I had spent years people-watching other parents doing it the totally wrong way. How could I not learn from their example? When it came to parenting, I was set.
Then I had a kid.
And I quickly decided that sanity wins over principle and quiet wins over not letting my 2 year old watch Sesame Street. (What the hell is it about Elmo, anyways? It's like he has magical powers over toddlers!)
So now, after less than 2 years as a parent, with all my principles, high expectations and lofty ideas stripped away, I give you my:
Top 5 Things I Swore I Would Never Do As A Parent. . . Yet I do.
- Use toddler speak. I promised myself that I would never use baby talk, and when Bjorn was a baby, the words "paci" and "baa-baa (bottle)" never once crossed my lips. But this no baby talk directive stopped the moment he began using words. With speech, instead of him following me, I get caught up and actually follow his lead. "Sessee. Sessee Seet. Peeeease." he says. "You want to watch Sessee Seet? Ok. Let's turn on some Mel-mo." Nothing with proper pronunciation, only Bjorn-speak.
- Use toddler speak with other adults. Unfortunately, these speech patterns have crept into other aspects of my life. No longer do I excuse myself from a date night dinner with The Hubs to "use the restroom". Now, I have to "go potty". It is only with extreme restraint that I stop myself from explaining that I have to go "pee pee" or "poo poo".
- Give in to tantrums. Oh yeah, you heard me. Give in to them. Now, I'm not advocating giving into them all the time, nor am I saying that just because you are in public/alone with no one to help deal with it that you should show them that tantrums = results. But sometimes, when the giving in hurts your pride more than your principles ("No, you cannot wear your galoshes to the store; it's a 102 degrees out there and your feet will sweat and you will cry and. . . . oh hell. I let him wear the boots and when he starts to complain, I take 'em off. The kid is 2. He can go shoe-less.) it can be worth it to give in. Because everyone likes to win every once in a while, and if it doesn't happen often, and it doesn't become a habit, then what is the harm? Sticking to your guns 100% of the time can be frustrating and exhausting - for both you and the kid.
- Let the kid watch some TV. It is about to be summer in Phoenix, which means 120+ days that boil even the coolest swimming pool. At that point, it it just too.damn.hot to be outside - or even to get into your car to go somewhere cooler. And there are only so many puzzles/books/cars I can play with before I have to throw the kiddo in front of Handy Manny and grab a moment to myself. TV is not the devil, and I won't treat it as if its the worst thing he could be doing. Go ahead and watch some TV, Bjorn. I like TV - why shouldn't you?!
- Go to the store - even Walmart - in sweats and without makeup. This is something I never did before. Even my gym workout called for a cute outfit, mascara and lip gloss. Not anymore. The days I don't wear makeup now outnumber the days I actually do - and most of those days are when I go to work, where makeup is required. (Yes, required!) These days, I won't win a spot on People Magazines Most Beautiful People, but I don't think I'm going to be asked onto What Not To Wear anytime soon.