For today’s reading enjoyment we are going to observe the language patterns of the North American parent. For those of you without children, just sit back and laugh at us.The following are statements regular stated by parents to children:
“Stop whatever it is you are doing.” – This is usually said when multiple children are involved with one another. You, as the parent don’t even have to be in the room or know what is going on, but you hear snickering, giggling, or fighting nearby. You’ve been around the block long enough to know those particular sounds are only going to lead to mischief or mayhem, so without even investigating the situation you say, in your sternest voice possible, “Please stop doing whatever it is you are doing.” Even though you don’t know the specifics of what’s going on, you KNOW it’s not going to end well and it needs to be put to a stop to immediately.
“I don’t care what they did and who did it first.” This is usually announced by parents who have multiple children over the age of 5. When their kids are young, parents will take the time to investigate the argument, the individual cases to be presented by each child, and then come to a wise and well thought out decision about what exactly happened and who was responsible. As a younger parent, you’re more apt to be a district attorney, (imagine watching Law and Order). When you’re a more veteran parent you neither have the time or patience to go down that rabbit hole, which ends up in things like “She started it” and the ever popular “No I didn’t”, so you say “I don’t care what happened or who is responsible, just STOP IT!” Veteran parents are more likely to be a like Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino who just growled at the anyone who bothered him. That’s veteran parenting for you, baby!
“What is wrong with you?” At some point in your parenting you are going to ask your children this question…a lot. You’re going to be genuinely baffled as to why they chose a course of action that led to their near death experience, financial ruin, or destruction of the house. The answer you will get, of course, is “I don’t know“, which doesn’t help you at all. The best thing to help you through this situation is to recognize it’s coming. The more educated you are as to the confounding ignorance you’re going to have to deal with, the less shocked you will be when it actually happens. Below are some variations of the “What’s wrong with you” question:
- Q: Why did you eat that used lollipop you found on the floor at Wal-Mart? A: I don’t know.
- Q: Why did you take your sister’s toy out of her room when she and I both specifically told you not to do that? A: Um…I don’t know.
- Q: Why did you touch the grille after I told you it was hot and showed you that it was hot and warned you that it would burn the skin off your fingers? Why? A: (In tears) I don’t know!
Like I said, there’s no good answer on how to handle this. As a parent just try to keep your children, these future leaders of the world, in one piece until their common sense genes kick in, (which may or may not ever happen. Sorry).
My name is not Mommy/Daddy. Imagine you are surrounded all day by tiny little people who need you 99% of the time during a 24 hour period. Imagine that these tiny little people feel compelled to ask you directly for their needs all the time. Then imagine that these tiny people, while hanging off your clothes say just one thing over and over again, all day long. “Momma. Mommy. Mom. Ma, Mommy, Mom, Mommy, Ma, Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy!!!” Parents, specifically mothers, can take about 75 of these “mommy calls”, but after the 75th time things start to go downhill rapidly. If it gets really bad, Mommy may make an announcement to all parties in the household that her name is no longer mommy and furthermore she will not be providing her new name to anyone for their use. At this point it would probably be best for the children AND the husband to go to bed as quickly and quietly as possible and not ask any more silly questions of the female formerly known as mommy.
For people without children, this is what we live with all the time. Pity us. Feel sorry for us. Give us your loose change. We live with confused, tattle-tailing, I don’t know why, constantly instigating little people. Is there any point to it? Is there any purpose? Yes. God redeem even the worst days of parenting to– “HEY, HEY! I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU AND YOUR SISTER ARE DOING UNDER THE BED WITH THE DOG BUT I KNOW IT’S NOT GOOD. I DON’T CARE WHOSE IDEA IT WAS. WHY WERE YOU DOING IT? NEVER MIND. STOP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING, PUT THE MATCHES BACK WHERE YOU FOUND THEM, AND LEAVE THE DOG ALONE. WHERE’S YOUR MOTHER ANYWAY?”
…Now where was I again?