GAYS MILLLS - It seems, that some how, I was shockingly not born with every piece of knowledge I need about parenting. Comically enough, I also wasn't born with every thing I need to know about life in general as well. Since I was slighted in those departments, I’ve been finding myself learning a little something new every day.
The whole parenting thing has been magnified by the experience of our miniature human doing that whole growth and development thing. I remember when Thatcher was a baby staring at him, flailing around aimlessly, hoping he would grow up soon. Grow up into someone I could talk to, hangout with, and be friends with. Now that he is turning into that person and I am challenged by it, I find myself staring at his brother with those “please stay a slobbery, smelly, smiling potato forever.”
Thatcher is overall an easy toddler. He listens, he responds, his meltdowns are extremely minimal, and when they happen, they’re predictably when he is way overtired. I log onto my social media, and read accounts of other parents with kids of a similar age, that are filled with statements like “At home all day with my kid, please send wine and a hostage negotiator.” I wonder, how much of his easy-going attitude is by design and how much of it is simply who he was born to be? I like to fancy myself a good parent, but, certainly not ambitious enough to have reinvented the parenting wheel.
Recently, I was surveyed by a peer for her college homework about my parenting style. It was an anonymous survey, with the “results not shared with others,” promise. Which killed the nosey reporter inside of me, because I was really curious to learn about the other moms who could have responded.
More so, I’d like to read Chasca’s response, compared to mine. Because, although we seldom bicker, argue, or fight. We do have pretty different parenting styles, which occasionally lead to a short-lived squabble here and there.
Chasca could easily be pinpointed as the fun dad. And this isn’t even limited to our own kids. When in a group of kids and adults, you’ll likely find him with kids hanging on his arms, his back, and his legs. He’ll probably be pretending to be Godzilla. Me, well, my claim to fame is I’m good at the clerical parts of being a parent. You know, the boring stuff like making doctors appointments and figuring out the right dose of Tylenol at 3 a.m. My parenting resume also boasts the ability to get a baby and toddler to sleep at the same time, and read every single book in the house at bedtime, and pondering aloud all of the wonders of the universe with my almost-three-year-old. Rule enforcing however, is where the rubber meets the road between Chasca and I.
I should know, that along with being the fun dad goes, all of the spoils and splendors. I shouldn't be shocked when I walk out of the bathroom at the restaurant and I find Thatcher’s food still untouched, and Chasca flying a spoon like a airplane, loaded up with lemon meringue pie into the toddler’s gaping mouth.
However, for some reason, this weekend I could just not stand to always be the less fun parent. I kind of had my own toddler-esq meltdown, over half of a burger.
One thing they don’t tell you is eating your kids leftovers is a wonderful part of parenting. But when they catch you eating the leftovers they said they didn't want, well that isn’t always so wonderful. So when Thatcher got an eyeful of his old, beloved, fun dad munching away on a tiny child-sized hamburger, formerly belonging to him, he was less than pleased. Quickly, wanting to maintain his image of bringer of all things delicious and wonderful, Chasca said playfully, “It was mama’s idea!” and proceeded to issue the nibble of burger that was left to his boy. This caused me to spiral into a bit of a rant about “always having to be the mean mama stealing cheeseburgers and taking away pie. Turning off the TV and making him pick up toys!”
Without missing a beat, before Chasca could even defend himself from my squawking, from the back seat of the truck, Thatcher began enforcing one of our number one rules. “We don’t talk to each other like thatmama! Do you need a break? You needto be nice Mama-dee,” the toddler emphasized very seriously. “Please be nice, and you be nice too Dah Dah, you both be nice! You’re not using your manners! Please and thank you! You’re gonna get a time out!”
In that moment, I was filled with pride that my little person listens to me, understands me and recognizes the importance of kindness and talking to each other respectfully–I also felt a little embarrassed that I, the rule-enforcing mama, was straight up called out by my toddler.
It wasn’t until later though that Chasca and I were able to apologize to each other for our trespasses. We agreed that going forward we’ll try to take more turns In our parenting roles-make it a even playing field. Once in awhile, I’ll be the one to sneak in big slices of pie and sugary juice, and he’ll be the one to wag his finger. We’ll see how it goes.