What’s mortifying to some parents is hilarious to others.
That’s one of the things I have learned over the first, four-plus years of this parenting adventure.
With time and experience comes a greater perspective of all things, and that’s significant when it comes to parenting in particular in my opinion.
That’s why grandparents and parents of older kids are not as bothered by screaming babies or toddlers at a restaurant, for example. That’s why they don’t seem as appalled as the parents of the kids acting up a bit here and there. Their kids are older and have moved out of the nest and they can enjoy these moments because it brings back fond memories of raising their own children. Plus, they can think these fond thoughts because they are not solely responsible for those they are observing.
On the other hand, there are the parents like me who get highly disturbed by acts of disobedience and misbehavior.
Since I am still very much in the early raising process, as my sons are just 4 and 3 years old, there are some bumps along the way, and I tend to show my displeasure at times when they are not being nice or are being disrespectful to me, their mother or others.
I got to thinking about this discrepancy the other day after having a nice exchange with an older lady, who recently became a great grandmother.
I was in the midst of a teaching moment, or at least I hoped it was that.
I had both kids in the grocery store with me. Carson, 3, was securely tucked in the shopping cart, while Beckett, 4, was getting in and out of the police car that was affixed to the front of the cart. He likes to think he’s helping so I give him little chores to do throughout the store, such as grabbing this or that from a nearby shelf.
At one point, I was sternly addressing Beckett, who wanted desperately to throw a glass jar of pickles into the grocery cart. When I advised him not to because it might break and make a mess, he said, “but daddy, then you can just clean it up for us.” After literally having to wrestle the jar away from him before he threw it, he took off down the aisle in a tizzy toward the frozen foods.
I worried what he would do along the way, but I couldn’t chase after him because his little brother, Carson, was in the shopping cart with arms swinging away at the items poking out into the aisle. He had earlier already taken out one end cap of Ritz crackers.
As I rushed past this nice lady, she smiled and laughed in a way that seemed to be saying, “been there, done that”. She was obviously enjoying the frantic scene and was perfectly willing to just observe. When I saw her later, thankfully with both boys settled, she told me how she had five boys in eight years.
When I said half-jokingly, “Oh God blessed you”, she responded, “yes he did, yes he did.”
That was a nice heaping dose of perspective for that moment.
I was forwarded something worth sharing this week that struck home to me.
Jason Good is a writer and comedian and on his website jasongood.net he often muses about parenting.
In a column he titled, “46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out,” he takes a stab at why his kid might be annoyed by something.
Many of these are particularly true around my house and apply to both my 3- and 4-year-olds. It’s particularly applicable to Carson since he’s not talking yet, and we often have to guess if something is bothering him.
Good came up with a great list and here it is.
His sock is on wrong.
His lip tastes salty.
His shirt has a tag on it.
The car seat is weird.
He’s hungry, but can’t remember the word “hungry.”
Someone touched his knee.
He’s not allowed in the oven.
I picked out the wrong pants.
His brother looked at him.
His brother didn’t look at him.
His hair is heavy.
We don’t understand what he said.
He doesn’t want to get out of the car.
He wants to get out of the car by himself.
The iPad has a password.
His sleeve is touching his thumb.
He doesn’t understand how popsicles are made.
The inside of his nose stinks.
Chicken is gross.
A balloon he got six months ago is missing.
A puzzle piece won’t fit in upside down.
I gave him the wrong blue crayon.
The gummi vitamin is too firm.
Netflix is slow.
He jumped off the sofa and we weren’t watching.
He’s not allowed to touch fire.
Everything is wrong with his coat.
There’s a dog within a 70 mile radius.
A shoe should fit either foot.
I asked him a question.
His brother is talking.
He can’t lift a pumpkin.
He can’t have my keys.
The cat is in his way.
The cat won’t let him touch its eyeball.
The inside of his cheek feels rough.
Things take too long to cook.
He has too much food in his mouth.
He doesn’t know how to type.
The DustBuster is going to eat him.
His mom is taking a shower.
Someone knocked over his tower.
He got powdered sugar on his pants.
The yogurt won’t stay on his spoon.
EVERYTHING IS TOO HOT.