Mom Who?

I got LOST last night with Sabrina, Kelly and Kyle. It was fun. For those of you who don't know, I'm a big fan of the TV show, LOST. So is Sabrina, and Kelly is a new member of the club. Even though she's still kind of reluctant. It appears Kyle isn't a fan, as he read a book through the whole show and made little snickers at the cheesy parts. We might still convince him...

Other than that,
earlier today I was standing in the kitchen and Miles walked up and said, "can you come downstairs with me Mom?" I thought, "who is this little person, calling me mom?" Sometimes it's like that. I can't figure out how I came to a point in my life that a whole new person (or two) would be around, calling me mom. Sometimes I'm still shocked by it, even though I'm going on three years of motherhood.
I remember when I first had Miles. I kept wondering when someone was going to come and pick him up. Like I was just babysitting or something. Of course I love him more than the written word can attest, but I still had this feeling like this whole "becoming a parent" thing wasn't reality, or like it had happened too quickly for me to process and prepare for it. I suppose no one ever feels all that "ready" or even adept at it. It's the biggest responsibility in life, but not only that, it's just so surreal. How can little ol' me be doing this? I find myself at a loss so often. Like when Miles is sitting on the floor at Target, screaming that he wants to drink from the water fountain and refusing to stand up. I stand there thinking, "there's got to be a fix for this! Oh no! I look like one of "those" parents with the tantrum kid I can't control!" What should I do? Pick him up, screaming and kicking and make my way to the exit? Stand over him repeating "MILES, MILES, MILES," to no avail? Run away and hide in the bathroom and hope no one calls the police?
This actually happened by the way. Not the police part, but the kicking and screaming part. I have no idea why Miles decided he had to have a fit about the water fountain, since I hadn't said, "NO, you cannot have water!!!" But he had a fit anyway, and calming him was interesting. After the pause where I weighed my options, I picked him up off the disgusting floor and calmly said, "can we just talk about it? I haven't said you can't have water..." And he slowly calmed down, had a sloppy drink from the water fountain, and we went home. It's not always this "easy" of course, but today it was, thank goodness. Even though it wasn't all that crazy of a tantrum scene, it still leads me to think about how parents have such a heavy load. We're only human too, yet we're supposed to remain calm and make the best decision possible so many times a day! It sure is tiring! Of course, not every one of the decisions are earth shattering, but when you care so much about doing this parenting thing well, it sure can feel earth shattering at the time. Because you realize that you have opportunities to set a precedent a hundred times a day. And if you make the "wrong" move, there's a really smart little human being whose going to be on to you from then on.
I sure don't always get it "right." There are times when the thing goes down and I'm left standing there feeling like a complete idiot. Or at the very least, I know fully that I didn't choose the right course of action. I was reading a book about discipline, and it said a bunch of stuff about how you can remain calm and easy-going, confident and positive, and this will inevitably lead to your child mimicking this behavior at all times. It said that you will never have to resort to yelling, time outs, or anything of the like because your kids will emulate you and be well-behaved, good listeners all the time. Hmmmm. I find that a bit terrifying. Sure, for the most part it's true that you set the tone for your kids, but to say you will never have to put them in a time out because of your own perfect behavior is a bit too much pressure for me. And besides that, I have to say I think this line of thinking is largely a bunch of hooey. No offense to the author, I can respect the line of thinking in general terms, but C'MON. To expect that Miles and Asher will never need a time out, or that I would never lose my temper is super-human. Not to mention that developmentally it's perfectly healthy for a toddler to have tantrums for absolutely no reason. It's not fun, but it's normal and actually quite good for that whole "developing your own identity" thing. Even though it's really hard, these boys need to find out what they can get away with, what's not okay, and what is. They need to know that their emotions are perfectly acceptable, but their behaviors are not always perfectly acceptable. If Miles didn't have a fit about water fountains, he may not learn a more productive way to communicate with me. He doesn't have any idea sometimes what he's supposed to do, so he just guesses. And sometimes he finds out really quickly that it wasn't the best idea.
In many ways, these little guys are just small versions of adults. We do the same thing, only on a different scale. As the old "DC Talk" song goes, "I guess I have to learn the hard way, Father. I'm the kind of guy whose got to find out for myself." (Down with the DC Talk...)
As Miles goes through this trying time in life, I have to keep reminding myself of that. Maybe I will run and hide in the bathroom sometimes, but for now we're doing just fine. This is another phase in life that's necessary and good, even though it's disguised as something awful and trying. We'll have lots of good stories, that I know for sure. So in ending, here's one of those stories...
Miles and Cousin Abby were downstairs with Ryan the other night when I had people over. Ryan had to come upstairs because Asher was in bed and had started crying. When he returned, he found that toddler #1 and toddler #2 had opened nearly every board game we own and emptied the contents. They were all mixed up, all over the floor. Nice. So today Katie and I went down to finally clean it up with Miles, who said, "Holy Gosh!!!," like he had no idea what had happened. He kept saying things like "Katie, did you saw this??!?" Little tricker, trying to act all innocent...
Holy Gosh, how do you keep from laughing?

1 clicked right here to comment:

Jessie said...

I've been away for awhile and have enjoyed catching back up on your blog. I love to read your posts. You seem to be such a caring mom, and you are so good at expressing the feelings that come with this. There are so many times I read your blog and think "Oh my gosh, that's exactly what I was thinking!" So, I feel really lucky that you came across my blog and commented.
And I agree that the authors of these books definitely don't know it all. I like to think that I did not set the tone for Owen a couple of months ago when he was facedown on the mall floor, umbrella stroller strapped to his back, kicking and screaming that he wanted a cookie (this situation was even more complicated given that I had the baby strapped to me in a sling). But the stares that everyone gave me are a good reminder to never judge another parent and to never give anybody that stare. And Owen actually learned that this was not the way to get what you want(knock on wood).

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