Monday, August 2, 2010
Before I begin...let me clarify that I'm not talking about THOSE stories you dirty birdies! I'm talking about the collection of stories that every parent has. EVERY parent! Regardless of race, religion, marital status, gender, etc. each parent collects these amazing stories over the life of their child. Unavoidably and even unaware that what they are experiencing will someday turn into the best stories in memory!
I was talking to my best friend this morning. She was at her wits end. The kids (ages 3 & 4)had eaten dog & cat food, dumped water on the floor, smeared toothpaste into the carpet, and broken into the stash of goodies mommy keeps to reward them for being good (ironic right?). My friend had already taken all the toys out of each of their rooms (a tactic I have used several times with my oldest! Toys are priveleges not rights.) and both kids were on time out in their rooms- not that it mattered to them as they continued to run to and from each others rooms whenever mom wasn't watching. What's wrong with these kids? What's wrong with this mom? Nothing. Really, there isn't even anything unusual about this scenario. This is parenthood. These are the stories. Every parent has them and if you are a parent and reading this, there are most likely many flashbacks to your own children playing in your head!
It's hard for first time parents (and my best friend's children are 17 months apart so they are double trouble!) to understand these things are normal. Parents are on a learning curve too. My oldest is 14 and the things we have gone through would make the hairs on your neck stand up- right before you laughed hysterically because after all, they didn't happen to you! I mean, I remember a specific instance where I sat on our bed crying and telling my husband we can't have any more children because we messed this one up so bad! But now that we have the 3yr old, I don't stress as much. I know we'll get through and he'll be fine. So I can collect the little stories and enjoy them.
When I talk about the stories here's what I mean. Have you ever heard a parent, whose child has grown up, say "I remember when she was little. Remember that day she did everything we told her to? It was so great!". Be real. IF someone said that you wouldn't believe it! Here's what real parents sound like, "UGH! When mine was that age she got into my make up and drew all over our freshly painted walls! The red lipstick would not come off the wall and we had to repaint all over again! I thought I was going to kill her!". And yet she still breathes. And that story will be told over and over again. Let's face it. We like to recount all the naughty little things our kids- and even our teens- do! Those stories are relatable and memorable!
The pictures above are the perfect example. This is our 3yr old (I think he was still 2 at the time) who thought it would be neat to get into his diaper powder.... in our bed. BUSTED! And you can tell by the look on his face! Here's the difference between child #1 and child #2. I don't have any pictures to accompany the stories with child #1 because every thing he did felt like the end of my parenting world! But by the time child #2 rolls around you can pause and preserve the memory. The kid will turn out fine. Even if he or she eats dog food! My husband and his borther were big fans of milk bones when they were little. They both made it out alive!
So to mommies and daddies the world over- and to my bestest friend who WILL survive this (the kids on the other hand....) I say take heart! You are in good company the world over for millions of years! You are good parents regardless of what your children do or say. Think of them as Ikea models. They don't come ready made, delivered to your door. Hell! They hardly come with directions at all and it seems like the ones they do have are in another language! You build them over the years and in the end, you sit back and enjoy your work. So collect those stories! And enjoy the fact that you have your sweet angel/demon babies to entertain you!