When bad choices happen to good kids

By Mir
June 3, 2004

We all have to face it sometime; and we can be left weak with worry and doubt. Is my child normal? Did I do something to deserve this? Should we increase therapy to twice a week? Relax. Bad choices sometimes happen to even the best of children. It happens because their brains aren’t yet fully formed, and–in some cases–because they are male.

Learn to accept these transgressions for what they are: perfectly normal. Practice going to your “happy place” when the urge to devour your young hits. Your children will survive to adulthood, and you’ll have the grey hair to prove you worked hard to get them there.

I offer you a few recent examples from my homestead:

Monkey: Moooooooo-oooooooom! Chickadee keeps copying me!
Chickadee: Moooooooo-oooooooom! Chickadee keeps copying me!
In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to tell her that a simple “Am not!” would’ve served her better in this instance….

Monkey: *snakes his hand up under my shirt*
Me: No, buddy… that’s private. You don’t belong under my shirt.
Monkey: *rubs his hands together, I kid you not, and with the most charming of smiles reaches out does the double-honk on my breasts*
There is no therapy fund in the world to cover this train wreck….

Chickadee: Oh yeah? Well… well… when I’m old enough to drive, I’m gonna go live with Daddy!!!
Would it be poor form to throw a party now, or should I wait…?

Monkey: Mama, I love you bunches and bunches.
Me: Awww, that’s sweet, buddy. I love you bunches and bunches too.
Monkey: And Mama? I will love you forever.
Me: I’ll love you forever too, sweetheart.
Monkey: And it’s okay that sometimes you scream at me all mean and your face turns red.
See what I mean about being male? He could’ve had a pony out of this one if only he’d known when to stop talking.

Chickadee: Mama, I’ve almost read this whole book! See?
Me: That’s great, honey, but I need you to get dressed for school now.
Chickadee: “So, sometimes, even Mamas make mistakes.” The irony of this being the favorite book of the moment is not lost on me, by the way.
Me: I’ll make you a deal. Put the book down and get your clothes on. If you do it quick enough, you’ll still have time to finish the book after. Okay?
Chickadee: Okay, Mama!
Me: *leave the room*
Chickadee: “My Mama says there definitely isn’t any ghost–”
Rule one of disobeying: it helps to at least attempt to be sneaky. If you can’t read without doing it out loud, it’s mighty hard to get away with it.

Monkey: *crash* *thump* WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
Me: *running into the bedroom* Honey! Are you okay?
Monkey: WAAAHHHHH! My head! My leg! My arm! (All appear to still be attached.)
Me: Poor baby. What happened?
Monkey: I don’t know. I fell.
Me: I see. Were you jumping on the bed?
Monkey: No!
Me: Are you sure?
Monkey: I wasn’t jumping on the bed! I was trying to climb the wall like Spiderman!
Obviously the house rules need to be made more explicit….

Monkey: *crash* *thump* WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
Me: *running into the family room* Honey! Are you okay?
Monkey: WAAAHHHHH! My head! My leg! My arm! (All appear to still be attached.)
Me: Poor baby. What happened?
Monkey: I don’t know. I fell.
Me: Chickadee, did you see what happened?
Monkey: Yes you diiiiiiid!
Chickadee: NO! He ran into my fist when I was just sitting here!
Hmmmmm…. Note to self: go over both the concepts of full disclosure and more plausible cover stories, again.

Me: Monkey, please take your finger out of your nose.
Monkey: It’s itchy.
Me: Then go get a tissue. We do not put fingers in our noses.
Monkey: A tissue doesn’t work. I have to get the itchy part way in there.
Me: Monkey, putting your fingers in your nose is gross. There are germs in your nose, and you’re getting them all over your hands, doing that.
Monkey: That’s okay, Mama… my hands are already germy cuz I put my finger in my tushie before.
Really, I didn’t even know where to begin with this one.

I could keep going, but you get the general idea. Breathe deeply… think happy thoughts… and forge ahead. It’s okay. Chances are, you have at least one friend with a story that trumps even your worst. Whenever I’m feeling discouraged in this area, all Eileen has to say to me is “Mama, can you get the snack out of my nose?” (a legendary story in her house) and I feel better. And when all else fails… a quick reminder that this is all going to be wonderful embarrassment fodder when they’re older is remarkably cheering.


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