First, a hearty congratulations!!!
For those of you who hadn’t heard, JJ Debenedictis has a new agent!!!! Go drop by her blog when you get time and help her celebrate.
And, on with the post:
My kids are strange... Lately I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of different things about parenthood and motherhood and it got me to thinking about my own mode of parenting. It’s funny how it evolves. It’s funny how on top of things I thought I would be when I first became a mom, the things I never thought I’d do, the kind of parent I thought I’d become... you know, as opposed to the parent I actually am... What happened to my once lofty goals? Well, I had kids. They don’t actually conform to what you think they’ll be – they have a need to be their own person, which means switching up the way you raise them because what works for one will not work with all... Ah, if new parents only realized that.
When I was a new mom my television set was almost never on. I watched a few shows here and there, but mostly I watched baseball and my husband watched football and I thought, jeesh, those people who plop their kids down in front of the TV and use it as a babysitter are just terrible.
Yeah... my TV’s on all the flippin time these days. Oh, yes, I shut it off and we play games or do school work. But my kids watch way more TV than I ever thought I’d allow, and my youngest has watched TV since infancy, because I already had three and you’ll take any break you can get at that point!
When I was a new mom, I stood aghast that anyone would allow their kids sugar all the time. No pop for my kids. Candy would be a rarity, and only as a treat after a good, healthy dinner.
Ha! I still don’t let them drink pop, my two youngest don’t even want it... but the ten year old, well, she’s had it at friends’ houses and she likes it... really likes it, asks for it all the time. We’ve settled on her having one (sprite or sierra mist with no caffeine) occasionally with dinner – not every night, I’d say once every two weeks or so, and on those nights she foregoes dessert... but no sugar... please, my cookie jar is a candy treasure trove and they average at least one sweet a day, sometimes far far more... though they still have to finish their regular meals first, I’ll cave on the veggies way more than I should....
Those aren’t the only differences between what I thought and the reality of raising three kids. I thought that if you raise them well, they become good people... Lots of little discipline things, but I found that each kid comes with their own sensibilities, so what works on oldest would be detrimental to my middle guy. Oldest is a hard head. She’s ridiculously bright, but lazy. So being strict with her is what works. If I didn’t set hard and fast rules, she wouldn’t care what grade she came home with or how many rats her bedroom drew... she’s just that way. She’s independent; too, so you have to check up on her, because she won’t tell you she needs help she’ll just try to wing it.
My second is a sweetheart. He gets very nervous about doing things wrong and needs a lot of encouragement and a bit of hand holding in new situations until he hits his comfort level. I’m far less strict with him because he wouldn’t do well with it, and he doesn’t need it. He never has to be asked twice and often will tell me he wants to do his homework, clean his room, go to bed, etc.
Really all of this is to say that they will surprise you and often teach you a hell of a lot more than you teach them. My daughter, while she drives me nuts with her procrastination, is a constant source of amazement for me. She’s ten, just the age where you really start to worry. Sitting at the kitchen table after dinner the other day, she informs me that she wants to be a medical examiner when she grows up... Oooo-kay. I figured she didn’t know what one was. But she did. She wants to examine the bodies and tell the police how they were killed and help them find the bad guys... That’s her take on it, which is pretty good for a ten year old, though a little scary (But I bet Josie would love her). I figured, heck, it’s better than wanting to be a trampy pop star or something.
Anyway, we had this whole conversation about what kind of education she’d need and how she could work toward a career like that – seriously, I was just happy she was so intent. I figured telling her she’d have to get a medical degree would have kyboshed the whole thing... nope, but my figures for future tuition just went up dramatically. In my surreal state of not really fathoming how my ten year old daughter arrived at this career choice we exchanged the following dialogue:
Me: You really want to play with dead bodies? (I’m occasionally flippant)
Her: I’m not taking them out to tango or anything.
Me: (doubled over laughing, cause I thought that was pretty good for a 10 year old)
Her: Though, I wouldn’t have a problem getting to lead.
Okay, seriously, love that she has such interesting career goals, but I’m really thinking comedian... she just doesn’t know it yet.