a how-to guide to bad parenting

I like to think that I am very nearly the parent I want to be. Do I have things to work on? Yes. Am I flawed? Extraordinarily. But I sincerely believe that is part of showing The Kidling what it means to be a strong woman: modeling self-love in spite of flaws and failures.

One of my flaws obviously being my affinity for alliteration.

But I have days. Holy shit do I have days. And let’s face it: those months weeks days are far better blog fodder than the good ones. One of those days was a particularly exhausting one. It involved errands, chores, and general crap. We returned home late and I hoped to get her straight to bed, but… she was a mess and really needed a shower.

Sunuva-

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! With constant harassment reminders from The Mama, The Kidling got in, screwed around in the water cleaned up, and got out.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! I gave her two minutes to use the toilet, wash her hands, and brush her teeth. Yes, I know this is irrational. Yes, I know that is impatient. Recall, Dear Reader, that this is a story of one of those days.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! I gave warnings.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! The one minute warning was accompanied by a grouchy yell from down the hall, courtesy of The Mama. Then, the clock ran out. I marched my frustraed, irrational ass* into the bathroom, took the toothbrush out of her tiny hand and told her she was finished.

Firmly.

“Why?” She asked, on the brink of tears at the injustice of having her toothbrush whisked away without explanation.

“Because your time is up.” The Grump The Mama replied.

“Oh. I didn’t know,” she explained in a voice full of sincerity. “You didn’t have to yell at me because I knew I had one minute and I don’t know time!”

The Kidling was earnest.
The Mama was humbled.
The Dada was right:

“She makes a valid argument,” he noted.

Indeed she does.

_________

* You read that correctly. At this point, even my ass was ticked off.

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musical interlude

Ah, life with The Kidling. Never do I feel my life is more absurdly charmed than when she composes a little ditty or two. Lucky for me, she wrote not one, nor two, nor even three songs this evening. Oh no, she wrote four beautifully perfect and odd little songs and sang them for me right in the middle of our kitchen. It wasn’t until the final song that I felt justified in sprinting away for a pen, so I only caught one. My apologies for that. You’ll just have to have your own kidling if you want to catch them all.

Without further ado, I present Opus 4:

It’s very nice. To love so many people. And be kind. And generous. And if you have a BFF, that’s good. And it’s wonderful to have so many people who love you.

Correction: who love the shit out of you. And yes, dear one. It must be quite nice.

pizza pairings

“This would be better with beer.” *

-The Kidling

November 17, 2013

_________

* Disclaimer: The Kidling has never, not even once, tasted beer. Coffee, yes… Anyone who allows a high-energy 5 year-old to have a sip of coffee is clearly a glutton for punishment.

the backseat driver on logical consequences

We have a tendency to pack our weekends to the brim with errands.

And by “we” I mean “I.”

And by “errands,” I mean “dragging The Kidling around town to keep me company while I buy shit.”

One recent weekend morning, the Kidling and I were headed out to buy shit run errands. It had been a full morning, and munchkin was tired. I suggested that she close her eyes and get some rest while I drove.

“I’m tired too,” I told her. “I wish I could rest.”

I could hear those little gears turning.* A pause, then,

“But you can’t, otherwise you will create a car accident and probably get a receipt.”

Truer words…

_________

* Not really. Duh.

and the “who’s the adult in this relationship” award goes to…

Sigh. Not The Mama.

_________

The Family had a positively gorgeous Sunday. Late to rise, but quick to embrace the day (once we got our arses out of bed), we cleaned, played, gardened, yoga-ed, and dined to our hearts’ content. One of those days for the record books, really. Well…

Almost.

As the clock ticked toward bedtime, I had to give The Kidling a few straightforward instructions.  Nothing my naïve mind thought worthy of a meltdown, but simple directions such as, ‘one more minute to play, then shower time.’ For those of you not responsible for a young life, this in the functional equivalent of  ‘remember to alternate feet when you walk’ or ‘you have to exhale before you inhale again.’ This clearly fell into the category of basic bossing (because The Kidling interprets any moment not spent playing freely according to her whim as being bossed around).

That’s when The Shit hit The Fan.*

She screamed. I didn’t waiver. She yelled. I remained steadfast.

And that pissed her off.

“I don’t care!” The Kidling screamed with every ounce of anger she could muster.

“Fine then.” I replied coolly, “Then I guess I don’t care, either.”

You can guess how well that went over.

More screaming, more yelling, with a healthy dash of crying and whining. Mix until frothy, then add a dash of hissy fit. 

It came to a head with me icily directing my obstinate child between tasks with wordless finger-pointing. Words are for people, I thought to myself, and this creature is no human being. She told me in no uncertain terms how awful I was. It was getting pretty ugly, when suddenly, The Kidling stopped fighting me. She turned to face me, held her hands up, and began to arrange her fingers.

Oh, shit, I thought. Because I knew exactly what she was doing.

The Kidling was declaring a truce.

Once she had those awkward little fingers figured out, she signed as she said to me, “We care about each other’s feelings.”

So I gave that amazing little child of mine a hug and I raised my white flag.

_________

* I think I just introduced two new characters…

quotes from the loo

Fine, not technically from the loo; rather, from within the loo.

The Kidling: (calling into the living room) Excuse me, Mom?
The Mama: What, Dear?
The Kidling: Can you tell me if this is too much toothpaste?
The Mama: I trust you, Dear.
The Kidling: (incredulously) You do?

Fair question. You know, after this.

pragmatism

The Mama is a closet vanity case. I hate that beauty matters so much but it does. Matter, that is.

While these facts remain true, I don’t talk about such things with The Kidling. Do I exercise regularly? Yes. Do I wear nice clothes? Yes. Do I take the five minutes for make-up? Yes. Do I comb my hair? Occasionally. Do I bathe?

Well… usually.

Ultimately, she sees what she chooses to notice, and I answer her questions candidly as they arise. I never really know what all The Kidling picks up on, but I wholeheartedly believe that if I want her to live an authentic life, then I should perform my identity in the way that comes naturally.

I was grabbing a pair of earrings one recent day when The Kidling informed me she had no interest in piercing her ears. “It’s more about how you feel, and safety, and how you’re scared, than beauty,” she said. She went on, mentioning a friend in her kindergarten class whose ears are pierced. The Kidling told me with great gravity that her friend Blanca is more concerned about beauty before bringing the discussion to a close with the assertion, “I’m for safety.” 

Remember that, wee one. Neither needles, nor heels, nor Spanx are more important than you keeping that tiny body happy.

problematic proverbs

“Smart minds think the same thing.”

– The Kidling
November 7, 2013