Often enough, when one of the kdis throws a fit, Cate and I will joke about it to each other. The jokes are usually along the lines of how hard it is to be a kid because you get to play all day and you don’t really have any responsibilites and boy, wouldn’t that be nice.
But we also have conversations sometimes about how hard it is to be a kid. James has been a royal pain in the ass lately because he’s teething and not sleeping really well, and so he’s fussy and all that. His general buttheadedness has been kind of rough on Simone because she isn’t getting the attention we would like her to get. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not really suffering or anything, but she doesn’t get read to as much. We aren’t as patient with her.
She’s been reacting by being pretty cranky herself. Lots of fits about little stuff, which only tells us that she feels like she doesn’t have control over what is going on. And you know what? She doesn’t, and I bet it really sucks.
Think about it for minute. Imagine you come home and your spouse is too busy with work or whatever so he or she can’t really interact. Fine. You’re a grownup, you can cope with that. Maybe you decide to have a cup of coffee, but just as you start to get it together, your spouse chimes in that the coffee is needed for tomorrow so it will have to be tea. Okay, fine. Oh and wait, not that mug. No, you have to use this mug.
Why? Why can’t I pick my own damn mug?
You sit down to watch a little TV, but the show is bothering your spouse, so you have to turn it off. You pick up a book, but the spouse says know, I need that for research.
You decide to order dinner. The spouse shoots down everything except for the place you don’t like and the place you’ve been three times in a row.
You sick of this yet? This is the life of a kid. The only difference is, they often don’t understand our reasons even if we try to explain it.
It is really hard. I wouldn’t want to do that. If Cate acted like the spouse I descibed, I’d have told her to go to hell and then gone and gotten the dinner I wanted and she could fend for herself, thank you very much. Kids, of course, can’t do that.
A month or so ago, Simone and I were at a local park together while Cate and James were off at a baby-wearing function. It’s a big park with lots of woods and a nice walking path. We started at a little playground and Simone had fun, but after a while, she was ready to explore.
I let her take charge and we went from tree to tree so she could try to climb them. Then she was ready to go into the woods and explore. She was adamant that she stay in the lead, which was fine with me. She took us down one path and than another and then another. It was kind of sticky and there were bugs in spots, but it was mostly pretty nice. It was quieter than usually get in the city and she was having fun exploring and being in charge for a change.
And then I looked up and saw a white-tailed doe with her fawn. I stopped and pointed them out to Simone. We looked at them for a moment, I snapped a few pictures and we kept going down the path. Much to my surprise, however , the path curved, and we ended up circling the deer. We got closer and closer. At our nearest point, we were maybe 10 or 15 feet away. They were reasonably tame from living so close to lots of people. They skittered around, but didn’t run.
It was all very cool and Simone had a ball and was very happy and I felt very close to her.
As a parent, trying to teach a kid how to be a person, it’s easy to forget that it has been a long time since someone told me what path I could go down or how much TV I could watch or how much ketchup I could have. I’m an adult. I do what I want. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “If I want a cookie, I’m having a cookie.”
Sometimes, we have to let our kids have cookies. Life is better when we do.