Parenting is not for the faint of heart.
That's kinda my motherhood tagline because you have to be prepared for just about anything when you're a mom. In a way, being a mother is a bit like being an airplane pilot. Most of the time things are going smoothly, you hit the autopilot button and may even take the time to sit back, relax and chit chat with your co-pilot and a few flight attendants. But then you hit turbulence or one of the props stops working and that's when you realize why you get paid the big bucks. It's not for the sunny days with smooth landings, it's for when the shit hits the fan.
Or a goose flies into your engine. Either/or.
Anyway, my point is, weird stuff crops up when you're a parent. Kids do dumb things, plain and simple. It's the whole reason we had to make up the "No sticking anything in any orifices rule".
My kids are no exception and quite frankly, this past week was a testament to my patience and ability to (a) get over near heart attacks (b) not freak out over a little permanent marker.
Last week I was going to bed and doing my usual. Get a glass of water, grab my book, go to the boys' rooms to do a final tuck and give them a kiss. The kids had been in bed for over an hour but as I walked down the hall, I noticed Son No. 1's light on and when I peered through the door I stopped dead in my tracks, there he was..... LYING SPREAD EAGLE ON THE FLOOR NOT MOVING AND NOT BLINKING. I said his name loudly. Nothing. Heart pounding, I moved forward while saying his name again even more loudly, getting ready to start CPR. Which is when he looked up at me and smiled.
When asked about the death imitation, it turned out he just felt like laying really really still on his floor.
And yes, I did want to throttle him.
I was speaking at a conference this week and spent one night at a hotel. Apparently while I was away, the boys got a hold of a permanent marker. When I got home the next night, I noticed Son No. 1 had what looked like a chain drawn around his neck and an earring on his ear. Son No. 2 only had a large blot under his armpit.
Or so I thought.
Apparently there were also happy faces using certain body parts as the nose involved.
I was supposed to go running today. I ate the icing off of two cupcakes instead.
Sometimes a pilot needs a snack to keep going."
Yesterday I took the boys to my niece's birthday party. It was a swimming party and Son No. 1 and No. 2 were super excited to be hanging out in a pool for a few hours.
Turns out the pool had a three story slide. Both boys were adamant they wouldn't be going on it.
I'm sighing because I've been through this before....numeorus times. They're all "I'm not doing it, it's too scary" or "I don't want to do it because I don't like it". You know, even though they wouldn't know they don't like it because they've NEVER TRIED IT.
After they announced they weren't trying the slide, I got to work, preying on their strengths and weaknesses.
First in line was Son No. 1. I called him over and told him I thought not going on the slide would be one of those things he would regret if he didn't try it. This strategy often works with him, appealing to his logical nature.
Then I called over Son No. 2. He normally doesn't like to be out done so I pointed out the other kid his age going down the slide and how he looked like he was having a great time.
Then I asked Son No. 2 if he would go down if Son No. 1 did. This got a head nod, so I sent him back to play and called Son No. 1 back over to work on his logical nature again.
The kid was not having it.
And quite frankly, it was DRIVING ME CRAZY because I knew if they went down once, they'd love it.
After a few back and forths with both boys not budging on their no-slide stance, I called them both over and simply said "The first one to go down the slide gets ten dollars, the second will get five" and left it at that.
My sister-in-law was just about peeing herself laughing.
Three minutes later, both boys headed up the 70 steps to go down the slide.
And guess how they spent the rest of the time at the pool.
So yes, I bribed my kids. Maybe it was wrong, maybe the end result justified the means or maybe it didn't.
But I left the pool with two boys who had a greater confidence in their abilities.
Money well spent I say."
Yesterday I sent my two boys off into the world.
They were out playing with friends, I was attempting to shower and make my hair frizz free. The phone rang - it was Son No. 1. He was at a neighbour’s house and wanted to know if he and Son No. 2 could go bike riding with a group of friends to a local pond then to the Mac’s store.
I hesitated only a moment then said no. The Mac’s store was across a busy intersection and while Son No. 1 was capable, I felt Son No. 2 was still too young to make this trek.
Son No.1 hung up in a huff.
Thirty seconds later the phone rang again, this time it was Son No. 2. “He meant just biking to the pond mom.”
I hesitated again.
The kids going ranged in age from almost 7 to 10. There was no reason for me to say no and yet I was torn.
I know times have changed but I also know I have the best childhood memories of roaming the neighbourhood with my friends, hours spent biking, exploring and going to the park on our own. My boys have many freedoms but this biking thing?
I wasn’t ready.
I went against my instinct to keep them close and said yes anyway.
They came home and filled water bottles to go on their adventure and then they were off.
I didn’t relax until they got back, images of one of them slipping into the pond and drowning or veering off the sidewalk and getting hit by a car.
But, of course, they did come back….hot, sweaty and bubbling with excitement, talking over each other to tell me what they did.
I listened as they told me about the new bridge and how they played ball at the park, wondering how they couldn’t sense my relief they were home safe.
I had put out on twitter that I had sent the boys for their first bike ride without an adult present. @threesixtyfg wrote back “Good for you - big step!”
And it was.
For them too.