Well, hello, Miss Know-it-all

I’ve come to the conclusion that- after 11 years and 3 kids- I know absolutely NOTHING about parenting.

I console myself about this sad, pathetic little fact with the knowledge- yes, KNOWLEDGE, as in, I KNOW- that no one else really knows anything either.

Sure, some people will have claimed to finally have “figured it out”- that they cracked the code at last on how to deal with Baby Betsy or Little Johnny in any given situation, but- well, lean in close, will ya?

Closer.

That’s close enough-

Kids are smarter. They know how to change up their game! They’re continually holding onto that wild card with their grubby little hands. They hide their Ace so far up their sleeve that you couldn’t find it even if you shook out their shirt; and then, they’ll pull it out when you’re at your wits end- when your spirit has been crushed and your will has been broken- as a final nail in the coffin of your parental control.

What it comes down to is that kids ALWAYS have a game plan and its this: practice multiple plays, never use the same play twice, show no mercy and always wear your game face.

Maybe the old bribery trick worked last time. You were able to get through the shopping trip with no issues and all you spent (besides money for groceries) was the cost of a Snickers. You might be patting yourself on the back- $1 is well worth your sanity.

Next time, you won’t be so lucky. Next time, Little Johnny will have you screaming,”Fine! You can have the remote control car! I’ll even throw in rechargeable batteries! Just PLEASE stop whining for ONE minute!”

Maybe blackmail is more your thing. Its an admirable route, to be sure:”Be good or no sweets after dinner.” The problem is, you can only use that threat once. After that you have to get creative, and if kids know one thing, its that if they exasperate you enough, you’ll break down and start bribing them instead.(see above)

Or, maybe you’re the more MATURE parent. You’re reading this and you’re thinking,”I just put my foot down. No means no. My way or the highway. No ands, if or buts.” To that, I stand in awe of your parental utopia…

Also known as ‘Never, Never(gonna happen)Land’.

Nope. Just when you think you have it all figured out…

…you have kids.

Then you realize,”I know nothing.”

I’ve got my kid on a string…

In 2 days, my oldest will no longer be in elementary school.

*shudder*

For some reason, some twit thought it would be funny to have Jr. High start (in our district) in 6th grade.

As if kids don’t grow up fast enough, let’s throw an 11 year old into Jr. High.  I know its just a label, but I look at it this way: in elementary school, they’re learning the basics to proceed.  In Jr. High, they’re getting them ready for high school and higher education.

My son thinks its hilarious to listen to someone spell ‘icup’- you’re telling me HE is ready to be prepped for higher learning??

I’m already having a hard time explaining to him that he’s too young for girlfriends- whats going to happen when he’s trying to fit in with older kids at this new school?  Everyone worries about their daughters and them growing up too fast; no one stops to think about how fast boys grow up. A girl can only carry so many babies at once- boys can impregnate multiple girls.

I try to remind myself that all we’ve taught them will stick and they’ll emerge unscathed, but I’ve tried repeatedly to teach them that poop jokes aren’t to be told at the dinner table, and all I ever hear is “I forgot.”  How much of what we teach will stick in the times we need it to?  How much of what we teach will be “forgotten” when faced with the opportunity to be “cool”?

As a parent, we want our kids to grow wings- to grow up, experience new things, and -God willing- move out before our sanity completely dissolves.  Its just kind of scary to watch it happen.

I’m not suggesting lead shoes to keep him grounded… maybe just a kite string for if he flies to far out of reach, ya know?

My baby’s better than YOUR baby….

Where 2 or more babies are gathered, there, comparisons will be in the midst of them.”

Its not a Bible quote, but maybe it should be.

I have 3 kids- I’m a pro, if you will- and even I have found myself doing the comparison dance from time to time.  Its interesting to note, by the way, that boxing has also been compared to a dance.

Coincidence?  I think not.

You can find this dance occurring anywhere moms are found- parks, grocery stores, even the library:

The dance begins:

“Your baby is SO cute- how old is he?”
“5 months.”
“Mine too!”
“Aw, she’s gorgeous.”
“Thanks.  What a cutie- he’s so big!  Is he crawling yet?”
“No- yours?”
“Just yesterday.  Its like she’s been saving her energy, though, because she crawled across the entire kitchen floor first time out!”
“That’s incredible!  You’re going to have your hands full with her.”
“I know!”
“I’m a little thankful that mine is still a sweet lump- we haven’t had to really baby proof.  Now if only he’d stay a sweet SILENT lump- he just said ‘Mama’ yesterday.  He’ll be talking up a storm in no time.”
“They grow up so fast, don’t they?  Mine was reaching out toward the ‘Modern Science’ magazine in the bookstore earlier.  My husband and I are already deciding which Ivy League to send her to.  I guess we’ll just wait a month til she can tell us her choice.”
“That’s really impressive.  You must be proud.  I don’t think there’s an Ivy League in our little guy’s future, though,”
…Wait for it…
“all he wants to do is read cookbooks, so we’re looking into early enrollment for the Culinary Institute of America instead of kindergarten.  A parent should always encourage their child’s strengths and he makes the BEST bolognese- just think what training could do!”
Every time a mom asks another mom her baby’s age, the first step in the dance is taken.  Even if each others babies are no where near in age, its a crucial step in determining how their own baby is doing; however, no mom wants anyone to look at their baby as the weakest link, so they throw out their own baby’s recent milestone… and if necessary, they embellish:
“Little Johnny just took his first steps!  How ’bout yours?”
“Oh, mine is content to keep his seat on Terra Firma… chewing on books… well, reading books… A book, actually- he’s reading ‘Hamlet’.”
Its not our fault.  Like the bell that starts the boxing match or that first note of a tango, asking a baby’s age will always be perceived as:
“Betcha my baby is better than yours.”
“Nuh uh.”
“Uh huh.”
Soooo…. how old is YOUR baby?