Benefits of Raising a Prissy-Pants

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It seems I talk funny, and it’s rubbing off on my kid.  It is good proof that instructing by example actually works.  Mind you, the Bear is not always unfailingly polite because, after all, he is four.  And a boy.  But NOTHING is more adorable to potential babysitters than hearing him pipe up with “Excuse me ladies, I’ll be back in a moment.”  They melt, I tell you.  They practically beg to pay ME for the honor of watching him.  I’m so very glad he has learned to put his best foot forward when company is around.  There will be time for these babysitters to become acquainted with….well, let’s call them his more “challenging” behaviors.  But by golly that first impression makes a difference.

Lest some of you protest I am raising a child who is vulnerable to getting beaten up for his Victorian speech patterns, we do mix it up.  Somehow the combination of prissy talk with scatology is uniquely hilarious at this age.  I am not above, at bath-time lets say, stage-whispering: “Pardon me, Mr. Froggie, but I could not help but notice you have pooped in our tub. I do not mean to embarrass you, but I do ask that you make use of the potty we have provided.  Our other guests would appreciate it.”

He’ll have plenty of models of other communication styles, but from mommy he will continue to learn to talk like a prissy-pants. I’m not being disingenuous for the sake of promoting manners, either.  I just happen to talk funny.

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The Downside of Recaptured Youth

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So, who knew that “cool chestnut” was just code for “purple”?

 

(What’s that?  You say the 1996 version of myself knew?  Well, why the hell didn’t she speak up this morning?)

 

That is all.

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Parenting Advice from Madame Curie

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“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

This one seemed a particularly nice follow up to the previous post about struggling with life-in-general.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Four

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We had a meltdown yesterday.   It came after a slew of birthday festivities, both for himself and for various classmates, and hosting house guests, and then more house guests, and a doctor’s visit, and. and. and. and.   All of these things (well, almost all of them) he actively embraced and enjoyed, but even fun things can get to be too much.  This fact is true even for grown-ups, but we are not as good at knowing when it is happening to us.  Getting dramatic reminders of what the human condition is really all about is one of the most profound parts of parenting, if we pay attention and learn to read the messages.

This particular meltdown might have looked to some people like a reaction to spilling something on his shirt before preschool.  My guy began by calmly announcing that he needed help getting a fresh shirt.  And then the lip started to quiver.  Then too, too many grown ups rushed to tell him that it was okay.  The dam broke. He tried to explain: “It’s my favorite shirt.”  Not actually true — but intended to underscore that this was not to be taken lightly.  More grownups doing what grownups do, which is to offer solutions — “We’ll wash it and you can wear it tomorrow.” “What about your XYZ shirt that you love?” and. and. and. and.  Oh, and we could not find the object he wished to bring for show and tell.  Therefore, according to my tiny Bear, “we must have donated it.” Not actually true, and we did find the object.  But we had recently donated many of his beloved clothes (because, in my defense, he was getting that street urchin look from holey pants that are three inches too short). So replying that Of Course we would not have donated this toy really missed the point.  My barely four year old Bear began to hit me, with real intention.  I said I couldn’t let him hit me, and I would have to move into the other room.  He begged me to stay but also continued to hit.   I chose to stay and to hold his arms still and let him scream his head off for a few minutes (or was it hours?) with the occasional kiss and move to hug him, of which many but not all were rejected, until the storm finally passed.

These were very important tears.  They were tears over loved ones coming and going, over getting a shot not just in one leg but in BOTH at the doctor’s visit, over losing his possessions even if he had agreed to give them up, over the burden of needing to be dressed and packed for school and to remember that it was show and tell day and to choose a lunch, and. and. and. and.

Being four is terrific but it is also no picnic.  Just like being forty-two.

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Oh, Wow — I Really AM “That” Mom

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We got the little envelopes today.  The ones that seal the fate of our small people.  My son will not be a Raccoon* next year.  He will be a Possum*.   Mind you, my dear son never indicated that he particularly wanted to be a Raccoon.  In fact, he seemed to assume he’d be a Possum — it’s a bigger class in a bigger room, with some older siblings of friends, and he’s more aware of it.   But mommy was hoping he would be a Raccoon.  Mommy fell for the Raccoon teacher.  She fell for the Raccoon mascot.  She fell for all the grown-up seeming activities in this calm, small classroom where they write in their journals over morning snack.

I’m thoroughly aware that being a Possum versus a Raccoon at age four will not matter in the slightest when these kids are twenty (or even when they’re 6, probably).   When all the mommy’s got together and chit-chatted about what they put down as first choice for their darlings, I talked egalitarianly about the pros and cons of each choice and said things like “In the end, we put down Raccoon, but we’ll be thrilled either way — the Possum room looks fantastic.”  I actually believed I was speaking the truth and was rather alarmed when I felt my stomach drop a little this morning upon opening that fateful envelope.  My son is a Possum.

I am definitely not going to be the mom that demands an explanation and tries to bribe her way into a spot in the Magic that is the Raccoon room.  I can see my own silliness for what it is.  Self-awareness doesn’t change the feeling of disappointment though.  Thanks for letting me reveal my ugly Diva side.

Daisy

*Silly classroom name-designations changed to protect identities.

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