Do as I Say, Not as I Do
I made those pre-kid sweeping statements. You know the ones:
"I will never say that to my kid." "I will never do THAT as a mom." And my favorite judgment-filled declaration, "I will never do what THAT PARENT did!"
After being the mom of three boys for a few years, my Department of Sweeping Statements has not only permanently CLOSED, but issued formal apologies for all previous actions.
When I was pregnant with my first baby 10 years ago, I read every parenting book ever written. I am very thorough. I don't remember exactly which one it was, but I think it was in the “Baby Whisperer.” The quote is lost on me, but it said something to the point that you need to START as you plan to PROCEED.
The technique was really successful. I used this technique for everything: naps, bedtime, sitting at mealtime, snacks only in the kitchen, etc. I found when I started something the way I wanted it to go, the kids were too young in the beginning to argue and then I theorized that when they reach debating age, it has always been done that way so it doesn't occur to them it could be another way.
I was a very smart parent.
Things were going really well.
I should write a parenting book.
And then my kids got older.
As the kids got older, they got smarter.
Then I noticed they were using their newly acquired intelligence AGAINST me.
This masterful manipulation surfaced first at breakfast.
It started out innocent enough. Breakfast seemed to be the time that I had the most time. Breakfast seemed to be the time I could break a few rules. Breakfast became the time the kids could choose what they wanted to eat.
Breakfast started spiraling out of control.
Breakfast is now a crazy train and I want off.
Let’s examine closely Fig. A:
Our subject is a 2 y/o who woke mommy up at 6 am. saying, “EAT!”. His patient mother held off that demand for 30 minutes because it is SATURDAY. At 6:31 am the subject ate 1 1/2 bowls of instant oatmeal and 1/2 cup of soymilk. He then yelled, “DONE!”
Approximately 23 minutes later he returns to the kitchen, pulls the Quaker oat box out of the pantry and demands “OATMEAL”. His patient and attractive mother quietly explains how he already had oatmeal. “THIS OATMEAL!” he screams. His patient, attractive and loving mother thinks to herself, “well at least he is screaming for something healthy…I guess I can’t turn that down”.
7 minutes later the oatmeal is made. The oatmeal is portioned and set in front of subject. Subject screams, “FRIDGE! HOT!” His patient, attractive, loving and helpful mother delivers the child size oatmeal portion to the freezer to cool down.
Subject continues to be a royal pain in the butt while the oatmeal is in the fridge. His patient, attractive, loving, helpful and opportunistic mother then grabs the camera to take the picture of this tyranny.
His patient, attractive, loving, helpful, opportunistic and harried mother takes the child size oatmeal portion out of the freezer and gives it back to the subject. The subject takes 5 bites and yells, “TOAST!”
Ya, the freaking crazy mother made the toast.
Fig. A is only the beginning. There is more...much, much, much more. I have clearly demonstrated that any parenting book I might author would be entitled:
Do as I Say, Not as I Do.
Holly is very careful not to dole out parenting advice as a mommy blogger who writes June Cleaver Nirvana. She does continue to give constant advice to her three boys who seem to have severe issues of personal space.
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