My day was going along, you know, and it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary at all, and that was fine.
Then I got a call from school about one child, and then later as I girded myself to deal with that child and that particular issue (and was coaching myself to try to refrain from starting with “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”), the kids arrived home and the OTHER child had a note detailing an EVEN BETTER transgression, one that caused said child to hand me the note and then RUN AWAY CRYING because there was no question at all that sticking around would mean bearing witness to my brain actually igniting and causing my face to melt off.
These things always come on the heels of a sanguine period where I wonder if maybe, just maybe, I’ve finally hit my stride. I’m okay! The kids are good! Life is bearable! And then one of my cherished offspring has to go hold up a convenience store for tattoo money, or whatever, and I’m thrown for a loop.
On the one hand, there’s little I dislike more than a parent—particularly a mother—who judges her worth based upon her children’s conduct. I never want to be one of those people. It’s too big of a burden for the kids, and it’s pitiful, besides. So when something like this stops me in my tracks and brings on the pangs of failure, I feel vaguely foolish for being so adversely affected.
On the other hand, if everything was going so well around here, would my kids be doing things they shouldn’t, in perfect stereo delinquency? I can’t help feeling that I’ve let them down somehow. Maybe I overlooked some need of theirs. Maybe this is a cry for help or the manifestation of some deep problem. (Deeper than their regular problems that I already know about, anyway)
Regardless, I had to find a way to proceed, this afternoon.
Monkey lay on the floor of the playroom, sobbing out his one hundred reasons of why it wasn’t his fault and he didn’t mean to. Every attempt to discuss the matter with him was met with fresh wails and finally I had to suggest he take some time in his room to settle down.
Chickadee was suddenly all “Yes Ma’am” and “No Ma’am” and “I think I’ll just sit right down and finish my homework and then shine your shoes and hope you don’t kill me,” which was heartening, but when I tried to have a discussion with her things took a wrong turn. It appears that she was tempted into misbehavior by a friend, and when I followed in the footsteps of all the mothers before me and asked if she would jump off a bridge if her friend suggested it, her angelic show faltered a bit; she both laughed at the suggestion AND rolled her eyes at me.
I had no choice but to dip them both in ketchup and eat them. It was so much more expedient than bothering to figure out how to effectively parent, and it also meant I didn’t have to defrost anything for dinner.
Oh goodness Mir, is this what I have to look forward to with my two youngens? If so, please pass the ketchup!
And no, none of this is a cry for help… kids will be kids… period. You’re a wonderful Mama. Now spit those kids out before they light a fire in your belly. ;)
Just think Mir, they really could have wanted that tattoo money. Just sayin’ :)
Be careful dipping the kids in ketchup, you set them down to slice off a piece to eat and they run away and sit on the couch.
Never fear, you are a great mommy — bad mommies don’t ever think that they are not doing a good job. But kids will be kids, Chickie is starting a new phase of being tempted by friends — which is a whole new level of Hell — or so I’ve been told (by my mother, often, in reference to ALL my years of growing up).
When I was a child, my dad’s chest always puffed up when someone commented on his well-behaved children. Rather than pass the compliment to us, he accepted it on his behalf, because after all, he trained us. Just him. Which I hated because, don’t I get a little credit for using the manners? Kids behave, kids misbehave. At the end of the day it is up to them how they act. We parents can’t measure ourselves by their decisions. They get the credit – good or bad. Or at least that’s the conclusion I’ve drawn.
In my opinion (which is just that) the only thing more pathetic than basing your self-worth on your children’s behavior is basing your self-worth on your children’s accomplishments. Seriously – I’ve never been able to figure out those parents who will drop everything to take the kid here and there and everywhere at the drop of a hat and at the expense of their living some semblance of their own life.
I’m all for taking kids to lessons and school, but I sort of wonder about those people who completely define themselves by a) being a parent and b) how well little Johnny plays the piano. Seems like it would feel awfully burdonsome to the kid to have that kind of pressure.
I agree with Zee, and well, everyone should get a life of hisherits own. I highly recommend it.
Regarding the post itself, while I don’t have as many years of experience in parenting as Mir, I have the suspiscino that there is a law of nature that whenever you think that things finally run smoothly there will be something kid-related coming up. Every single time.
If anybody knows of a spell or chemical substance to help with it, I’m in.
Suzanne, that guy’s name is Murphy. And I think he hides under Jet’s bed at night, filling his little mind with things to do during the day.
FWIW, I much prefer dipping kids in caramel sauce, but, then again, I have a heck of a sweet tooth.
Mir: You are a fabulous mommy. We all need some reassurance in that area from time to time, even from the blogosphere-at-large.
Ahhh…ketchup dipped young’uns. My favorite! I say, there’ll be good days and bad days, so just keep the ketchup handy.
Susanne, as for the chemical substance, I know of none for my children, but I have found that diet coke and the occasional bucket of wine have miraculous healing properties for me. Ahem.
Mir honestly I think you are a wonderful Mommy and sometimes, like Rebecca says – Make the KIDS deal with the idea that they have to take credit for thier BAD behavior just as well as the GOOD behavior. The GOOD is something they did and they get credit for it so the bad works the same way. At least your daughter rolled her eyes and laughed when “the parent” leaped out at her. Mine kind of purses her lips and raises her eyebrows with an “are you KIDDING???” look on her face – to suggest that I have CLEARLY lost my mind using something so CLICHE on my girl.With boys…always someone else’s fault. I have always told my kids that it’s about CHOICE. If they CHOSE to do it that’s their bad. THEY have the popwer over their own bodies and actions unless they are a hand puppet. Childhood is about practicing to make the right choices and they’ll get it wrong now and again. I still love ’em – but I prefer MINE dipped in chocolate *BG*.
everything tastes better with ketchup! that’s my 6yo’s motto, at least.
Good luck. Maybe they’re just upset about your slippers?
Your post (brilliantly put and aptly titled, btw) is one of the reason why I buy mondo-sized ketchup at Costco – they come in a two-pack, you know!?!
And with my next comment (see prior) I will now attempt to turn on my spell-checker and hopefully not seem as stupid as I sound – have a great weekend, Mir!
Don’t eat them – think of the calories! And the indigestion! When my kids misbehave I don’t think condiments, I think duct tape. Try it! ;)
I have to stop all of you and your madness now. I can’t believe you would even suggest such a horrible thing as to eating your kids with ketchup. Frankly, I am appalled at the suggestion!
I much prefer dipping in ranch!
Ketchup? Dang! Why didn’t I think of that?????
Okay, Mir, you have an engineer-type background, so let’s set up a little experiment.
First, we’ll construct a plexiglass box about so big. Now let’s put a fixed post anywhere in the box you pick. Next we’ll put in two compressed-rubber balls (aka Superballs (TM))–let’s call them “Crunchy” and “Chewy.” Put the lid on the box and give it a good shake. What do you observe?
Yes, the balls are bouncing all over! Sometimes they hit the walls of the box, sometimes they hit each other, and look! Sometimes one or both of them hit the fixed post. Does it matter where the post is placed? Does the post in anyway *control* the trajectory of the balls? Since it appears the bouncing is completely random, is there any way to predict when or how the balls will hit the post?
That concludes our experiment, you may get the ketchup now.
Clearly we need a new, more modern version of the “jumping off a cliff” alegory. (am I using that word right? “cliff”?) Here’s my suggestion:
“So you did [obligatory badness] just because [obligatory very cool bestest friend with the sparkly, grape-scented pen and same taste in pop music] did? Well, if [same friend – you know the one] were to wear high-rise jeans would you do it to?” (Stand back and wait for the horror to wash over child’s face. Bask in the glow of exceptional parenting.)
Also, it seems clear that there’s a missed niche out there in the form of a “ways to cook and consume your maddening children” cookbook just waiting to write itself. We could do it together (I like rolled in a mixture of egg, flour and Cap’n Crunch crumbs, then deep fried and dipped in hot fudge) and the proceeds could go to a really valuable charity. Like our pockets. Or a fabulous bar tab somewhere centrally located.
I just want to send you some big hugs. I know where you’re coming from but in Monkey’s defense being on Albuterol for the last week could explain his lack of presence. Hang in there kiddo.
but are they tasty???
Just hope that they do all of their “bad” things early in life. I know the phrase kids-will-be-kids is not an excuse but it is so true. I prefer eating my young with cheese!
Skip the ketchup. I think children would be just delectable with that chocolate fountain.
Great now I want french fries.
Mmmm… kids in ketchup. I think I might toast mine over the weekend. This is funny because I was just teasing my son that I was going to put him under the broiler, and he wanted to climb into the oven, just to try it out. With the oven off, he said. Then he was mad when I wouldn’t let him try it. Kids are so, so, so weird.
Nope, the dipping in ketchup wouldn’t work at my house. Boy 1 would give food poisoning, just to spite me. I have no choice but to hang from from the ceiling by their toes. It’s like pinatas! In the house!
Oooh, I’ve been tempted. Zed is about as smart as Chickadee…he knows the precise point to shut up before he’s boiled in oil. I still get tears and “I don’t know” from Elle. Help me Bill Cosby!
Just don’t try asking yourself, “What will they think of next?” You don’t want to know!!
Why “particularly a mother?” Isn’t that behavior equally as distasteful from a father?
Ah, as long as it’s tattoo money and not, say, crack money, it’ll be fine….
This is just the post-holidays possession by forces of evil. It will pass, and is just meant to keep you on your toes.
And also, to purchase a fresh bottle of catsup.
Oh.. they do it for tatoo money… now I get it… Hey, pass the ketchup.
Tried the ” if you jumped off a bridge…” with my kids too. They looked at me like a grew a second head. Now how did that work on me with my Mother used to say it?