In which I realize that all the time I spent during my pre-teen years reading The Babysitters’ Club books resulted in my learning squat in terms of practical childrearing advice…
I don’t have any kids. Very few of my friends or close family members have young children. However, over the past two weeks I had a chance to hang out with some kids and I found that I’m a little lacking in the parenting skill department. Take these two examples:
- I was in the kitchen with my 3.5 year old cousin and he wanted to draw on this notepad sitting on the kitchen table. So he picked up the notepad and a pen and began to draw. However, the notepad contained some important information that he probably should not be writing on. So I quickly jumped in and instead of telling him “NO, STOP IT!” I offer him another solution: “Hey, how about drawing on this other page in the notepad? This one is blank and there will be plenty of room for your art.” Smooth sailing. I was a little proud that I didn’t yell and he still got to draw. Win-win. My game theory professor would have been so proud.
My pride lasted about three seconds because I looked over only to see him drawing one little scribble on every page on the notebook. So I reach over to the notebook and flip back to the original drawing page and say, “Hey, why don’t you continue drawing on this picture, it’s so pretty?” To which he replies, “No,” and starts flipping the pages back. So I say, “But you don’t want to write on every page. Then you’ll use all the paper and you won’t have any more to draw on.” Still scribbling.
So I finally get a little exasperated and say, “Look, that isn’t very environmentally friendly. Haven’t you read The Lorax?”
At which point he just stared at me like I was crazy.
- Last week I went to lunch with a good friend and her 1.5 year old daughter. Lunch was really fun and the baby was such a treat -- naming colors and numbers. She’s wicked smart like her mom.
However, when it was time to go, the baby was having none of it. She started crying and screaming and did not want to put on her coat. The two needed to run to Wal-Mart before they went home. So as my friend struggled to get the baby's coat on, I tried to convince her not to cry. This is how it went down:
Me: It’s okay. You’re going to Wal-Mart. It’s going to be so fun.
My Friend: Not really. Wal-Mart sucks.
Me [in a happy voice to baby]: Oh, don’t listen to Mommy, you’ll have a lot of fun.…pausing…thinking of fun things about Wal-Mart...You’ll get to ride in the cart! And… um……really struggling now…You’ll get to watch them exploit workers! Can you say “union?” I bet if you screamed that really loudly in the store it would be fun.
See what I’m saying about the lack of parenting skills here? I might as well have read Sweet Valley High.