Juxtapositions of parenting

I’ve been thinking about the juxtapositions of parenting. The little things that make you wonder what we’re thinking.

1. You spend all your waking time trying to teach your baby to move, grab things, and walk. Shortly after they figure this out, you start trying to make them sit still, leave things alone, and just quit moving. Taking them to a movie is an exercise in patience as they wriggle, wiggle, dance, shake their booties, and fidget more than someone with ADHD on caffeine.

And the best part of this is that you don’t learn after child 1. Somehow with 2 and 3, you still do this… What’s the definition of insanity again?

2. Teaching your child to talk… Same thing. How much time do we work with our children to say words, sing songs, “use their words”? And how often have we thought “Oh, for the love of Pete, please, give me 5 minutes of quiet. Please, I beg you!”

I can’t tell you how often I’ve wished that somehow being in the car would render my kids comatose. I swear, that all 3 of them can start in and scream, yell and cry, and hey, we’re barreling down the highway with no end in sight. It’s just me, the three kids and all their lung power. There’s no radio loud enough or ear plugs good enough for this. Particularly when one of them loses her pacifier.

And – to be clear (and this is math folks) – 1 kid will make amount of noise. 2 kids do not make 2n; they make closer to squared. And don’t, just don’t get me started on how much 3 make.

3. Questions – I want my kids to ask questions. How do I help them learn, and being girls, how do I make sure their teachers are listening, except to teach them to ask questions. But oh, when the word “why” is uttered 5 times in a row, I want to beg them to stop. I want to take the word “why” out of the English language. When they ask all these questions, I want to cry in frustration. Turns out that whole philosophy of “turn it around, and ask them why” just doesn’t work. Cuz – see #2. They’ll talk just to hear themselves talk. Oh – and hey – making up answers won’t help. It will come back to bite you (see #4).

Things that should seem so obvious, they don’t need a question. Nope – that doesn’t exist. Just yesterday Bug had to go to the bathroom. Off we go. Peanut decided to join us and took Stall 1. Bug bypassed Stall 2 and took Stall 3. Shortly after I sit her down, another unsuspecting innocent bystander walks into Stall 2. Bug says in her oh so quiet voice – “Mommy why are other people going potty?” “Because they have to, too.” “Why mommy?” Because everyone has to go honey”. But “why”… at which point I realize unsuspecting bystander is no longer innocent as she’s laughing her head off!

4. Openness and honesty – We teach our kids to not tell lies, to tell the truth, and to not be ashamed. But somewhere, oh somewhere, we want them just a bit quieter about the truth… And, why do they wait to a very public location to ask or point things out? Turns out Peanut told her 1st grade teacher that “Mommy can’t cook, so when it’s Mommy’s night to cook, we go to Turtles”.

When I first had Peanut, she went to a wonderful daycare. When she was learning to talk, they said to me once “We only believe about 1/2 or less of what she tells us about what happens at home, we’d appreciate the same.” That’s something I take to heart in most conversations with kids. While they tell the truth, the nugget that’s surrounded by so much fool’s gold is so hard to find! (this is a humor piece, so please don’t get upset, as I’m not talking about listening to kids over child abuse). 

4. Aging/phases – We don’t want our kids to grow up. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s a sign of us aging, or if we really just love them and want them to stay kids as long as possible because we’re adults for so long.

But there are some stages I hate. I hate the “feeding themselves” stage. Somehow feeding themselves turns into food on every surface in the kitchen including under the stove. I hate the “potty training” stage and having to go inside every bathroom, and touch way more than I would if I went by myself. I hate the “I throw it, you pick it up or I scream” stage. The “I’m smarter than you stage” can just take the “eye roll and disgusted look” stage with it. Oh – and the “that’s not how my teacher does it” stage… Oy, enough to make me wish we home-schooled (right until I look at the other phases that make me nuts!)

I really, really don’t want my kids all grown up. I dread the day my house is actually quiet. (will that happen?)  But perhaps one day I will be one of those people who tells that frazzled mom to “enjoy these days, they go by so fast” because the romantic nostalgia has set in.

And for the parents who a) have perfect children or b) can’t see the humor in this blog, the greatest paradox is that I still love my children with everything I am, have, and will be, but I still wonder what I was thinking (particularly this many into it!).