...because we all have our motley moments!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My child will NEVER do that...

Do you have a list? You know, the list of all of the things you've seen other people's kids do that you vow your kids will never do. I have a list, although, I must say that it has gotten much shorter now that I actually do have a kid and I've realized that I don't have quite as much control as I thought I would. I have also had to modify a few things. For instance, let's take an easy one. Instead of, "My child will NOT do drugs," my list now says, "I will not condone the usage of drugs nor will I make it easy for my child to do them."

This week I was reminded of one of the things on my list. Our son sat down at the dinner table to a sandwich my husband had picked up at Subway, and as he was pretty tired anyway, he began to wail because the sandwich had lettuce on it. Now, he actually does like lettuce most of the time, but for some reason he was quite offended by the green stuff that evening. I didn't really notice why the lettuce was so horrible, however, because instantly I was transported back in time to my college days...

I worked as a server in a pretty nice restaurant during college to make ends meet. I have some great memories of those days, but I also added several items to my "list" as I served many families with small children who weren't always so well behaved. One day in particular, a woman came into the restaurant with four or five children--probably her own plus a few friends. Looking back, I can remember her pretty clearly. She seemed tired and stressed, and really, who wouldn't be as the chaperone of that many children without a little help? At the time, though, I was a teenager and I didn't have my Mommy-Vision just yet...

I took the table's order, and one of the little boys (who also looked pretty tired) ordered a cheeseburger WITHOUT mustard. Okay, whatever. I placed the order with the kitchen and noted that there was to be NO MUSTARD on the burger...alas, that was not to be. I took the food to the table of hungry kids and their strung-out grown-up, and I asked if there was anything else I could get for them. Suddenly a wail erupted from the cheeseburger boy. The wail became a screaming fit. We were in serious tantrum territory, and the mother turned to me and said angrily, "I TOLD you NO MUSTARD!"

Conditions deteriorated from there. Apparently simply scraping it off was not an option--there would still be mustard residue and the child hated it that much. She was angry, he was beside himself, and I was shocked. The mother asked to see a manager, and she complained about me. She must have been pretty convincing, because I was given a talking-to later that day over the mustard incident. Who was at fault here? I don't really care. All I know is that the one thing I really learned that day was that I wanted no part of being a mother who would allow a temper tantrum over a condiment.

Flash-forward to the present, our table is set, and our son is staring in dismay at his lettuce. My well-meaning husband reaches over to help, and says, "Here, do you want me to take it off?" Snapping into reality I said, probably with a little too much force, "NO!" I pointed at my two-year-old, "YOU deal with it!" There was a little stunned silence (which did stop the tantrum, by the way), and then I explained myself. All parties understood, and we showed the little guy how to "fix" his sandwich so that he could eat it. Dinner continued, and disaster was averted...this time.

Since then our little darling has delighted in dissecting his meals and separating the ingredients. We may have created a monster, but at least he's not a wailing monster. Mission pretty much accomplished.

What about you? Any stories behind your expectations for your children? I would love to hear them!

Have a great day!


Maria said...

LOL! I had a list too. It's pretty much gone now or at least rewritten. I love the "mommy vision" reference. That is so accurate! It is hard to understand how complicated raising kids is until you have one.

Like, I can't STAND anyone picking their nose. I now have one closet nose picker and one that totally "digs" it (identities shall remain secret). I've said my piece (many times) so now it's up to good-old peer pressure to handle the situation.

I too was a server at a restaurant and I also remember a certain mother-with-children episode. After that, I swore to myself that I would NEVER leave a complete mess when I dined with my children. I now make an effort to make sure the crayons/napkins/ utensils/large pieces of food get placed back on the table when I leave. It doesn't have to be perfect (because isn't that one reason I went to a restaurant anyway?) but it needs to look like humans, not animals, dined there.

Karly said...

So true about the list! I've pretty much eaten every item on my list since I've had children myself. This parenting gig is much harder than it looks!!

One thing that really did bother me before I had kids was going to a birthday party and watching the kid open presents and then the kid would roll their eyes or say "This is dumb" or throw a total tantrum.

I try to tell my kids that even if they don't like it or don't even know what it is, they need to say Thank You with a SMILE. (And we will work out any exchanging of that too-small-bright-orange-fuzzy-sweater in private.) And I even make my kids write thank you notes for their gifts, otherwise they seem to take it all for granted and forget who even gave the gift to them. My kids are totally spoiled on their birthdays and Christmas, so at the very least I want them to be grateful.

hgrenier said...

I think God flat out laughed at me every time I would add something to my list pre-parenthood... and I've eaten just about every single thing from my list... I totally relate to this one!!!

Amy said...

"God laughs at the plans we make" or something along these lines makes me realize that sometimes we 'think' things are going to happen 'our' way and God just has other plans. And as a mom of four, anything that anyone else has on their list, Im sure I have seen first hand from one of mine! My list simply consists of living through the day sometimes!

Liz said...

How about...
I will never use the TV as a babysitter.
My kids will be completely potty trained shortly after age 2.
No kid of mine will use a pacifier once they're walking and talking!
My kids will eat vegetables whether they like them or not!
I am so full of the words I've eaten that I can hardly eat my supper.

Lindsay said...

My list changed with each child. Since my first was such an easy baby I still thought I had it all together.......then #2 came along and proved me wrong. Now that #3 is here I am really just too tired to care anymore. :)