Everyone knows being a parent is hard work - but no one ever tells you about the way they will embarrass you when they are young. I'm very familiar with this concept since I work with children. One of my favorite moments was during a parent child class. It was a few years ago, when women were wearing ridiculously low rise jeans. Because of this fashion statement we frequently saw more of the moms than we wanted to see. One day a little girl ran up behind another Mom who was sitting on a mat (let me be clear...this was not her Mom) and stuck her finger in the 4 inches of butt crack that were looming above her waist band.
Now things like that are funny when it is not your child - mortifying when it is your child. I have a few of those moments myself. One great moment was when Nicole was about 2. I was standing in line at the pharmacy, waiting to pick up my pre-natal vitamins....Nicole was standing quietly next to me, when I started to hear some of the other line dwellers snickering. I looked around, the snickering was getting louder - they were all watching Nicole. Nicole was playing with a long "ribbon" of condoms that were hanging from her coat pocket. I was slightly horrified - but more so when she looked up at me and said "Look, Momma, they're shiny." at which point everyone burst out laughing.
Another moment is one that is truly mixed with pride and just a sprinkling of embarrassment. Kristen has always been a girl with some attitude. She was constantly asking questions and if you replied, "I don't know" she would say "Well, think about it." (It was the way she would say it that was funny.) One day, after dropping Nicole off at preschool, Kristen and I went to the post office. There is always a line at the post office. If you don't have children let me fill you in on a little child development tidbit: children are not built to wait in lines. It is a physical impossibility. So, while I was waiting in line Kristen kept running back and forth between me and the display of postcards and stationery hanging on the slat wall. Several of the packages of postcards had fallen onto the shelf below - just at her height - so she would pick them up, show them to me, then put them back on the shelf.
During Kristen's show and tell activity an elderly lady and her adult son came in. The son began watching Kristen running the postcards back and forth. He came over and tapped me on the shoulder, "She shouldn't be doing that." he said. His voice was very deep and garbled. It was clear he had some mental/physical disabilities. I told him, "It's okay - she always puts them back." He watched for a few minutes, clearly not pleased with my answer. He then went over to Kristen and told her she should go back to her mommy. I was afraid she would cry - his voice was very deep and unusual. Instead she put her hands on her hips leaned forward and screamed "STOP TOUCHING ME." The man took a step back, looked at his mother, looked back at Kristen's angry face and then he started to cry. Although I felt badly for this disabled man, I was quite proud of Kristen. No one was going to mess with her!! My Mom always says girls need to be feisty...Kristen has that covered!
One of the most memorable moments is certainly not one of my most stellar parenting moments - but the girls and I still laugh about it.
When Kristen was 2 she became quite a hitter. Her target - there was only one - Nicole. Kristen would tell us that she wasn't hitting...they were smaps. Love smaps. She just liked to give Nicole very firm love smaps - as if changing the name made it ok. Nicole did not like the love smaps and neither did I. In an attempt to end the "smapping" I followed all of the parenting rules - I was consistent, calm and quick to respond. I tried taking away privileges...for weeks...no effect. We turned to time-outs.....again weeks of no success. One particularly bad day I resorted to... brace yourself...spanking. Now I didn't do it in anger - but I didn't know what else to try. So, very calmly, I said to Kristen, "If you hit your sister again I am going to have to give you a spanking. Do you know what a spanking is? It's when you get hit on your bum. I don't want to give you a spanking. Do you want to get a spanking?" "No," she replied "I don't. I won't hit anymore." But of course 2 minutes later she "smapped" Nicole. "Uh oh, Kristen...do you remember what was going to happen if you hit Nicole again?" "Don't do it Mom. I'll be nice." she said. "I'm sorry, sweetie - but you knew what would happen."
I then told her to come over to me and I laid her across my lap. I spanked her very, VERY gently at which point Nicole burst into tears and yelled, "Don't hurt my sister!!" This caused Kristen to start to cry and I quickly followed suit. The three of us sat on the couch crying and hugging each other. We decided hitting was a bad idea and none of us was ever going to do it again. She never hit again after that....and neither did I.