especially Mark because he’s a night psycho.
They get praise for sleeping in, sleeping well, sleeping during the day, sleeping long stretches, sleeping frequently, and sleeping without tears and tantrums. Any kind of sleep, and here we are applauding. I just want ONE day where someone puts me down for a nap and then gives me a great big hug and smile when I make it an extra long one.
And not just eating food, but willingly eating food that they happily ate previously, but now hate. I think there should be a restaurant for parents of young kids where you get to enjoy a role reversal. A waiter tells you that you only need to take two more bites of broccoli and you’ll get an ice cream sundae on the house. Then the entire staff shouts “hooray!” and claps as you finish your veggies.
Andrew and I will hold our breath when Annika is sampling a plate of healthy food, and then when we deem it a successful meal, we’ll act like she just found the cure for cancer.
Having their hair washed.
There’s always hair-washing drama in our house. And they act as if they’ve never had it done before. Here I am trying to book my first hair cut in two years, and I’m giddy about having someone other than myself shampoo and massage my head. Meanwhile, Annika will hate me for ages because I asked her to close her eyes for a rinse. It takes 30 seconds to rinse her hair. But those were 30 seconds where she could have been eating the bubbles. It’s DUMB.
So at the end of a bath, when she – get this – HAS survived a hair-wash, we end up telling her how “brave” she was. Brave. Like a fire fighter, or Harry Potter.
Just NOT hurting each other.
If we survive a mall trip without pushing and shoving, I’m thanking the heavens. Annie gets easily annoyed with Mark these days because he’s little and grabby. And I understand that. But right now there’s a lot of shoving going down in our household (which results in Mark toppling and crying) and it’s a daily battle to stymie the bad behaviour. OMG, it’s all day, everyday.
When we are out and they’re smiling, giggling and EVEN occasionally handing things to each other, I’m like “you two are angels and you can have have all the ice cream and boobie milk in the world!!” Okay, not quite. But I probably make TOO big a deal about it.
Having a generally pleasant disposition.
So. As adults, we go to work, the grocery store, the library, etc…and we’re expected to be polite and aware of our surroundings. Kids? Not so much. This toddler can scream bloody murder if I tell her we’re not buying the seven spatulas she “needed” from the dollar store. So when she sometimes shrugs it off and puts back her spatulas (or coffee filters, or Nicorettes, or condoms, or Preparation H…whatever she decided to pick up that day,) I’m thanking her profusely, like she saved my life.
Being anything other than disgusting and sticky.
My kids could make themselves sticky and gross in an empty room, I swear.
So if it’s been an hour out and their hair isn’t caked with something, and their faces and hands aren’t gross to the touch, I’m like “look at you! You’re still clean and your general smell isn’t vomit-inducing! Mommy is SO proud.”
Not assaulting strangers.
The other week it was my turn to be THAT mom (who gets looks of hate from childless people, and looks of pity/understanding from other parents) because I had the kid who was lying in a pool of tears and flailing arms on the floor of Giant Tiger. And all because I wouldn’t let her run a shopping cart full steam ahead into a crowd of elderly people. She definitely faced a punishment for her actions, but when the subsequent trip out wasn’t as bad, I kissed her face all over and made her feel like a million bucks. Kids, man. They set the bar THAT low.
Just once, I want someone to say to me: “Laura? You did a really good job today of NOT punching people at the grocery store. People cut off your cart and dilly-dallied in the aisles and you STILL didn’t wound them. You’re a humanitarian.” But it sucks because the EXPECTATION is that we wont wound others, and the reality is jail time if we do. Why do my kids get forgiven, and praised when they simply choose civility?
And last but not least:
Using the flipping toilet.
Truth time: sometimes we bribe Annika with Smarties to keep at the potty training.
And every time we do it, I cant help but be envious that I’m not getting candy for using the bathroom (instead of using wherever I am and whatever I’m wearing AS a bathroom). It’s. Balls.
Like I said. It’s redic. The only comfort is they’ll forget these days when they had it THIS good and they’ll have to conform to adult society at some point. And we’ll help get them there, not to worry. But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to roll my eyes until then.
Love you peeps.