Sunday, April 10, 2011

Not the Chuck Norris of Parenting

Hello, little boy.  You are three years old.  Before you came along, your mommy was the best mommy in the world.  She made rules and schedules and plans, and your big sisters, who didn't know you yet either, thought they were all the best rules and schedules and plans that a human could make.  They slept through the night and ate their asparagus and buckled themselves into their booster seats.  Oh yes, she was the most talented, most cleverest, in-control mommy there ever was.  The Chuck Norris of parenting, she didn't need books or advice.  Books and advice needed her.

But then came the moment (as it always does) of the great cosmic slap-you-upside-the-head wherein the whole thing about her being in control and rolling her eyes at the small humans of others sprawled on the floor of the grocery store demanding "a new present car" gets thrown in her face.  My face.  My silly, smug, foolish face of parenting awesomeness.  You came into this world, rushing, in a speedy, dramatic fashion, an almost-be-born-on the freeway fashion that, in hindsight, foreshadowed your whole way of being.

Now, if I was a more insightful woman, it might have taken less than 3.7 years for me to realize all of this.  But sadly I am not, so it didn't.  For over three years I tried to make you and things the way I thought they ought to be.  "The rules!" I cried.  "What about the rules?!".  And fought.  And fretted.  What was I doing wrong?  What else could I do to make you think and act the way that I wanted you to?  What are people going to think about ME when they see YOU?  Why do you have to have your own ideas and feelings and intentions?  Why can't you see that you are a reflection of me and therefore base all your decisions on whether or not I would approve or support them?  Stupid free will.

Sigh.  I really was such a silly, smug, foolish woman who had to be told over and over and over, for three years straight, the thing that I didn't want to believe was true, and that thing is this: It's not. about. ME.

Ouch.

It hurt at first.  Accepting that I am just a facilitator and caretaker of these small humans that I worked so hard to help create is more difficult than it sounds.  Well, for me it was.  Which is the whole point.  I wouldn't have had to learn the lesson if I already knew it.  It wouldn't have been hard if it wasn't necessary.  And if we're going to be really honest with each other, I'll let you in on a little secret... I'm still struggling.  When they want to dress like color-blind lunatics or eat a strange, disgusting combination of otherwise acceptable (to me) food, I still find myself wanting to object.  But you, you....my dear, crazy three year old boy whom I love so dearly, you do your job faithfully every day. Your job of embodying that great cosmic smack-down that I so deserved.

Thank you for insisting on wearing your Spongebob pajamas to work in the garden.

boy gardening in spongebob pajamas
And to water the lawn...
spongebob squarepants pajamas
and to water the dogs.
australian shepherd puppies with kids
 Thank you for driving us crazy...
toyota sienna minivan
and your big sisters...
family farm and home store
and your baby sister, too.
exersaucer fun

Thank you for the red food-coloring on the carpet, the green marker on the toilet seat and the spackle on the kitchen floor.  Thank you for borrowing that lip-liner and drawing such a pretty circle around your mouth  (the pink mustache/goatee combo was dashingly handsome).  Thank you for teaching me to love without expectations.  And thank you for showing me that God has way more faith in me than I ever did.

toddler boy sleeping in car seat in summer

29 comments :

  1. oh, dweej. this just hits the nail on the head. i have no experience with parenting before my little wild man came along but i do know that he makes me rethink everything i ever thought and knocks my on my butt in the VERY BEST WAY. parenting a little boy is a crazy adventure i never knew i needed. love this post!

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  2. Well really now, who doesn't wear their Sponge Bob pants to garden in? To wear anything else is just silly.
    What a neat post. To be able to see what a doll he is, in spite of the naughty things he may or may not do.

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  3. I had that child first. It took me an entire year of putting him in his room for "nap time" and leaving him in there screaming for two hours (I was not going to give in on this and let him have control, I'm the mother and also I need the break) to realize that letting him skip his nap was less stressful. He was 2 when he stopped napping, 3 when I gave up. When my daughter was born I was like, "oh wow this is so EASY! No wonder other parents have it all together!" She slept through the night at 1 month!!!!
    He is my JOY, she is my ZEN. :)

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  4. I had a sweet placid little boy, all smiles and cooing. Then we had the "Little man with the plan," who climbed the insides of refrigerators, who climbed out onto the roof, who tore across busy streets the moment I would turn my back for a millisecond etc.

    Thanks to God he is now 11 and still alive and thriving and still very chatty and active. He must have a dozen guardian angels.

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  5. I have one of "those" kids too. He makes my heart so happy it could bust.

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  6. My daughter was the active get-into-everything one. She drove us crazy! She is still active and get-into-everything at age 25, still drives us crazy, but we absolutely wouldn't change a minute! Our son was the most placid baby. We could put him down in a spot and 20 minutes later he'd still be there, taking it all in. At almost nineteen, he's not quite as placid, but he is our pride and joy. Our kids are our treasures! Enjoy yours Dweej, and give your big boy a hug from Alaska!

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  7. Hi, I am a new follower, I found you from Bernie's post of your blog today and I am looking forward to reading from the begining to find out about your journey. We had a house in WI that we bought for about 15,000 that was on a shared well and needed about a million dollars of work. The neighbor had to take us off the shared well to get a loan on the house and we spent almost a whole year hauling water in garbage cans from the rest stop on our way home, the up side is that we at least had electricity, even if it was part knob and tube. ;) Looking forward to a great read, I am not a quick as Bernie though. Have a great weekend!!

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  8. Yes Yes Yes!!! I know exactly what you mean! I spent so much of my 1st pregnancy reading all these wonderful books by Catholic mothers and they all had saintly children and gave wonderful advice on how to have orderly, perfect homes and then my son was born and no matter how hard I tried my son would not get with the program. So when I got pregnant again, I reread all those books, and some new ones, trying to figure out where I went wrong and once again my new baby boy refused to go along with the plan. By the time the 3rd boy came along I cried to God, begging him to show me what I needed to do to so I could finally be the in-control mom I was "supposed" to be. Well now at little boy #4, who is just as stubborn and uncooperative as his brothers, I finally am realizing that I need to throw away the stupid books and embrace the chaos and craziness that God has so abundantly blessed my life with! Of course that doesn't mean I don't still pray that next time I'll get the calm, sweet, obedient child ;)

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  9. LOL Boys will do that to you, won't they? I have always said and will continue to say that God hand picked the children I was meant to have and He truly does know more about me than I know about myself... 'Cause wow!

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  10. Oh, I am so glad you can all relate and commiserate! We had a bit of a rough morning today (any day that starts out with a child demanding to see chickies in their bare feet whilst simultaneously crying that the light is too bright at 6:13 a.m. is bound to be doozy) and it smoothed everything over in my heart to write this :)

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  11. I'm reading your post and shaking my head as it to signal, "I know where you're coming from." Thank goodness for Sponge Bob pajamas that somehow make all their antics that much cuter!

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  12. Blog hopping today and am your newest follower. I hope that 1 of my blogs interests you too.

    http://tawnasplan.com
    http://btrbb.com
    http://tawnassecret.com

    I also do a weekend blog hop, you can link up your blog, twitter, FB, blog frog community etc on tawnasplan.blogspot.com open every Friday-Sunday!
    Thanks

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  13. The one true enjoyment that I get out of my own Cosmic Slap in the Head is watching the twenty-something women who don't yet have children as they sneer at my child. I used to do that too...and look what it got me.
    It's tough to let go when you're a control freak, right? Pajamas rule at our house too, by the way. It's what all the cool kids do these days.

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  14. Sounds like he does a great job of keeping you in on your toes! He does look pretty cute gardening in his jammies though . . . Just sayin' ;D

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  15. I love it! He looks so sweet and innocent in his Sponge Bob pj's...you'd never know he was plotting behind your back :)

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  16. Don't boys rock! I have 2 with a Diva in the middle. My boys keep me going all right. Girls are so relaxed- so calm. My oldest (5) will imitate the TV as he is watching it so it is never a dull moment!
    New Follower www.classifiedmom.com

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  17. Excellent post! I feel like you were talking about me! My youngest of 4, my sweet Princess Ballerina 5yo is often unaware of the blindness her royal outfits cause in others. And insists on the strangest things, but it's what makes her, her. Love it and am so glad to have found your blog to follow. Looking forward to reading more! :o)

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  18. I love it that so many lovely people can relate. Makes a girl feel good!

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  19. Sounds like my son four years ago...not that he's different now. All boy, and I love it. If you can't beat them, join them. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

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  20. It's funny how God can bring you down a notch or two when you need it. I used to be one of "those" people that would ask to be moved if the waiter was trying to seat me near a family. I didn't want those "spoiled, ill-behaved brats" to ruin my dinner. I also used to make sure everyone coming to parties at my house knew that children were not welcome.

    I knew that when I had my children, they would be well behaved and perfect...HA! My first nursed every hour on the hour and never did take a bottle, had two hour temper tantrums (literally!) and still argues like an attorney every time I tell him he has to do something...Another boy later and my former girlie self is now knee deep in baseball, football, boy scouts and dirty hands and, like you, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    Thanks for reminding me that God has a great sense of humor ;)

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  21. Wow...he sounds like my middle. She wears me out. And I'm still learning which battles to fight. Hoping it was a phase but just in denial that this is just her...and I do love her to pieces. Just SO different than our first. Now can't wait to see what comes of our little man as he grows out of infancy. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. this was a wonderful post.. this, I loved this:

    Thank you for teaching me to love without expectations. And thank you for showing me that God has way more faith in me than I ever did.

    :)

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  23. I can't believe I missed this post way back when - thank you for bringing it to light with the Be Enough Me campaign & for linking up!!

    I love that kids can teach us so much & turn things we thought we knew, on its head. Your darling boy is truly a gem.

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  24. Yes, yes, and yes! My daughter and your son would make a great pair! Thank you so much for linking up!

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  25. What a perfect post to link up with! I think your son and mine must be long lost twins. Because, yep, I relate to all of it.

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  26. I love that you were Chuck Norris before your little guy Chuck Norris-ed you :)

    My girlfriend has a perfect oldest child; she was so proud of how things just fell into place. Then her second came along, a little spitfire of a girl, and threw it all back in her face.

    Now mine are both crazy-town residents in their own way. I threw the books out long ago...

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