so, friday after the kids came home from school, grace begins updating me on her plans for the weekend...this is not something new with our first child....she was born with an appointment book in her hands...social scheduling is her life...and, at 14, it is all about her schedule and her life.
so, friday, as her bus arrival time was quickly approaching, i called my husband and demanded, "quick, think fast...what are we doing for the weekend...i need to know our plans before grace gets home. she'll have an agenda and we have to be prepared...with our plans...for us!"
i know, who's in charge here anyway? it's just that we, as parents, have to plan our offensive strategy before it becomes defensive....that's when the trouble begins. huh? yes, this is true...in the life of our fourteen year old daughter, everything is urgent....everything.
as a baby, she woke up at 7:16 every day....when she began talking, she would sit in her crib and point to her hats, hanging on hooks in her room...."hat!...hat!...hat!", she would say. yes, it was our little social butterfly, wanting to be "dressed" for her morning meal.
when she was about four years old, she would wake up, rush into our room, like there was an emergency and say,"can we bake cupcakes?....now?"
we make plans..we follow through...we don't make promises that can be broken...we always try to be honest....we don't always say yes to our kids. apparently, all of the other parents say yes....all of the time....no matter what the situation...money...yes.....disney world....yes....ipod...yes....television in your bedroom...yes.....laptop computer...yes.......events...yes......anywhere.....yes.....anytime....yes!
well, they sound like dream parents. why didn't we have parents like that? our children always seem to find the kids in this world with parents in that world! every other parent!....but we're not their parents, we say!...."we have to say no because we love you"....they just don't buy it.
we are the worst parents in the world.....and, once in awhile, we're o.k.! back when the kids were small and wanted every flag, balloon, horn on our fourth of july parade route..... sold by people, who have an evil plot to separate young parents from their money, for something overpriced...... that might not last til naptime. a good friend, with grown children, told us to prepare ourselves.....because, even if we take them to a parade, with marching bands, rollerskaters, monkeys doing cartwheels, gorillas driving cars, and more.....children will still say, "but, i didn't get a lollipop!"
and today, with two tweens, everything we do seems to leave them feeling they are missing out on the lollipop......and, "all of the other parents get their kids the lollipops!"
in some cases, that seems to be true.....and at this moment in time, it seems like it would be so much easier to be the fun parents.... the parents who say yes to the lollipops.... yes to the junk from the street vendors at the parades.... yes to the concert tickets... yes to the sleepovers... yes to the invitations to kids' houses with NO parents home, because THEY trust THEIR children....yes to the television in their bedrooms......on and on and on. "wouldn't it be nice", as the beach boys sang. unfortunately, for our children, we are parenting with a more rolling stones type style,"you can't always get what you want".....and that's true for us, the parents, too..... other parents, who give everything to their kids... because it's easier than dealing with a disappointed, angry, hysterical child, make our lives miserable too!
my husband and i always dream of kids' friends who have parents that know "the code", you know, "the parent code".....kind of looking out for each other, standing tall, braced together as a giant parenting team.....all with the same set of game rules. and sadly, it's only a dream. while sitting with a friend, discussing the different styles of parenting tweens, at school orientation this year......she suggested i look around the room at all of the other parents....i did...she said, "just think, they all were in high school once.....do you remember the different types of kids that you went to your high school?.......they're all parents now...think about that." that put it all in perspective...of course, we can't have a "parent code".
so, on friday night, i took my daughter and her friend to the mall....despite the fact that it was the absolute last place in the world i wanted to be. as it turned out, as happy as they were to go to the mall, i brought them to the "wrong mall"....some of their friends were at the other mall. they survived. i survived....nevertheless, i've been malled enough for a good long time.
and saturday night, we were "the worst parents in the world"....we wouldn't let our daughter go to a friends house, with parents out at a christmas party....even though, everyone else was allowed to go....