Monday, May 9, 2011
I know, I don't know.
Every once in a while, I feel super confident in my mom skills. You know the moment. When someone brags on your child's kindness or manners. When someone says, "You can tell she's got great parents." When an adult asks your child a question and she replies with, "Yes, ma'am." When she stands up for what she believes in. When she prays for another child, unashamed and unafraid of what they'll think.
But then, there's the other 350 days of the year. You know those days. When you feel like you have NO idea what you're doing, NO recollection of signing up for this, and NO long-term plan on how to get yourself out of the mess you're in. These moments start when your husband goes back to work and leaves you with a newborn baby, and they continue until you have the little darling married off and moved away.
These moments include, but are not limited to:
episodes of vomit containing food you did not feed them nor have any idea where they found it, fishing overalls out of a running toilet, covering up the conversation that you just heard your angel initiate to a strange man that started with, "Why do you only have one arm?" And the ever-so-popular comment from your child's teacher- "No matter who I seat her by, she talks. So, I guess I'll seat her by herself."
Those are the moments when you kinda make up the rules as you go along.
See, before you have children, you have all kinds of ideas. You read the books, watch the DVDs, and take the classes. You sterilize, sanitize, rationalize, and compartmentalize. But then, little tiny hiney comes along and not only shatters your theories, but also pees on them and laughs.
So here's the deal. I really don't know much. But what I know, I really know. And today, I am in need of remembering what I really know. I'm gonna make a list.
...that praying over a boo-boo CAN become an immediate reaction, and so much so that your child will start doing it without you present.
...that you absolutely cannot reason with a child who is hell-bent and determined to wear a flip flop and a cowboy boot, while carrying a pink comb every where she goes.
...that unless you clearly outline behavior prior to entering a store, family event, or any other worthy venue, your preschooler will outline her own behavior and you will wish you had never been born by the time it's over.
...how to make the perfect peanut butter and honey sandwich.
...exactly the song she needs when she snuggles into my arms, just by the way she snuggles.
...that we ALL fool ourselves into thinking OUR child will be the one who never laughs at a dirty joke, keeps a secret from us, sneaks around behind our backs, lies to us, or does something that utterly embarrasses our family name.
...how to stop a tantrum dead in its tracks.
...how to squish ungratefulness and abolish its ugly head overnight.
...that it is perfectly normal to feel like your skin will crawl if you are touched one more time before naptime, but long for those arms around your neck by the end of the two hour break.
...meanings of words like "duper," "B," "in comprendo," "definkly," and "pupcake."
...that playing Barbies with Abi will teach me everything I need to know about what's going on in her world.
...that Abi thinks about Reagan (her best friend/ boyfriend/ love of her life) ALL. THE. TIME.
...that sometimes, all I can do is apologize for my behavior. Well, that and pray that somehow what I did won't shape her psyche forever.
...that kids shouldn't only eat things they like to eat, shouldn't only participate in church or other activities only when it pleases them, and shouldn't only befriend people like them. Adulthood is full of doing things we don't like to do, and we have to prepare them for that. Now.
...that someone, somewhere has been through what I'm going through with my children, and lived to tell the tale. Look for people with whiter hair than yours and ask them how they did it.
...that as much as I'd like to, I cannot fight all my kids' battles for them. They have to learn to voice their opinions, approach their offenders, and vindicate their wrongs without my help. Of course, I also know this is a process and cannot or should not happen over night.
...that my kids will not be good at everything. And shame on me if I make them think they will be.
...that Abi is more innocent than I think she is. But she's also WAY more world-wise than I think she is. All at the same time.
...to assume NOTHING.
...how her entire day was by the way she walks down the sidewalk at school.
...exactly how much fun stuff to pack in order to keep her entertained all the way to north Alabama, which is a 10 hour drive.
...that regardless of how awful her day was, I can reset her immediately by saying, "Let's just crawl in my bed and read." We end up talking ALOT. Reset accomplished.
...that regardless of how difficult it can be to GET pregnant, RAISING a child is so much harder.
...but so incredibly worth it.
See? The key to parenting isn't in the encyclopedias of knowledge we possess. It's ultimately found in knowing a few things well.
Last night, we were lying in bed, talking to Abi before she fell asleep. Here's the conversation, more or less.
ABI- Know what I'm thinking about?
ME- Nope. What?
ABI- I'm wondering how old I'll be when Reagan kisses me one day.
ME- (grabbing Rod's arm while he grabs mine, behind her head). Seventeen.
ABI- That's a long time.
ME- Yep, it is.
ABI- (silence). I love you guys.
US- We love you too. Good night.
I have no idea what I'm doing. But I'll figure it out. One conversation at a time.