No question, kids can and do drive their parents batty. It’s because they’re wily and unpredictable, and have no regard for rules or basic human decency. Also, they have those big puppy-dog eyes and they know how to use them. They may work your last nerve, but they can also teach you something if you pay attention. Here are 3 lessons I’ve learned the hard way from my kids:
Scenario #1: You make your child his favorite lunch, a PB&J. You make yourself a grilled cheese. By the time you sit down to take your first bite, your child has finished his own lunch and says, “I want a grilled cheese, too.” You offer him a bite of yours. “No. I want my OWN.”
Outcome: You put down your sandwich, get up, make him one, and hand it to him. He says, “I’m not hungry anymore.”
Lesson: Aim high. You can have your sandwich and eat it too! (Or not eat it, as the case may be. You’re allowed to change your mind.) All you have to do is ask. Or whine. Or beg.
Scenario #2: Claiming he’s afraid of the dark, your child talks you into sleeping with him “for a few minutes.” You awaken at 4am with no covers, your neck at a right angle, and a sharp pinch in your lower back. The next time your child plays the afraid-of-the-dark card, you allow him to sleep in your bed “for a few minutes,” thinking you’ll both get some sleep that way.
Outcome: You awaken at 4am with no covers, your neck at a right angle, and a sharp pinch in your lower back to find that your child has wet the bed – YOUR bed.
Lesson: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Also, European pillow-top mattresses are exceptionally absorbent.
Scenario #3: It’s 40 min. before preschool drop-off time. Your child is not dressed, you are not dressed, and more importantly, you have not had your coffee. Even though your rule is no TV on school mornings, in your weakened state you give in when your child whines to watch a show. You say, “OK, if you get dressed first and are all ready to go.”
Outcome: You enjoy your coffee and 22 min. of quiet, then discover with only seconds to go till school starts that he’s not wearing underwear and refuses to put on shoes. In his angered state, he chucks your car keys behind the stove. “But you promised!” you wail.
Lesson: Don’t negotiate with terrorists.
Learned any tough life lessons from YOUR kids?
READ O’ THE DAY: Speaking of kids and sleep, my friend and fellow journalist Malia Jacobson has a new ebook out, Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades. I haven’t read it yet, but I read her first book, and one tip alone was worth the cover price. She knows her stuff, people.