Parenting has so many victories and so many failures. No matter your confidence in your creativity and effort, don’t celebrate your win before the game’s over.
Exhibit A: Elise has been hitting and throwing toys at Daycare – typical toddler stuff they tell me, but I don’t like it. I don’t see her in the mornings before I go to work, so I started leaving her notes/illustrations to be a “nice bunny.”
It worked! Monday she had a good day!
Another great day. I’m so glad I’m such a good parent! This was a win for sure.
Terrible day… “What happened?” I asked her when we got home. “Didn’t you see the note I left you? To be a nice bunny?”
“Bunny hit!” she says as she slaps the stick-note.
Apparently Elise is not familiar with the side-hug.
A better day, but still a bit of attitude.
“Elise, if you’re a nice bunny at Daycare, I will take you to the library.”
Books are her favorite thing.
Aaand… Success! She was a very nice bunny on Friday. So after Daycare, we quick grabbed some blueberries (her favorite snack) from the store before heading to the library.
As I pull in, I notice a small handful of cars. It looks like we will have most of the library to ourselves. The benefit to living in such a small town. We walk hand-in-hand up the sidewalk to the giant glass doors and hear a loud “Click” as soon as I reach for the handle.
“Boom!!!” Elise mimics with a bunny-hop for emphasis.
Hours: Friday 10-5
We were too late. My heart sinks. I try to rack my brain for where else one could find books in this little town. The Hallmark? I guess that will work.
We enter the Hallmark and immediately run into our next-door-neighbor who works there. She was on her way out, but we chat for a minute and she ooo’s and ahhh’s over how big Elise is getting.
Next we scan the stickers. Then the baby items. Then the greeting cards. As we go, Elise keeps snagging items and is not happy about having to put them back. This is too overwhelming… I just need a book!
We find some Frozen paraphernalia and I contemplate settling on a Frozen book, when I finally spot the kid’s corner. We neatly return the Frozen stuff to it’s shelves and I grab Elise’s hand to drag her over to the book selection. I’m getting antsy to leave this place.
She’s not keeping pace, and when I look back to encourage some hustle-in-her-bustle, I notice she is carrying a green ceramic vase that’s half her size. In one hand.
I try to squelch my shriek of shock. All my neighbor’s coworkers have been fussing over us from the moment we walked in. I pray no one is watching me return the vase to it’s proper place on the lower-shelf of the display.
(A lower shelf? Seriously, who puts a vase on a lower shelf???)
My ever-growing urgency calls me to settle on some Mickey Mouse stickers rather than flip through books. Rewards for good behavior. Excellent.
And the moral of the story is that there are no wins in parenting. As soon as you think you’ve figured something out, you get complacent. Parenting isn’t a game at all. It’s a journey. And you can’t assume you’re leading your kid in the right direction just because you’re leading the way. If you’re so focused on your destination that you’re dragging them with you, or you think your past success means you don’t need to check on them, you may be shocked to discover what they’ve picked up along the way.
So despite our busy-ness and our agendas, we have to walk alongside our children.
And sometimes literally. Please, someone remind me of this the next time I am in a Hallmark store.