More Teenage Attitude . . . from a three year old.

I wanted Evan to pick out a color for an art project, and zombie Evan was watching a cartoon that was sucking out his brain, sip by sip. (Ok, it wasn’t THAT bad; it was Go, Diego, Go.  And when did we start watching it so much?)

 

Me: Evan, what color do you want?  Red, blue, or yellow?  (no response)  Evan?  (no response)  Evan.  (I moved straight in front of the TV.)  Evan. What color do you want?

 

Evan: Mommy, GET OUT OF THE WAY!

 

Me: Excuse me?

 

Evan: Mommy, get out of the way!  I’m watching TV!

 

Not anymore.  Click.

 

Me: You’re not going to watch TV until you are nice and polite.

 

Evan: (Stomping out of the family room, up the steps) I’m going to my room! (Just so we’re clear; Evan has to go to his room to deal with any temper tantrums)  (Evan stopped outside of the family room and turned around) I’m sorry, Mommy, for yelling and saying get out of my way.  (He came back to give me a hug and kiss.)

 

Me: I know.  You were just upset.

 

Evan: Now.  Get out of my way!

 

I think we have a failure in communication.

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Teaching Honesty

Nothing scares me more than raising liars.  I am a liar, so I would know.  I can look any one in the eye and lie like a dog.  It’s a gift.  On the flip side, I can tell when most people are lying.  I can read the tells (something I obsessed about one summer).  But there is something so wrong in the scene of the parents denying their child would EVER do anything like that, just to be told yes, your kid just shot up a bunch of people.  Denying in the face of the truth.  And I wonder how buffaloed were those parents.  Or is it an act?

I have toddlers, so we’re not on the page of tell me the truth, why did you fail to read the book for the report, where were Johnny’s parents, where did you get these cigarettes, why is Janey’s father demanding that I lock you up for thirty years.  But I’m a planner and a worrier, so I know those days aren’t as far off as they seem.  Right now, I just want them (or just Evan, since he talks) to tell me what happened to make them cry and why the raisins are all over the floor.

My parents hated lies.  The worse thing we could do was lie, so we were punished more severely for lying to cover a miss deed.  That’s not to say we didn’t lie.  My brother is a horrible liar.  He smiles when he lies.  Now that he’s older he controls the smile but not his eyes.  When he lied, he would never volunteer information, but if asked out right in a perfect lawyer way, he would tell the truth.  I paid attention on how I acted and looked when I told the truth, so when I lied, I just mimicked the same response.  Of course, I lied about small stuff like if my homework was done before I was reading that book.  Of course, Mom.  Add teenage roll of eyes.  Then later that night I would secretly finish my homework because I didn’t want to look like a liar.  My brothers and I hated lying when it got someone else in trouble.  As a teenager, I was horrified when my friends secretly got tattoos.  The thought that their lying could cost someone a job just never entered their minds.  While my brother neglected to tell my parents about the speeding ticket, as soon as they asked when it came in the mail, he told them everything, including his speed.  We were like all kids, lying only when needed.

Now I’m a parent, wondering how I teach my kids to be honest.  Not to tell lies; not to cheat; not to steal.  My best friend theorizes that children will be who they are, nature over nurture.  Some kids are good, honest, and kind; while other kids are liars and cheaters.  You just might get a bad egg.  Well, I can’t believe that because I need control.  I don’t want to hope for a good egg.  I can’t assume that they will learn values and morals through Church because the slimiest people I know are “good” church-going Christians.  Hell, I even know good parents with lousy kids.  So what am I going to do?

Until I heard Sean cry this morning and I ran to see what happen, I was wondering how well I was conveying teaching the truth.  I asked Evan what happened.  “I hit Seanny.”  Why?  “He wanted my truck.”  Maybe this is innocence at its best.  But this is what I want.  I want to know if my boys will own their deeds, good or bad.  I explain to Evan that we tell what really actually happened.  He just said “OK, Mommy.”

Those Epithany Moments

Since I wrote about those moments that make the frustration go away, I have noticed the triumphs that make being a mom so worthwhile.  It’s the moments when those boys, who did not know more than they were hungry, tired, or wet, understand a new concept or do something that is unexpected and brilliant.  It’s the moments that make you realize wow!  humans are amazing because we can figure that out.

I remember the first day Evan smiled.  I was shocked to learn that babies did not know how to smile.  It’s smiling.  How easy is that?  You’re happy; you smile.  It HAS to be instinctive.  It isn’t; it wasn’t.  Watching Evan in my arms, getting lost in his blue eyes, I would smile, hoping he would smile back.  When it finally happened, I was amazed and deeply in love.  I realized that he needed me to teach him EVERYTHING, and I thought it was a daunting task, wondering what horrible psychosis will I give him.

Time went on, and I became more comfortable teaching him, until the day I caught him walking a toy person along the floor.  I just stopped in my tracks, jaw hanging down, thinking, “I didn’t teach him that.”  He had the toy rocking back and forth to mimic steps, and it seemed so natural.  But I didn’t teach him that.  He figured it out all by himself.  He used his imagination and his logic and figured it out.  My boy is a genius!  Ok, everyone figures that out, and humans are just so god-damn-smart.

Today I was running from one side of the house to the other, trying to get the few morning chores out of the way as well as catch up on the news.  (boy, that Ike is going to just rip up Texas.)  Usual the boys play on their own during this time.  Then I looked over at Sean.  He was holding Kung Fu Panda, dancing with him, while he sang a song.  What?  He was twirling around with Kung Fu Panda, rocking in motion to the babble song he was singing.  My god, why don’t I have the video camera charged?  (But I know my boys, I’ll get out the video camera, and the boys will stop what they are doing to come investigate what mommy is doing and what is that machine.)  I stopped, smiled, and watched as my baby boy used his imagination.  When the song was done, Sean smiled at me, running towards me for a hug.  It’s moments like that just leave me speechless.

Later on in the morning as Evan and Sean watched Mickey Mouse as I began to make my exit to the shower, Evan declared that he wanted to go to Disneyland.  Excuse me?  I want to go to Disneyland, please (With that adorable, manipulative toddler please that long esound).  Let’s call your Papi because he wanted to go to Disneyland too, and now that they’re coming for a visit he’s balking because your uncle wants to go to but can’t get off work and doesn’t realize we can go again; there isn’t limit of how many times we can go as long as we have the money.  So I called, and Evan asked his Papi.  My dad accused me of coaching.  Um, don’t you remember three months back or so when Evan wanted to go to Disneyland just for the popcorn?  The kid hasn’t gone in eighteen months!  So now Disneyland is back on the discussion table, especially because Evan has decided the beach is too scary for him.

So Sean can make up tunes and dance to them, and Evan can figure out where he wants to go on vacation.  Better yet, Evan wants to be as tall and healthy as Uncle Matt, so he will eat more spinach.  I shit you not, he actually told his Papi this, parroting what I mentioned last night over the spinach incident.  Last night, of course, “No thank you, I don’t want to be tall and healthy like Uncle Matt.  That’s not for me.”  Sometimes I feel like I’m being out-foxed by a three-year-old.

But even that just illustrates how much growth and development there is.  Maybe I’m not doing such a bad job after all.  They’re using their brains, their logic, imagination, memory.  I am amazed as I watch them develop and realize this is just the beginning.  Then I roll my eyes at the mess they made and get them to throw the toys back in their boxes.

Perceptions

I have noticed, as I read blogs, that one comment in the blog or the comments will make the reader assume something different than what the writer intended.  Often that comment makes the reader disregard the writer’s opinion.  It is the reason why Internet communication is so difficult; you write in short burst conveying as much as you can only to realize you missed you mark somewhere.  Emailing nearly killed one of my old relationships.  But let me explain better.

I hate Shakespeare.  I mean I really hate his work.  I see very little value in most of his plays and sonnets.  According to another English major, he felt it was because I was exposed to reading Shakespeare, not watching well performed, and was started with Romeo and Juliet, which is arguably one of his worst plays.  Now you add that every two-bit drama production puts it on and completely doesn’t know what the play is actually saying.  Well, I don’t know how many times I’ve contemplated suicide to get out of watching the rest of the acts.

But I degrees.  I hate Shakespeare.  But as an English major as well as a high school drama student and English honor student, I had to read and analyze lots of Shakespeare, which brought me to my conclusion.  I’ve actually read his works and looked up every word I didn’t understand.  Every word!  So I would actually understand what the character was saying.  I’ll give him respect where respect is due. I like Richard III and  Hamlet, to an extant.  I do understand why people like him and his influence on writing and culture, but he is defiantly too hyped up.

So what does this have to do with perspective?  Well, I had told one of my professors in religion, who happened to be an editor and writer, how much I despised Shakespeare.  From that moment on, he assumed I didn’t know Shakespeare, so when the discussions led to Shakespeare, he would ignore my analysts.  It was like I couldn’t understand the brilliance of Shakespeare or any other great writer.  It was a little frustrated, but we’re all human, and he’s a great professor.  But I wisely never mentioned my loathing to any English professors, since I didn’t know who would teach the mandatory Shakespeare class.  When I was taking the course, the professor thought I was brilliant.  I had read a dozen Shakespeare plays before I even entered college.  I had learned to analyze Shakespeare when I was a freshman in high school.  I knew the time period.  Hell, I had even read people that tried to emulate Shakespeare or barrow his characters.  Needless to say I got an A in the course.

So my point is we are all judging creatures, hence the quote, which I’ll explain one day.  But because we say one thing doesn’t mean we don’t have a valid opinion.  As I commented on a right-wing Christian blog, I realized he would probably devalue my opinion if he knew I was a Catholic or that I hung out with the high priestess of the coven at my college.  But then I guess I’m assuming there too.  I’m just as guilty.  So my plea is to have as all just try to listen to each other without judgement.  Or as little judgement as possible.