My parenting standards were very high until my water broke with my first child. Labor progressing too fast for an epidural, I was given the option of a Morphine drip, though warned it could make the baby sluggish for a bit after birth. I chose the Morphine. In doing so I set off a domino effect of lowered standards. Here are some highlights /lowlights for your judging pleasure.
I Let My Kids Pee in Public
My husband’s salt of the Earth New York grandma used to let him pee between cars when he was a boy and they were out together in public. When I first heard this story over fifteen years ago, I was horrified. Who would do that? What kind of role model? In public! As it turns out, she out-classed me on this one. I let my six-year-old pee on shrub last week…in full daylight…on Sunset Boulevard during a scooter trip through our neighborhood. When it wants to be, the little boy penis is incredibly convenient and he really had to go. In my defense, I only gave permission after a break in the flow (in traffic). The next day I let the three-year-old pee behind a tree…at the park…in the middle of a birthday party. Public urination is a slippery slope, and also apparently a family tradition.
I Subscribe to the Five Second Rule….Also in Public (Home is a Given)
The three-year-old recently dropped his new roll of novelty gum on the floor of Peet’s Coffee in the middle of a packed crowd. He looked at it, then at me. I yelled “Five Second Rule! Pick it up!” Even he was surprised, and stood staring at it. I bent down, swiped it up, wiped it on the front of my jeans and handed it back. A crowd of stunned onlookers watched the whole scene go down. I explained, “If I didn’t let my kids eat food off the floor we’d be living in a one bedroom apartment in the projects.” That didn’t seem to help anyone feel better about the situation, but one dad did admit to doing the same but not telling his wife.
I Let My Child Quit Sports Because It Was Easier for Me
I am generally not a peer pressure parent in that I don’t pressure my kids to do activities based on what others are doing. But last year when a group of school parents organized for a nice group of kindergarten boys to play soccer together I signed my eldest up. He didn’t necessarily want to play soccer, nor was he particularly, um, athletically inclined towards that sport. But, he did agree, not fully understanding where that “okay” had him headed. Weekday practices, Saturday morning games, and an ugly, uncomfortable uniform. If he’d put half the effort into actually playing soccer as he did fighting going to soccer he could have been the next David Beckham. Two horrific Saturdays in a row and not only did I never mention it again, neither did he. Done and done.
I Bust Out the Excuse “Because That’s How God Made It,” Even Though We’re Not Religious
Since my eldest hit the Terrible/Inquisitive Two’s and the “why? why? why?” stage I have staunchly maintained that fundamentalist Christians have got in made it in the parenting department. “Because that’s how God made it,” or some version of that answer, is indeed THE answer to every question then. Between the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule and the Earth being created in seven days, these people have got it made. Semi-practicing Jews? Not so much. Sometimes I’m too tired to Google, in which case God’s got my back.
I Have Become Inappropriately Competitive in Punch Buggy
Punch Buggy never seems to grow old in my car with two competitive boys. Not only are they competitive, they’re also compulsive liars and rule-maker-uppers when it comes to car games. Long gone are the days of just yelling the color of the particular VW Bug sighted. No, our game also has a rule of “no punch backs,” extra points for old-fashioned Bugs and even more points for super rare colors. Three quarters of the way into an eight hour drive to Northern California from Southern, the game had become particularly fierce and I had in fact become punch drunk with so many hours in the car. Hence my screamed response upon viewing the Holy Grail of the Punch Buggy game: “PURPLE ONE, OLD-FASHIONED, NO PUNCH BACKS……….BITCHES!!!!!!!!!”