Things Kids Do

Eight years into this parenting thing, and I’ve been noticing that there are things my children do that I *automatically* tell them not to do. And then I think, “Why do I bother telling them to stop doing that? They aren’t going to stop.”

So, I’m going to try to stop telling my kids to stop doing certain things.

For example:

1. Walking in the snow. Regardless of what kind of footgear they are in, my kids HAVE TO put their feet in the snow. I ask them not to because I don’t want snow all over my rugs or the inside my car. But what does it matter? The sensation I refer to as wetsock isn’t exactly the greatest, and they’re going to complain about their cold, wet feet, but so what? Dirt washes, snow melts, feet warm up.

2. Tilting the kitchen chair backwards. My brother used to do this all the time, and it drove my parents nuts. Dr. Sis and I sat on a bench at the kitchen table (perhaps to prevent this very thing. Hm). It’s futile to tell the girls to not tilt their chairs backwards. I’ve tried to give it up. If they fall backwards, it’s going to hurt. Actions have consequences.

3. JUMPING ON THE BED. Why oh why do children jump on the bed? Is it *because* it drives adults mad? For that matter, why does it drive adults mad (or at least me and Dan)? I want to not care about jumping on the beds. I guess it’s a complicated matrix: expensive furniture that may break, someone may fall and get hurt, the noise.

I have gotten better about a few things:

If my kids want to eat three yogurts, or five cheese sticks, or thirteen raw carrots (that would be Flora), I let them. I try to only limit chocolate and other sweets. You want three cut up apples? In a row? Before dinner? Have at it. (I have to cut M off from clementines, understandably.)

The giggling. Giggling sounds harmless, I know, and in general, giggling is good (so much better than bickering). But giggling when Flora is supposed to be doing her homework — irritates me. Also, giggling when they are supposed to be going to bed. Or eating dinner. Giggling when I wish they were getting a move on with other business — irritates me. I’m trying to get better.

Potty talk. *pshaw* Whatever. As long as they aren’t actually swearing, they can talk about butts, farts, pee, poop all they want. I ask them not to do it in public (loudly, at least); my ILs have a zero-tolerance policy on potty talk at family dinners; and I draw a line at name calling (i.e. poopy head).

There are some parenting things I need to lighten up on. Flora recently asked if I would get upset if she didn’t get married. I thought about it, and I told her that no, if she decided not to marry when she was a grown up, that wouldn’t make me mad at all.

Kate piped up, “But if you don’t get married, you can’t have children.” (I know, but just roll with it.)

Flora murmured, “I don’t know if I want kids.”

I was quiet for a long moment. (This was a “car talk,” by the way. Car talks are the best.) Then I said, “I make being a mommy look really hard, don’t I?”

Flora said, “Yes. It just seems like a lot of work!”

I decided then and there that it was important for me to make my experience of parenthood more fun. I have to laugh more and stop sweating the little stuff. I have to stop yelling (so much).

I have to stop caring about jumping on the bed.

What do you have to stop caring about?

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13 thoughts on “Things Kids Do

  1. Don’t stop caring about jumping on the bed. That’s an important one; I still bear the scars from when I did it, and The Girl Band broke her bed. Yes, that sweet kid you met the other day.

    But do have fun with your kids. Come hang around the three of us more often; open invite. We’d love to have you guys around. Since we became a threesome, we’ve had a LOT of fun. We like to share it.

    • Well, I probably can’t help caring, and I can point our the dangers (and threaten to empty their piggy banks if they break the bed), but they are going to keep doing it. Thanks for the open invite. Now to find some free time. 🙂

  2. Kevin made me promise not to make our kids wear shoes outside if they don’t want to. It annoys the crap out of him when his siblings demand that children wear shoes and coats, even when the weather doesn’t require it. I conceded, as long as they don’t just wear socks. I can deal with barefoot, but I think that muddy socks would send me over the edge.

  3. Same here w/the potty talk. Come on, its FUNNY! But has gotten me in trouble at school, bc they do it, then all the other kids do it, and, to quote the teacher “you then have 25 preschoolers talking about boogers in line for the bathroom”. To which I laughed. I couldn’t help it !

    I have given up on being tough about video game time. Ben loves it, I kept thinking it was bad. But he’s concentrating, he’s strategizing, he’s having to learn to share the tv, and he’s learning the theme song to Indiana Jones. Its way cute.

  4. I’m trying to stop worrying about matching clothes. Both kids are now old enough to have opinions on what they wear. Adding to potential for visual chaos is my husband who is color blind. (“Why did you get her purple socks?” “Isn’t that shirt purple?” “No.”) I used to try to “fix” these fashion atrocities. Now I let it go unless we’re doing family portraits. Luckily, we only do those one a year.

    • I let the girls dress themselves, for the most part. My requirement is that the clothing be weather appropriate. Otherwise it can clash wildly.

      What’s funny is M is usually the one saying, “Not dat, dat” when I’m grabbing his clothes in the morning. I have noticed, though, that it’s much more about texture. He really dislikes anything “scratchy”, and will throw a fit if I try to put khakis on him for instance. He wants soft, pull-on pants.

  5. I had to let go of being a dietary terrorist when they decided to get school lunches. I’m not there to police them, we don’t have junk food in the house, so if they eat three meals of McDonalds with their friends and get diarrhea and/or constipation at 16 and 17 they understand the consequences. I do not understand wearing shorts all the way through winter, but other than telling them to put on clothes rather than complain about how cold it is in the house I just ignore it. I Do Not Allow taking the Lord’s name in vain, however, and am very clear that if you use the Lord’s name you had better need Divine intervention.Once Tay at about 10 was excitedly standing on his office chair playing a video game and yelled “Jesus!”. He looked at me sheepishly and said “just asking for help!” I wish they were as good about following the rules now as they were then, but they know what they mean in how they act toward others.

    • I had a good run with the vegetarian thing, but Kate WANTS MEAT. I don’t want to make a huge deal out of it. Flora will probably always be a vegetarian (Flora likes rules and boundaries; Kate likes pushin’ ’em). It’s too soon to tell with M. I, too, don’t allow them to take the Lord’s name in vain.

      Talk about picking your battles! I guess it never ends. 🙂

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