Chris and I are parents to two wonderful creatures. They’re smart, funny, sensitive and beautiful. As with all parents, we have ups and downs with our girls – a breakdown in communications, if you will. Miscommunication between parents and children isn’t a teenage phenomenon. It actually starts in their toddler years.
What I say vs. what they hear:
- OK, but just this once = Sure, go ahead. Anytime you want.
- Not now, maybe later = Ask me again in about 2.5 seconds. Surely I’ll say yes then.
- Share your toys = You should take that toy from your sister, because you shouldn’t have to wait your turn.
- Come here right now = Once you’re done whatever you’re doing, if you decide to get to it, and if it’s not too much trouble, come see me.
- We’re having pork chops and broccoli tonight = We’re going to force-feed you fecal matter.
- Time to put the toys away = It’s the end of the world and we want you to fuss loudly.
Never a dull moment. We fill our girls’ lives with activities that will help shape them into somewhat normal functioning adults. We try to teach our children everything from reading and writing to social graces, but I truly believe we learn as much from them in return.
Things I’ve learned from my kids:
- Asking one of my girls what they did wrong will always generate a response about what the other one did wrong.
- Even the best-behaved kids will wait until they’re in public before having a meltdown. Hence the phrase “She really isn’t usually like that…” followed by the other person’s usual smile and nod.
- However hellish your child can be with you, she will spontaneously become angelic around grandparents. Just to prove you wrong. That’s how they flip you the bird before learning how to.
- When my girls tell me they’re too full to finish their meal, they’re actually taking into account how much room they need to leave for dessert.
- I can try to teach them things countless times before it sinks in. But I let a four-letter word slip just once, and of course they pick that one up instantly.
- Kids notice everything. Like the veggie you tried to purée and sneak into the food. Or the doll you accidentally sat on the left side of the toy chest instead of on the right.
- A hand-made cardboard crown can in fact turn a little girl into a princess.
- Kids give the best hugs because they mean them with every fibre of their being.
I look forward to many life lessons from them as the years go by. Each one adding grey hair to my formerly all-brown mane.