I am so very sorry if I have ever said (or even thought) “My kid will never act like that.” Let’s go back to being friends.
I am embarrassed to admit that up until a few years ago, when I witnessed a child having a public meltdown, I would think to myself, “Oh man, if that was my child I would put an end to that?immediately.??I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess as the young, naive, single mother of a beautiful and perfectly behaved little daughter, I actually believed that her temperament had something to do with my stellar parenting skills. I mean…I really thought that I could write a book on the subject, what with all of the little terrors running around, calling the shots everywhere they went.
Little Zoe and I would actually exchange looks when we were subjected to other peoples’ children’s public displays of childhood. No words were exchanged. The look said it all. “Thank?God?that we each have the self-control and the dignity?to?never?to behave that way?anywhere, let alone in a crowded movie theater,?in the middle of the gosh darn movie that we just paid an obscene amount of hard earned money to enjoy!?The nerve!
Fast forward a few years, to my much different circumstances, and I can not even recognize my old self….until I see her looking at me smugly while I wrestle a 2 year old into the child seat of the grocery cart and then search for an age-appropriate app (read: will hold her attention long enough) on my ipad, simultaneously opening a box of (not yet paid for) goldfish for my 3 year old to munch on so I can try to grab enough food to get us through the rest of the week. (The luxury of a?real trip to the grocery store will be awarded to the winner of a rock ?paper scissors match between my husband and me, over the weekend)
I see the disapproving looks I get when I am trying to mold an opened banana back into shape because darling daughter refuses to eat a “broken one.” And by refuses, I mean, throws herself on the ground wailing in despair over the half an inch piece that accidentally came off during the unpeeling process. The same size piece that will be gone anyways, after her first bite. But here I am carefully trying to perform surgery on a piece of fruit, as you shake your head and mutter something like, “In my house, you eat what I put in front of you or you don’t eat at all!” And I get it, I used to think that way too. But if the day trip with your three kids, in which the first half was spent just trying to get out of the house, is going to be ruined over a broken banana, you better believe I am going to do everything I can to to repair that banana! “Removing her from the situation” would require removing her two brothers as well, and they have been looking forward to this day together for the past 2 weeks. What I’d really like to do is put her in the car and leave her there to whine about her broken banana, but I think the disapproving looks would advance to disapproving posts with pictures on social media….or disapproving phone calls to the authorities, so instead I will just reconstruct this banana.
I hear the whispers at the park when all three kids are running in three different directions and I have to choose which one to chase after based which child is running toward the greatest potential for danger. I know how it looks when I am frantically trying to corral all my kids, as your children play nicely together on the monkey bars.
Your annoyance is palpable when we enter a restaurant and the kids are standing on their chairs or sprinkling the salt onto the bread plates. I take each item from the kids as they are grabbing them and my ninja-like reflexes catch the water glass from shattering on the floor, but not from getting me soaked. However, the looks are equally as perturbed when I pass out tablets to keep them entertained long enough to get our meals. Pick your poison, people!
I get it, I felt that ?way too, and I deeply regret it. My apologies to all of the mothers who may have picked up on my presumptuous expressions while you struggled to just make it through your day. I take it back. I understand. And to all of the other moms, the one’s who have “Zoe children,” get over yourselves. Trust me when I say that a child’s temperment is not something that can be “controlled.”
Yes, we can help to guide them. We can set boundaries. We can teach them that certain behaviors will have consequences. But we can not just make an active child, less active. An emotional child, less emotional. An exploring child, less curious. ?What we can do, is realize that as moms, we are all doing the best we can to ensure that our children are loved, and safe, and comfortable, and allowed to be children. ?We all want our children to grow up to be confident, respectable,?happy, adults. While our journeys are all different, our destination is the same. Lets worry less about what other parents are doing “wrong” and focus more on supporting each other along the way.