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A Public Apology

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Momo Fali's: A Public Apology

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Public Apology

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail tonight called "Kids - The 15 Step Program". It was a humorous look at all the things you should do BEFORE you have kids to see if you're ready for them.

What got me was Lesson #2, which said that before you have children, you should go find a couple who does, and then BERATE them about discipline, sleep habits, breastfeeding, toilet training, and for allowing their children to run wild. That way, once you have children, you'll know how to take such unsolicited advice from non-parents.

Unfortunately, I have to own up to something. I used to be that person doing the berating. Only, I had a child at the time.

Our daughter was, and for the most part still is, a model child. She never acted up, cried in the check-out line, threw her food, talked too loud, or had random fits. When I told her "don't do that again", she didn't do it again...ever. After two years with a pacifier, we took it away cold-turkey, and she never even cried for it. She was completely potty trained in three days and didn't have a single accident after that. Everything came easy. So, I hope it's understandable that I completely believed this whole parenting thing? Well, it was a breeze really! Why didn't all these other parents know how to raise their children?!

Ah, but things have a way of working out. I was firmly, and absolutely, put in my place when my son was born. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has been easy with this child. Aside from his health problems, there were major challenges in feedings, crawling, walking, talking, potty training, and dressing himself. He doesn't mind having purposeless breakdowns, and he has the ability to make just about anyone uncomfortable with his glaring honesty. If I tell him, "don't do that again", that means I've given him a green light to do it more. In church, he mocks the choir and throws his head back while he dramatically lip syncs. And, he will walk up to strange women and ask me, "What's HIS name?" His latest act, for which we can't seem to find a solution, is that he becomes visibly upset if he sees, or even hears, another child crying.

But, it's that sweet, wonderful sensitivity that gets to me. That, and when he's not actually making fun of someone, he's really very funny. Quite the comedian, in fact. And, all those challenging milestones? Well, that was all the proof we needed to see that no matter how hard something may be, he's going to work at it until he can do it. Even if it takes YEARS.

So there. My son is not a model child, but to me he's pretty perfect the way he is. And, to all those parents I criticized when my daughter was young. I'm sorry. I really had no idea.

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Comments:
this is great! I, too, now realize why my SIL prayed that she would only have girls (she did). At first I thought she was a heartless sexist, but now I know it just makes parenting easier.

my son, too, uses his charm to make up for his absolute ineptitude in dressing, peeing, pooing, couth behavior (he's in a 'I want to pee on the floor like a dog' phase.)

my MIL had FIVE boys and the first one was mentally handicapped. She must be canonized NOW!
 
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