I’ve been spending a lot of time with Parker over the last few weeks. My classes don’t start until the 23rd and his don’t start until the 25th, so for the month of August, it’s pretty much the mommy and Parker show. We’ve been taking outings to the park and meeting his friends for play dates…
Feeding the crazy geese and ducks at Lake Junaluska.
…but we’ve also been spending a lot of time at home since I’m a hermit. By the way, I’m still waiting for that to be fashionable. The word “hermit” has such a negative connotation, don’t you think?
Anyway, what I noticed over the last couple of weeks is that for the most part, I’m completely superfluous to Parker’s daily activities. In fact, I think that a tape recorder stating the following things could do most of my job as a parent (excluding the cuddling). Here is a list of the top five thing that I say most often.
No need to call CPS, Parker put the tape over his own mouth…although I won’t say that I wasn’t tempted.
1. Please stop harassing the dogs. In the absence of siblings, Parker uses the dogs to play chase, balance Frisbees on their heads, cuddle, play hide and seek (I found Chewie in the hall closet once)… You get the point. I probably say some variation of “please stop harassing the dogs” at least 26 times a day.
2. Did you wash your hands? Let’s just go ahead and put this one on repeat, shall we? Parker is a normal little boy and by that, I mean that if there’s something disgusting within his reach, he’s bound to touch it. His bathroom is set up with a step stool in front of the sink, soap within reach and a towel hung low to dry his hands.
3. Is that how you ask for something politely? I am a big proponent of manners in children. I feel like if they don’t learn it before they leave for school, they’re bound to act like Neanderthals for the rest of their lives. So if Parker says, “Give me some milk.” I ask him to rephrase it until he asks politely. “Can you please give me some milk? Thank you.”
4. Yuck! Don’t put that in your mouth! I again refer to normal boy behavior, which is that if you can’t tell what something is by looking at it, perhaps giving it a taste might help. I cannot tell you how incredibly repulsed I am by most of the things that Parker tries (or succeeds) in putting in his mouth. The great irony here is that this is a child who refuses to taste foods that “look funny.” Boggles the mind.
5. I’m sorry. Yup, I say this one a lot. I think it’s important to model behavior, so when I screw up (which is a lot), I apologize for it. As a serious introvert, it’s sometimes hard for me to keep the exasperation out of my voice when I ask Parker to do something for the 15th time. It’s also hard for me to deal with having the munchkin in my personal space for 8 hours straight. The funny thing about the personal space issue is that when they sense that you’ve about hit your limit for having them in your face, lap, hair, they ramp up the closeness because they can sense that you’re about to pull away. So, I put myself in timeout when I sense my patience growing thin.
So, if I had to boil it down, I would say that parenting is two parts love, one part exasperation and one part regret (for the exasperation). Good thing that the love makes up for it, huh?