I honestly thought parenting was going to be easy. Yes, I was one of Those People before I had kids. I couldn’t understand why kids acted out of control or why parents whined that everything was so hard. I mean, I was a mellow kid and all you really have to do is give them limits, love, and food, right? I was sure to have children that were just like me. I listened to authority to the point of being terrified of anyone who looked official and even when I was a rude little snot, I was a quiet, rude little snot.
Every time I remember that mindset I start laughing and laughing. But then I have to force myself to stop because if I keep laughing like this, Brandon will make good on his promise to call the men in the little white coats to come and take me away.
Since having children, I have realized I am completely unprepared for this and have no idea what I am doing. My children are nothing like I was as a child. I didn’t get a personality or opinions until college. (Yeah, I was that kid who played with plastic horses well in to my teens and was so socially awkward, it was painful.) I also have realized there are certain things that I have, thus far, been completely incapable of teaching my kids. For example…
1. Indoor Voices – Now, I get this is hard. I now have a voice that can hit the back of any theatre. I have never, ever had to be mic’d for any of the numerous plays and musicals I have been in. I am a belter, for sure. BUT, I can turn that off. I understand that there are times when I need to be quiet. A funeral, a library, a Republican rally, during a concert… But, my children do not get this, regardless of how many times I remind them. Especially not Aili. I pray she catches the theatre bug because, she will have a really hard time making it in….any field that doesn’t require loud and drama. My favorite is when I whisper, “Indoor voices!” to them and they reply with, “WHAT?” in a voice so loud, it scares the cats in to a frenzy.
2. Where coats go. I installed a cute little coat rack right by the front door. It has 3 little hooks on it and under it there is a bench and personalized baskets for each child. It is never used. Ever. When we walk in the door I start chanting, “Take off your boots, hang up your coats!” The children consider that to be a suggestion that they are free to ignore. I have retrieved coats from the bathroom, the stairs, the dishwasher, the bedrooms, the toy box….It is so rarely on the coat rack that I have had children approach me to tell me they can’t find their coats anywhere when they are literally hanging right by the door where they were supposed to be the whole time.
3. How to use a toilet properly. They are all potty trained, promise! But, they do things in there that horrifies me. If you aren’t on them like white on rice they will fail to wipe, flush, and wash their hands. Let me repeat part of that: They fail to WIPE. Now, without getting too graphic, remember that none of my children are tall enough to sit on the toilet with their feet flat on the floor so, they get off the toilet by sliding off the seat when they are done. Think about that. I have seen things, man. THINGS. Let’s just say I go through a lot of bleach and if someone says my bathroom smells like a pool, I take it as a compliment.
I am hoping they will eventually conform to washing hands without being asked and refraining from storing their coats in the dishwasher through my sheer repetition of words. I am thinking eventually it will work. (It can’t be harder than THAT, right?! I have this feeling that somewhere there is a parent of older children rolling their eyes at me for that one.) But, probably not today because I just noticed Peter’s boots and coat under the Christmas tree like a wet, smelly present.