Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Public Exhibition

When I was at the grocery store, or a movie, or in a restaurant before I had a child, I was the perfect parent. I'd never let my kid throw a temper tantrum like that in the middle of the bread aisle. I'd never let my child run all over the restaurant (I still would never do this, but that's because someone could snatch him and be out the door in 5 seconds).

Once you actually have to deal with a real, live, toddler, though, all those "I'd never"'s go right out the window. Because you really have no choice. You're dealing with a completely separate human being, with his own likes, dislikes, moods, etc. You have to try to make things work for a little person who doesn't always know why he's upset about something, just that he's upset!

So I'm getting used to the idea of being OK being "that" mom. I see "that" mom now and want to tell her I get it now, and I'm sorry I judged her in the past. I had no idea what she was up against, and we're all "that" mom at some points. And how you deal with your kid acting up is totally your business, nobody else's.

Just like how I deal with mine is my business. I've learned that letting my child just do something after I've told him not to repeatedly only leads to more of doing what I don't want him to do. So if I have to hold him on my lap and let him cry until he's settled down, then if you happen to be in earshot, just know that I'm doing my best to teach my child that he needs to have control of himself, then we'll talk about what he did/didn't do, and he'll stop crying.

I have 22 months of experience with this child, and you have 5 minutes of observation, so quite frankly, Scarlet...

My child now says, "Thank you very much", and "Please" when he wants something, so I'm doing something right with him. And so is his very patient Daddy (who gets all the credit for the "very much"). We're trying to teach our child to be careful, but not scared of things that are new. To ask for help when you need it, but do the things you know how to do yourself, and to keep trying to do those things you've needed help with in the past.

I find it hard to believe that (if you're the one criticizing my parenting) you've raised perfect children by putting them down when they cried and letting them run wild in waiting rooms. Yes, it's cute now at almost 2, but at 4 it will just be annoying, to me and everyone else in the room. So why on earth would I want to make things harder for myself in public later, by taking what seems like the easy way out now?

I am doing my job of teaching my child what behavior is acceptable and what is not. Yes, it's not always a glamorous job, and I have to be the bad guy, the mean mommy, sometimes, but I still get the running hugs, and a kiss goodnight, so I know I'm doing something right.

And anyone who doesn't think so can just kiss my ...