I Never . . . the Parent Game

June 22, 2007 at 2:54 am 1 comment

So, how many of us have played “I Never” — as in, the drinking game? Granted, it’s been years, but I bet many of you know the game. So, I was thinking about it today . . . as I watched my 3 year old (yes, the special needs child) running through my backyard NAKED, with slippers from the movie Cars on his feet, his sister’s pink headband on his head, his mouth full of string cheese, applesauce all over his face and in his hair. He was yelling unintelligibly as he ran from one end of yard to the next, and was pulling a small wagon with only 2 yellow markers in it. I was laughing. I ran to get the camera. As soon as I got it turned on and aimed at him, he stopped, promptly removed the slippers and the headband, and proceeded to smile and wave. Crap. He’s figured out the camera thing.

So, all of this got me to musing about all of the things I was “never going to do when I became a parent”. Where shall I begin? I remember when my husband’s aunt was visiting, and my first child, a daughter, was wearing a well-put-together-and-totally-matching-outfit. She said, “So, do you always match the pacifier color with the outfit color?” I enthusiastically replied, “yes”!! Which, by the way, was totally, and embarrassingly, true. This brings me to my first point.

Clothing: My children were never going to look ridiculous. Or wear dirty clothes. They were going to wear clean clothes that matched. Every day. Period. If they spit up on their outfit, they would be changed into another, just as cute, outfit. Well, ha ha ha ha ha . . . the joke was on me.

My firstborn is a girl, and girls are so much fun to dress! (no offense to boys/sons, I have 3 boys, too, but come on . . . girl clothes are the bomb!) As SOON as she started to have some idea of what an “opinion” was, she started picking out her clothes. Lucky for me, this came later for her than many of her girlfriends and school mates. Unlucky for me, part of her Tourette’s Syndrome, includes TONS of sensory issues. So, everything bothers her: seams, tags, elastic waistbands, button closures, zippers, anything fitted, rubberbands in her hair, et. al. So, when a pair of pants fit her, I buy every color! My point is this: I had to let the whole “cute outfits” thing go. A LONG time ago! Right now, she has 2 pairs of shorts that she likes . . . just 2! She does not care if they’re clean or dirty. (And when I say dirt, I mean ALL of yesterday’s food remnants, plus dirt and sand…) She wants to wear them every day!! She also has sundresses. That’s about it. I always try a quick, “honey, you just wore them yesterday, and they’re filthy.” But then, guess what? I have way too much going on to stress out about the clothes my daughter wears. Ya know? So, she wears the same thing over and over and over and over again. And sometimes they’re dirty. And she frequently does not “match” at ALL! I used to have minor rules: church, certain family functions, etc. “mattered”. Guess what? Almost nothing does anymore! (I’m still psycho about the Christmas card photo, though . . .)

My second point: hair. My children were never going to go out of the house with unkempt hair. Okay, a double HA HA on me for this one! Whatever! My daughter has a mop of a head half the time. She loves going to bed with wet hair from the shower and waking up all medusa-like, and just going to school. Again, whatever. I reserve the right to brush it, straighten it, or put it up for the grandparents, the school performances, etc. But, overall, I never care . . . anymore! And as for the boys, buzz cuts are the best thing ever! No maintenance!

My third point: cleanliness. I was never going to have dirty kids. Or kids with snotty, unwiped noses, or food on their faces. My mom told me that I had a bath every day of my life from birth until junior high, when I simply stopped doing the every day shower/bathing thing. Okay, so who does this anymore? Who has the time and/or energy for daily baths?!?!? My older kids, at 8 and 5 and 3 are pretty much on an every other day schedule. Folks, I use the term “every other day” loosely, if you know what I mean. As far as my newborn . . . well, when he starts to smell, I bathe him. I won’t put down in writing how infrequent that is . . . because I was never going to have “dirty” kids. Really folks, what is one to do when you don’t have a wipe or tissue on hand? Or when you just don’t feel like battling your kid over the constant drip coming out of their nose? And in the summer, doesn’t the pool count as a bath??

My fourth point: tv. So, didn’t all of us swear our children were never going to watch too much tv? Well, I don’t have nannies, and this is not the 1950’s anymore, where we can just shove our kids out the door to “play outside” for hours at a time without supervision, is it? I mean, I am just now letting my 8 and 5 year old go out to the front yard without me . . . and only if they stay together! So, when I’m cooking dinner and need peace and quiet, it’s tv time. When my special needs child is going gangbusters on his siblings, I say the magic words, “Dragon Tales”. He heads straight for the tv room. When they come home from school and need “down time”, it’s tv, at least for a little while. When I need to shower, I put the young ones in front of the tv. So, I guess I “parent-by-tv” when I need to. So much for my kids not watching tv . . .

My fifth point: public tantrums. I was never going to let my kids have public tantrums. (notice the word “let”) Okay, as a former-business-traveler, I used to get so annoyed at crying and restless kids on airplanes. I always thought, “come on, please just deal with your kid.” Same thoughts in the grocery store, the movie theater, etc. Now that reality has settled in to my life, in the shape of one girl and three boys . . . well, let’s just say that this has been the biggest HA HA of them all. Especially with a non-verbal special needs child who sometimes just yells, for no apparent reason. Just to hear himself? To get attention? For fun? To watch his mom freak out? Who knows? I have learned to let go of people’s stares and judgments. Whatever. If it’s an inappropriate place, like a movie theater or church, we leave. If it’s the grocery store, sorry folks. Needless to say, now when I see a kid having a public tantrum, I think, “Oh, that poor mom…” My how things have changed . . .

I suppose my next point is: food. I’m not sure exactly what the I never is on this one. I just know I was going to be healthy. I mean, I homemade my first child’s baby food!! Yes, I’m totally serious. And I breastfed her for 9 months. And I was working. Whew! Give me a medal! I mean, look how far I’ve come — did you read my blog on Pirate Booty? Every time we get a sitter, it’s mac n’ cheese or pizza. When my husband travels, it might be pb&j or McD’s for dinner. Yes, most nights we do have family dinner — because my husband is a phenomenal cook, and he enjoys it. I enjoy it too, when I don’t feel pressured to do it every night. So, once again, the joke is on me . . . and my kids!

So, to all of those who judge me . . . shame on you! And for all of those I probably (most certainly) judged before I became a parent . . . shame on me! We’re all in this together, folks. It seriously does take a village!

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Cry, Cry, Cry, Cry, Cry . . . . and Cry! Love Letter from my Daughter

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. thediaperdiaries  |  July 16, 2007 at 12:34 am

    I love this. I am still a freak about clean noses, but maybe after 4 I can let that go.

    Reply

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