Friday, December 5, 2008

Surfing in a Child's Ocean

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One of my parenting mandates is lead by example. Sometimes, I am not very good at it either. Such as when I'm tired, which I've been for about seven plus years now. But if I fess up to my mistakes and actually learn from them, then my kids can learn too.

Humans learn almost nothing when life goes perfectly throughout their entire childhood. Those poor folks are in for a very rude awakening when their first trauma hits in early adulthood. I know it sounds weird, but I'm always thankful for my less than perfect childhood. I feel well prepared for life, although I still think it's really hard being on this planet at times, at least it never comes as a surprise.

"It's not fair," my kids say.

"Exactly," is my honest response.

Anyways, back to leading by example. I don't swear, in front of my kids.

Although, it is getting trickier with their evolutionary enhanced mind reading abilities to keep my private thoughts private. So much so, that I am having to limit the curse words I think in my head while in their presence. Oh no, it isn't enough that I have given up alcohol, crack and nearly all of television, but now I have to monitor my thoughts as well? "Not fair!" Oops.

Don't feel sorry for me, I have kept, and even added to, the hobbies I love. I didn't like the way I felt after using crack and TV, anyways. Besides, both of those drugs really interfere with my surfing. If I stay up too late watching TV I will invariably miss out on something else and it makes it impossible to dawn patrol the next day.

Many times my kids will say out loud, what I'm thinking in my head. Can't we just go back to the days of communicating with words out loud, please? How are we all going to lie and get away with it, anymore? I suppose the good news is now we can all relax and be ourselves. I can't possibly be the only one who is experiencing the, "omg my kid has esp," phenom, can I?

The other day I was having a hard day in parenting world, when my oldest son says to me, "I know what you're thinking."

"You do?" I ask feeling like an open book, which would be an understatement except for the fact that he reads books for hours on end.

"Yeah, you're thinking you wish Gio and I were never born."

Fortunately, he was a bit off, but not by much. I was actually pondering, "why on Earth didn't someone tell me how hard parenting really is?"

They all said, "you two will make such great parents." And I believed them.

"Sucker! LOL ha ha ha. We got her good." Does anyone else hear those voices besides me?

Sometimes it is hard to feel like a great parent, especially when my kids are doing things like teasing each other mercilessly, or just plain old not listening to me. Oh and the looks other people give, well, it's a good thing I really don't care what they think, but sometimes it would be nice to have a little support from the outside world, especially since I now have to live in it.

People don't tell potential parents how hard parenting is because if childless people knew, they wouldn't do it. If the childless were smart, they would get a cat, a stroller and walk around town pushing their meowing babies all the while pretending to play house.

There is no way to actually know how great and how hard parenting is until the task is undertaken. And then it is too late to back out. Especially since we can't drop our kids off in Nebraska anymore. Those legislators totally ruined my back up plan.

People without children don't have the capacity to comprehend the vast ocean of parenting. Until a person becomes a parent there is no need to navigate the treacherous waters of endless madness and boundless love parents undergo. Trust me, I know I used to be one of those people. Ignorance is bliss, baby.

One of the things I love (barf!)hearing when I discuss my parenting dilemmas with friends who have older and grown children is, "my kid never did that." Yes I love that one. Those words pop my parenting self esteem bubble right into outer space. Thank goodness I have friends who still remember the torture they inflicted on their siblings, and vice versa.

I also wonder what medication people are on when they say , "oh I loved that age. It was so easy."

"Excuse me?" Okay, now I know they are on crack. There is no easy phase, maybe easy days. Everyone thinks parenting younger kids is easier than parenting teenagers who drive cars and are under the influence of raging hormones. Wait? On second thought, that sounds much worse.

But even knowing it gets harder doesn't help when right where I am just sucks. It was like thinking having one kid was so hard. Wrong. But I didn't realize that until I had two kids. Having one kid is practically like not having kids at all. Especially when I realize, "uh oh, this isn't like one of those bad dysfunctional relationships where I can just walk away? Nope, I'm pretty stuck in parenting hell with the nearest exit being my next lifetime, maybe. And even then, they might still find me."

Like when we try to go shopping and my kids suddenly experience severe brain damage thinking, "hey this is a great place to play tag and hide and seek," running around the store like wild animals. Yes, those were my kids.

Okay, I concede it would be fun to do that, but please for Mommy's sanity, "STOP!" I may not care what people think, but I hate being stabbed in the heart by strangers' piercing glares. And being a mind reader makes all those stares so much worse because I can, also, hear what they are thinking. Sometimes, I have to remind people that they were once children, too.


Juliet Colors said...

You're so funny. I just wanted to say I've been enjoying your blog. I guess I'm one of those smart, childless couples, raising my two cats, no kids. Thanks for the stroller idea. :-)

Deb and JJ said...

Ha,ha,ha...Just kidding! I know you don't/can't see this now 'cause you're in the thick of it, but when that last kid walks out the door for real, you will long for these days. Be here now! You have many challenges ahead of you. You are right, outsiders are quick to judge and criticize, but block that stuff because you have a really good inner compass that always points true. You will receive payback in small doses in things like “Wow, you’re Vinny’s mom! Oh he’s such a great kid he did ….. and you’ll be thinking, “They must have me confused with some other mom ‘cause that’s not MY kid.” But it is. said...

Thanks! I am already planning a response blog to today's. But I want all the childless peeps to promise they won't read it for fear that I will lead them down the long hard wonderful road of parenting.

Anonymous said...

dang, i shoulda got you that picture! ;)

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh!!!!! Kids... They drive me caraaaazy. Good thing, I love being one too. It's easier to join them and forget parenting... at least every once in a while... or until someone splits their forehead open on playground equipment.

Anonymous said...

Wait.. you don't want surprises in your life? Your childhood was so imperfect that you're no longer surprised?

I think that's kind of sad. :'( said...

Okay on surprises I said I'm not SURPRISED when something traumatic happens because in a way I'm used to life doing it. I believe it's a way for us to learn life. And for the record, I haven't yet met anyone who had a perfect childhood. Smiles.

Anonymous said...

Surprises are sometimes good, sometimes bad. For instance, Good Surprise: Flowers and Chocolate!
Bad Surprise: any one who is used to surfing 4-5ft waves doesn't like the "surprise" of a 10-12 footer on their head. REALLY BAD SURPRISE.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone should have a bad or hard childhood to be a productive member or society. It's just if everything is made so easy for them as a child with no effort on their part, behavior rules, or consequence, you'll be raising one of those 16 year old bleach blond teenagers who expects you to buy her another brand new BMW right after she wrecked the first one. Life as a child doesn't need to be hard, parents just need to teach their kids values, respect, and most importantly, love. ;) haha this coming from a person who has no kids.

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