Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Post: Belle-sœur Piper (French for sister-in-law)

Hi! I'm Geneva's Sister-in-law. You can call me Piper. She asked me to
guest post while she was gone. She said I could write about anything,
so I'm totally going to unload my most recent drama on you, and then
bring it around to a heartwarming moral conclusion. It's gonna be
great! Check it out:

I have two kids, Nils
and Walter
. Walter, the youngest started preschool this year. The
first week was great. He was excited about everything, and had a
blast, and was perfectly behaved. Around Wedesday of the second week
Walter pitched a fit when I tried to drop him off. He wailed, and he
clung to me, and he screwed up his face to look miserable. All in all
it was a rather convincing spectacle. But having lived with Walter for
the past 4 years I could spot the flashes of a grin between the wails,
and I could smell the lie a mile away.
The little punk was putting on an act. He wanted to see what he could
get me to do. If he could get me to fawn over him. If he could get me
really agitated. Maybe he could even get me to take him home and let
him play computer games all afternoon. I wasn't having any of that, so
I peeled him off of me and walked away. Meanwhile he stood in the
doorway and wailed at me while the other parents looked on.
When I went to pick him up his teacher confirmed what I suspected. The
minute I was out of sight he was fine, and had a great time. I felt
totally vindicated. The trouble is, he's made a habit of putting on
this display every day. And yeah, I don't care what other people think
of me, and sticks and stones, and blah blah blah. But the dirty looks
and comments from the other parents are actually starting to eat at
While drowning my sorrows in a packet of Oreos I asked myself, "What
do they know!?! How many kids do they have? I have more kids
than they do! I'm way more experienced!" And it is true, the dirtiest
looks have been coming from parents of only children. "But,"
interjected that little voice in my head, "having two kids hardly
makes you a parenting expert. Would a mother of ten kids giving
you dirty looks be any different, really?"
After sitting and stewing on the subject I reached my conclusion.
Having two kids has taught me something that I probably
wouldn't have known with just one, and here's what it is: "Everyone is
different (No
two people are not on fire.
My two kids are totally different. One is super-serious, detail
oriented, socially awkward, and very thoughtful. The other is very
cheerful, loves people, manipulative, and affectionate. When I hear
people say that boys and girls are SO DIFFERENT! I laugh, point at my
kids, and say "boys and boys are so different." I don't think
they could be more different if we'd tried.
Back to parenting: What works with one of my kids doesn't work with
the other. They have totally different goals, motivations, priorities,
and strategies for getting what they want out of life. Here's the
important part: I can't extrapolate my experience with my older kid
and expect that it will be the same with my younger kid. The same
thing applies to the other parents at the preschool. They can't assume
that what is true in their experience will necessarily be true about
other kids.
So, the moral is that you are the expert on parenting your kids. If
you've put the effort into knowing your kid, caring for them, and
loving them, then all the dirty looks in the world can't turn you into
a bad parent.


Katie said...

I agree. And what works for one kid today might not work for them tomorrow! They sure like to keep us on our toes!

Julianne said...

That book by Strong Bad is excellent.

ACW said...

I have a 2 year old and I don't have ANY answers to child-rearing. And I won't give a dirty look EVER! All I'm going to do is ask if they could use some help.

jeanene c said...

If kids are numbers on a clock face, my first 2 were noon and six as far as personalities and abilities were concerned. Totally opposite. The 3rd was at 2:30 and the 4th was at 8:30. number five was in the middle. But that is where the fun is. Try filming him. Show it to him later, when he is calm and ask him what you should do to make it easier on you both. Can't hurt.. much.

Emily Z said...

Totally agreed. I may not have *any* kids, but I've worked in the Nursery for the past...oh...7 years? (cripes, has it been that long??)

Whether or not they're faking it, every kid is different. Some are distracted easily once Mom and Dad are gone. Some will start hyperventilating and *need* Mom to stay so they can get comfortable. Some can be talked to and accept explanations that Mommy has to go now, but she will pick you up after class.

Sometimes I've had parents with a wailing child ask with concerned eyes if they need to stay, and it's almost amusing how many times they're shocked when I tell them "No, he'll be fine." Most times kids really *are* just looking for attention and confirmation that they're the most important part of their parents' world.

Of course, there is the occasional child who *isn't* fine, and really ought not be left. Those are usually kids with deep-seated separation anxiety. Leaving them wailing will only make that worse. But out of the (guessing, off the top of my head) thirty plus kids I've had go through my Nursery, I'd say only 3 or 4 fit this description.


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