This time for the Path, I wanted to give you a little sample of the life I lead. I’m a 46-year-old mother of 3 girls, as you may know by now. I have a Journalism degree and have held a position at the same company for more than 20 years. I would consider myself amply educated and blessed with good ol’ common sense, except for three factors: Emily, Teenie and Nunu. Wild nicknames, but that’s my fam!
When I became a parent, I thought for sure that I would be able to impart some wisdom on my offspring that would carry them further in life than what I will reach. Not so. Each day, it seems for every ONE answer I could give my children about life, they give me back rationale that leaves me pondering just how intelligent I really am.
My kids are smart. Most kids are. Once you have kids, no matter how brilliant you thought you were before, I am here to tell ya, you were wrong. If I don’t let you in on that secret, your kids will, so…you’re welcome. No charge. It will be easier coming from me than how they present things. Trust me.
A kid’s logic and reasoning are just simple. There is usually no ill intent. No feelings are intended to be hurt, though usually they aren’t spared either. That’s just the game of raising them.
For instance: Teenie came in the bedroom one night and the lights were off. She said, “Mom?”
I said, “What baby?”
She says, “Oh I didn’t know that was you. You look skinny in the dark!”
Perhaps not the suggested way that I would have approached it. Certainly not the way her father better EVER approach it, but an honest answer nonetheless. I personally like tactfully truthful a bit more than brutally honest, but I think she’s on the right track whether I liked the answer or not.
Fast forward to conflict resolution. This too is an area that Teenie excels in. One night, I had given the girls their laundry to put away. I hear this horrendous wailing and gnashing of the teeth coming from the kitchen. Nunu is screaming and kicking Teenie.
I say, “What is going on in here?”
Nunu says, “Her frew my panties!”
I look at Teenie, who is standing there with her hands on her hips and says, “Yeah I did mom! She was hittin’ me with them, so I grabbed them and threw them on top of the kitchen cabinet!”
Nothing screams Make Me Some Dinner like a pair of Dora panties thrown up by the spice rack! I truly am envious that they come up with coping devices that work better than anything I can muster. And their take on things is so pure. Unencumbered.
Seriously though, I wonder as adults, what would happen if we did this? Try it! Husband makes you mad, grab his unmentionables and toss ‘em up where they can’t reach ‘em! Problem solved!
He is gonna need a ladder to retrieve them, so you might as well give him a duster for the ceiling fan and a light bulb, because inevitably there’s one that needs changed that he’s avoided. Bonus!
See what the insight from a child can do. They interpret life so differently than we do and perhaps that is where we have failed. It’s not nearly as difficult as we make it.
I remember a couple of years ago, Teenie was running in the living room to tattle on Nunu. “Mom! She flipped me off!”
Lord, I was in the kitchen doing dishes and I couldn’t turn that sink off fast enough. Yes, my sisters are laughing right now, because they know I do not like doing dishes…so this situation did not help.
I ran in the living room and snatched Nunu up lightning fast. I said, “Did you flip your sister off?” (Because in my mind, I knew exactly what that was and it was NOT happening in this house! I pictured this chubby little hand with half painted dirty fingernails, lifting a finger for the single digit wave.)
Nunu says, “Yes ma’am. I did it free times, cause it was my turn.” (Side note: As a parent, I still give points for honesty, especially when they are in fear of discipline. She was owning this issue.)
At this point, I am just beyond being beside myself, wondering how anything would ever get to this craziness in kids so little! – Internally, I admit, I was blaming their dad. They obviously learned this somewhere! Oh please, don’t judge us, I’ve seen a few of you give this wave as well.
Then luckily, big sister stepped in again. “Mom she really does need a lot of big spankins’. She flipped me off THE COUCH a bunch of times!”
Not that this alternative was acceptable, but I could handle it a bit better than my initial thoughts. Remember what I said about them interpreting differently?
Good thing Christina always has to have the last word. She actually saved her sister from a bit harsher punishment by not keeping her mouth shut.
Fast forward to one day we were driving across the Arkansas River and Nunu saw a giant crane with a massive hook on it. She says, “Dad look! That must be God’s fishin’ pole!”
See what I mean? Pure, intelligent thought. What she interpreted made perfect sense to her!
Nunu does have her own version of conflict resolution as well. A couple of years ago when she was just a tiny thing, she put on her coat on and headed for the front door in a hurry. I said, “Where ya goin?”
She said, “To the North Pole cause I am tellin’ on Teenie to Santa Claus. She is NOT donna det by wiff being mean to me this year.“
Kudos to my baby for her ambition and really, taking things to the top! I did however reassure her that I would be the one to call Santa if needed.
Apparently it really is all about keeping them off the pole, the North Pole that is.
The whole point is, my perspective on life changed so dramatically, even with their first cry. Their interpretations make you stop and think. They make you laugh out loud and they keep you on your toes. It’s a crazy trip, this thing called Parenthood, but one I am so glad to be on. It’s something new every day.
My personal goal is just not warp them too much before they become adults. So far, so good, but I’m totally using some of their advice along the way. And, I bet that ceiling fan gets cleaned pretty soon indeed!