By Guest Blogger Stacy Leighton
“Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to have a market on the supply. ‘Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?’ ‘Don’t you want to save some of the pizza for your brother?’ ‘Wasn’t there any change?’ ” ~ Erma Bombeck
Welcome to parenthood, where everything you say sounded better in your head. This is where usually intelligent adults, with flawless logic, can still be bested by a three-year-old. Parenthood is a lot of things—one of them is “humbling.”
My daughter was three when I first realized this truth. After three long years, Samantha’s hair was finally long enough to play with, and all one length! She was my very own living Barbie doll. That day she was playing quietly in her room. Too quietly, so I peeked in. Imagine my horror when I saw my cherub had cut her own hair. Now sporting bangs that closely resembled a hedgehog, I asked her, “Why did you cut your hair?” (First Mistake) Samantha, ever logical even then, replied, “It was in my eyes.” Touché!
Then it was at my son’s fourth birthday party. A friend suggested musical chairs. In the end, it was down to one chair and two children, Chase and my son, Tucker. Tucker was in the chair when the music stopped. Chase calmly shoved him to the floor and assumed the seated position before anyone had time to blink. His mother was appalled and embarrassed; she said calmly, “Chase honey, we do not shove our friends.” To which he replied, “He is not my friend.” Annnd that’s Check Mate.
Sometimes our well-meant queries or admonishments leave us shaking our own heads. Ever said something and thought, I can’t believe I said that, and then looked to see if anyone else had heard it? You’re not alone. There has never been a parent who didn’t ask a “dumb” question or scold the wrong child. We say things we never imagined saying. Here are a few of the gems I have either said or overheard:
“We need to wear pants in public.”
“We do not eat gum found on our shoe.”
“If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?” (How many children are now, for the first time, imagining how fun it would be to jump off a bridge?)
“Your sister is not for sale.”
“You cannot say “sh—. Nice people don’t say “sh—.” “sh— is not a nice word.” Way to reinforce it.
“Poop is not paint.”
“I know I said, you should practice your handwriting, but not on the wall.””
“Boogers are not food”
“I don’t really care if your blanky farted. Please, PLEASE go back to bed.”
“Just because you found it and it’s alive does not mean it’s our pet”
“Dog food is not people food.”
“We don’t spit! Now spit it out.”
Sometimes it’s about asking the right question. My father would ask teenage me, “When will you be home?” Simple, right? My usual reply consisted of all that I was going to do, with whom and where. “Well, after I pick up Lori, and we get gas, we are going to Joel’s house and then to…” He would hold up his hand and ask, “What are you going to do, with whom and where?” To which I would reply, “Midnight”
So, the next time your fool-proof parent logic is bested by someone under four feet tall, remember this:
“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” ~ Erma Bombeck
Thanks to Forsyth Family magazine for allowing us to run this article on TMoM today. You can find this article – and other great parenting articles – in their current issue on stands now. Enjoy!