Parenting has had a funny way of revealing the external realities of my behavior and likes to continually deliver it to my awareness brutally, honestly, and, most likely, pronounced incorrectly. For instance, before my son turned 2, I had little to no awareness at the frequency or the intensity with which I reacted to a mistake, mishap or mess by use of the exclamation “Damn It!” While I might have to spend a good amount of time with Pavlov’s Dog in a cage of my own before I officially break my reactionary bad habit, at least I’m aware? I’m sorry to James, Josie, Rita, and their future and current teachers, friends, and parents of friends for their frequent use of a word they really should not know, and my inability to break my bad habit and theirs. On a number of occasions, under the maternal wisdom of my big sister, mother to 6 non-swearing boys, my attempts to curtail its usage and convince my kids that what I actually say is “Slam it!” a phrase that just rhymes with the nonsensical “damn it!” has also proved fruitless. Please note that it has been successful in turning “moron” into “linora” (magic, i guess?) and Sh*t into “I quit!” Most of the conversations involving a much more frequently used ‘damn it’ have ended much more dismally for me with a convinced and confident James explaining, “no mom, it is definitely ‘Damn it.’ YOU taught us it.”
During today’s late afternoon, pre dinner hour of desperation appropriately coined “The 4′ O’clock Meltdown,” for all family members, especially Mom, my children began to play house as the parents with their invisible children. I learned a few new things:
1) Though it often feels like my children do not give a “damn it!” as to whether or not they flee the table before they finish their “wreckfist, wunch, or dinner,” bringing to the forefront of my psyche a sense of inferior disciplinary skills and presence, they do in fact experience a very strict tone, inflection, and the sound seems to come mostly from the throat.
2) As the title of the post indicates, I often lose them. And most often, they are found in the bathtub.
3) 10 minutes into their role play, the children received a visit from their grandmother. She brought presents and James and Josie, the parents, had absolutely no control over their contents or whether or not they could have them. Even after a stern warning from Dad, “eat your dinner first, kids” the apparent disobeying left him rolling his eyes in powerlessness and “I guess this is what’s happening.” Kids: this is your mother speaking. Your awareness is duly noted even though I can do nothing about it.
4) I ask the question, “were you playing in my make up again,” much more than I realized.
5) I think, as indicated by what appeared to be lots of refused hugging kissing and back pats from the invisibles, that maybe they find me a bit too affectionate.
6) They want a dog.
7) I have successfully communicated a love and enthusiasm for grocery shopping and bringing them along with me despite my true feelings.
Additionally, when I interrupted their play with “how many children do you have?” both of the capable of semi-coherent verbalization said “7.”
No, Kids, there are 3 of you. 7 is just what it feels like. Looks like I taught them that too.