We’ve had such moments at home when I deigned to disagree with his course of action (no, you can’t lick the bottom of that shoe or stick your head in the 425 degree oven or have a sip of my super hot tea right-this-minute). Thus far, none at Wal-Mart. Although I have let him eat a piece of bread from the new loaf as I shopped at Rouse’s (more than once) because frankly if I didn’t have so much pride I’d eat my way all the way through the grocery store so I sympathize with being in such close proximity to food and desperate to eat. But, I digress.
My point here is that when you’re BB (Before Baby), you’re real judgy. You say things like “I would never allow my child to do that” when they’re stabbing a cereal bar with chopsticks at Tokyo. And if you’re really deluded you might think something like “but, my child would never do that” when you see them throw a squashed banana across the table at a restaurant. Because you know your kid is genetically superior and will have been lovingly raised and scheduled and fashioned by your hand to be beyond such behavior. And so, you endeavor to have a child knowing and believing that they will be above it all. Beyond the tantrums. And then with great disappointment realize they are a messy little snowflake.
A messy snowflake who loves marinara.
I truly had no such delusions. I believe in children (and in adults) that we must all strike a balance between accepting people (and messy snowflakes) for who they are and, yet, holding people to a certain standard. Children will be children. We guide. We teach. We try. And then try. And then try some more. (And you pray and do rain dances and sacrifice goats. Whatever it takes, man.) It’s part of the gig. And it’s easy to get discouraged when you think you’ve failed. When you’re the one with a kid screaming like they’ve been slapped in the face because you won’t buy an $80 choo choo train (hasn’t happened to us yet, but I’ve heard such stories recently from other boy mommas … our time draws nigh).
When we have these moments I think above all we must remember that this thing with these kids — it’s war, man. And you know what they say about war. It’s a battle by battle thing. It’s day by day. Moment by moment. There is no test at the end. There is only the knowledge that you tried with all of your might. And that this is not the end. I’ll be momma-ing until I’m dead. Something I knew the moment I saw that angry bawling spectacular face sneering at me for having some part in deigning to disturb his cozy home of 40 weeks and two days.
Until I’m dead I know I’ll keep trying to do what’s right. To accept that my snowflake is not even two. And that I’m so far from a patient and perfect mom. And that there’s no right thing to do when your kid is thrashing on the Wal-Mart floor catching hand, foot and mouth or MRSA or polio. I know, I know you take ‘em in the bathroom and teach them a lesson they won’t forget. Or you just leave altogether one mom told me. Well, maybe that momma has time to go home and then come back to the store for her wipes. This girl has not a wipey in the house and 15 minutes to get back home and change into clothes that don’t have hand, foot and mouth germs crawling on them before heading to a photoshoot. The point is — having kids act like kids shouldn’t be a big disappointment. I’m big on not backing down. For me, accepting children for being children isn’t about allowing them to do what they want. It’s about getting over our own pride, opening our eyes and realizing — it’s not about you.
And perhaps that’s greatest lesson of all — it’s not about you. Children should have that stamped on their little bottoms the moment they arrive in this world. Children can be a reflection of their parents. They are also little people. Not play dough. They are spongy and take in everything we do. But, they are tiny humans. And we humans tend to be unique snowflake-like things full of opinions and determined to make our own way. So, if you’re looking for anything less, I suggest you buy a Teddy Rupskin who won’t throw a mashed up banana on the floor at Tokyo.