Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Things I've learned...

…now that I’m a “parent”.

Turns out, dinosaurs aren’t actually extinct. They’ve simply been reincarnated in the form of children. For example, the shrieks of a four-year-old being woken up at 6:30 a.m. sound JUST LIKE what I believe a very angry pterodactyl sounded like. And I’ve had plenty of opportunities to witness this. Probably TOO many.

If you’re in the middle of say, Act I of “The Little Mermaid” and aforementioned four-year-old has to go to the bathroom, don’t panic. Don’t think about all of the OTHER shows you’ve been to and the inevitable loooong lines you’ve stood in during the intermission potty break. Reason that maybe some nice women would let you take the small child to the front of the line, but then remember that you’re at “The Little Mermaid” – you’re probably not the only one with an impending pee emergency. Simply check to see what the last song is before the lights go up for intermission, and begin channeling your inner linebacker. When the lights go up, shoot up from your seat, hustle the child to the end of the row and walk as quickly as possible to the nearest restroom. Turns out, if you’re good (like I totally am) you’ll not only get there first, but be able to use the handicapped stall, where it is much easier to supervise AND go to the bathroom yourself, after asking the child to please not open the door until your pants are buttoned. Not that that has happened before. Repeatedly.

I used to be that person who would hear a child screaming in Target and think to myself “If that were me, I would just leave”. Turns out, I wouldn’t. What I WOULD do is sort of bribe the kid to be quiet because gah, we just got here and I haven’t gotten anything on my list and I just don’t want to turn right back around and go home.

As soon as children get into the grocery store, it’s as if they are a starving, malnourished child from a 3rd world country who must have absolutely everything they see. Man, do I ever get tired of saying no. But simply not answering…I can get on board with that.

You might as well never vow to yourself “I will NOT be like my mother” because it is going to happen whether you want it to or not. As we get older it happens, and with kids, it balloons out of control. I’ve heard.

The Fair Police is the most annoying phenomenon EVER. If I have to hear “well she got more than me” or “she didn’t have to do as much as me” or what is quite possibly ONE KAJILLION other incarnations of that same sort of thing, I will scream. See: angry pterodactyl.

Sometimes taking away t.v. is more punishment for the parents than the kids. But you have to stick to your guns, even though what you’d rather do is shoot yourself for taking away t.v. in the first place – not that it’s a babysitter, per se, but sometimes it’s nice to have a break from the bickering or the stuff you told them not to do because it’s dangerous and they do it anyway and then there’s a lot of crying. Plus, I like to watch “Drake and Josh”.

Kids are like snowflakes – no two are alike. They could be related, they could be sweet, they could be many things. But they will most certainly react completely differently to every situation. Turns out, some kids laugh when you call them Poutyface Whinypants and others turn into Tantrum McScreamy because you’ve hurt their feelings, by god.

There’s more. Trying to teach kids manners and behavior is HARD. But in the grand scheme of it all, that pain in the ass stuff often falls by the wayside. Because there’s the time – like today - when they’re in Portland with Chris and Riley calls because she misses me. Or when it’s just Abby and I, and she of the never wanting to go to bed gets into bed with me, snuggles up to me and goes right to sleep. I remember those moments a lot more because I know that there’s going to be a day when they don’t want to snuggle or talk to us or tell us every miniscule detail about everything. So I guess I can endure the occasional pterodactyl/starving orphan/selectively deaf moments. But not the Fair Police. I draw the line there.


Jen M. said...

Before I had kids I always said I would never bribe them. I would reason with them, we would "discuss" and they would see my logic, no?

I am 100% with you on the Target thing - If my kids wanted me to build them a damn church so I could get my shopping done, I would.

And my kids sound like pterydactyls, too. Cripes. They're all monsters.

Cheryl said...

Hmmm...I still play the fair police. I think what bothers me more at Target or wherever is the parents who continue to threaten leaving the store and punishment and don't. Cause I know they probably never follow through on punishments and what message is that sending?

On another note, this weekend I heard a woman yelling at her child so meanly and the girls was crying, not a fake out cry but a genuine distress one and I felt so sad for her and angry at the woman.

Anonymous said...

Wow you are learning this stuff! Its much easier when you start from the beginning though.

My favorite method of getting kids to cooperate is a little Sopranos-ish. When little a starts to act up in a store I get right in her ear and whisper, "Do we need to leave the store and get a spanking?"

I find whispering makes her be quiet and listen, and two the mild threat is enough to calm her down or to make her go balistic. I ahve about an 80% success ratio with this tactic.

It's never gotten really bad, but if it did, I would just leave the store and take care of it outside. No need for the public to share in my escapade.


-J said...

Man, sounds like a blast. I better get out there and have some of my own. ;-) Maybe if they really annoy me, I can donate them to a museum.

Alice said...

man oh man. i am so not ready to deal with the fair police. i hear the rewards are worth it and all, but.... maybe just a LITTLE longer when the only person i have to placate is ME :-)

dasi said...

Oh, Amber - I am LOVING your parenting stories!! And yes, those shrieks and cries and tantrums are NOTHING compared to what is coming (insert ominous music here!!!). I love my Lexie to death - but if I come home one more time to a pre-teen lying on the couch watching tv with six half-empty pop cans on the table and the computer on with several AIM messages on the screen and NO chores done at all after I have worked almost fourteen hours straight at two jobs, only to have her say "I'm hungry and there's nothing to eat in this house - can you make me something?" I will SCREAM!!!!!!

Ok, Done venting. :)

*Red said...

I totally know what you mean. I have a 2 year old godson who has just begun to throw himself on the floor and scream when he doesn't get what he wants, then in the next minute he is curling up on your lap. Or at the grocery store he is grabbing everything off the shelf while I am turned around getting something, then you get to the checkout only to find 15 things you didn't want in your cart. Kids are crazy little creatures!

Marissa said...

i see a book here?! what do you think???

thank you so much for your well-wishes and words fo love and support. you have no idea how much they mean to me. i'm starting to feel better. the road to recovery is getting worn...woohoo!