In my house, pancakes are a finger food. Simply put, I just can’t be bothered with extra utensils at breakfast time. They really aren’t necessary. They just end up on the floor, get covered with syrup, stuck in hair or to the carpet, and run a risk of ending up in the garbage when the wee ones clear their plates.
Manners. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
As parents, we do our best to teach our children right from wrong in all aspects of life. (Well, most of us do.) We have all been raised differently, we all have different values and beliefs. I believe in pick your battles and kids will be kids. I know, at the end of the day, I have taught them to say please, thank you, and you’re welcome. I have taught them to put the toilet seat down, look down and aim, hang your coat up, and put your shoes in the closet. I have taught them to put dirty clothes in the hamper, hang towels up in the bathroom after they’re done with it, and not to wipe their noses on their sleeves or their fingers on their pants. The reality is I still have to remind them of all of this all of the time, with the exception of please, thank you, and you’re welcome. I have incredibly polite children who occasionally get caught with their fingers in their food. (Zachary is the worst offender…even rice.)
Four kids with four very different personalities. Aidan has the temper and for a while it was really tough to handle. At age nine he threw major tantrums, and at first I felt like I was failing but then a little research showed I was not alone. Trial and error and we seemingly broke him of it, or he outgrew it, and now it’s a bad memory. (He did huff and puff his way through dinner the other night, with a few tears, but at least he wasn’t rolling around on the floor.) He’s also my most affectionate child, always asking for hugs, holding his siblings hands, and cuddling on the couch.
Zachary is a tough one to crack. Very smart, very serious. He jokes about not having a sense of humor but I think it’s much more that he can’t escape the reality of things. Lately, he’s taken to sarcasm and can come out with some great one liners, so progress is being made. He isn’t much of a hugger but I see improvement there, too, and he would rather sleep on the floor in my room if he’s sick than in the bed. He’s been known to give a certain man in my life a tough time but I’ve yet to figure out if it’s his attempt at humor/sarcasm or him being protective and territorial of me. (Rumor has it I gave my step father a tough time when he was first in our lives…if I was testing him, he passed!) Zach has never thrown a tantrum because they could always be stopped with, “Do you want to get in trouble like Aidan did?!”
Cassie is very smart, mature and sensitive. She will ask for a hug only because you just gave one to someone else. We call her, “Me, too…” as she has to have what everyone else has. I am constantly telling her it’s ok to have different things, to get the cup with a little less juice, or the blue plate instead of the green one, and she always says, “Ok, mom,” and then will get upset all over again the next time she feels left out in any way. She’s giggly, cries when you reprimand her because she doesn’t like doing anything wrong, and likes to tell her brothers what to do. (She is one minute older than Cameron and will never let him forget it.) She is ridiculously polite and tantrum free.
Cameron is my baby. He is cuddly, affectionate, and is really starting to come into his own. He has always lagged behind his sister developmentally but is starting to stand up for himself and find his strengths. He loves to dance, is always moving, and his nose has been running for six years. He loves food, not sweets, and needs to be reminded to get a tissue. He is always proud of his accomplishments and loves to talk about his days at school. He talks his way through problems, like how to avoid getting the syrup on his sleeves, and then gets syrup on his sleeves. He and Aidan need to get dogs once they are on their own so the floors get cleaned after they’re done eating. He is ridiculously polite and tantrum free.
I read all these articles and posts about parents who say their kids never had a tantrum, or discipline is the answer to everything, and kids these days have no respect and it’s all their parents’ fault. I say get off your high horses and stop being so critical. With the exception of Aidan’s fourth grade year, my children are exceptionally well behaved in school and respectful of their elders. (And with all do respect, the woman was a nightmare teacher and turned her students into monsters.) I am constantly told how polite they are in public, how well mannered and behaved in restaurants, and yet I often feel as if they are not because they are simply doing things kids do and other adults are way too critical of that! I always take the time to smile at that other parent whose child is in the midst of a tantrum in public and say, “We’ve all been there.”
So, I’m not sure why I wrote this. I guess it’s because this morning they ate pancakes with their fingers and we talked about how you can’t do that in public, just at home, and we smiled and laughed at our little private rebellion. Maybe I wrote it because I needed to think about something other than a very big decision I have to make that will impact my children tremendously. Maybe I wrote it because today is one of those days when I’m saying, “I need wine, or Xanax, or maybe both” but will have neither and instead substitute it with frozen yogurt sundaes for dinner and I’ll let them lick the bowls.
Ok, I’ll have one glass after they’re in bed.