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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peas In A Pod

As adults we tend to obsess over the smallest things when it comes to our children. Kids should get more credit for being the flexible things that they are. Even under the most difficult circumstances kids can adapt and weather the storm while all the adults are literally pulling their hair out and begging for rocks to fall upon them. I had a friend once who was VERY obsessive over reading parenting books and about "learning to be a parent". She spent way too much time trying to do things by the book, that her natural parenting skills never really kicked in. I had listened her psychobabble and whining until I wanted to have her committed. One day she called me totally upset. She had successfully taken her daughters pacifier away but afterward she read an article that said she had done it wrong way. So what does she do???? I kid you not, she dug that pacifier out and followed the procedure explained in the article. It completely sent her child into a full fledged melt down. Hmm, the article didn't have a chapter for the meltdown. So what does she do? She calls me!! Because I may not be "college educated" but she knew I parented with a heavy dose of common sense. She just didn't know "How do you know this stuff?" (Heavy eye roll from me)"I use my brain." (slight smirk). So she tells me about the meltdown and how she is pretty certain that her child is going to need therapy during her early adult years because of the trauma of having her Binky brought back from the dead only to be ceremoniously thrown in the trash(I agree with the therapy part)."Jac, what should I do?" I asked her.... "Do you have a bunch of parenting magazines and parenting books lying around the house?" "Oh yeah, I have a ton of parenting literature." "Okay." I said.... "You need to gather all of them up (be sure not to miss one), gather them in your arms and go to the front door.... Open the front door and walk to the trash bin and toss them in. Then you need to set fire to them and vow never to pick another one up as long as you live!" Long stretch of silence.... Small chuckle... "You think that's the problem?" she asked... "Oh there is no doubt in my mind that is the problem. You had this hurdle passed until you read something in a book and instead of trusting your instincts, you relied on the book which screwed everything up. You have got to trust your instincts!" As a parent I want to protect my children and try my best to explain things to them in a way they will understand. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you just don't know the best way to present things to them. For instance.... When my oldest 2 children where very young, 7 and 4, we discovered my husband had a son from a previous relationship. Yeah, it's the kind of revelation you watch on a soap opera, not something that happens in real life. Except it did happen in real life and regardless of the circumstances surrounding the discovery, we were faced with the task of not only getting to know this child, but also introducing him to his brother and sister.To say things were awkward would be an understatement. Trust me.... I haven't found a parenting book yet that discusses this type of situation. It's one of those things that leave you no options except to just lay down the honest to God truth. So we sat the kids down and as gently as possible told them that they had an older brother that they would be meeting soon. We answered any questions they had, which were very few, and then they skipped off to continue tormenting each other the way they always did. I looked at my husband, he looked at me and we both kind of sighed and said... "That wasn't so bad." Of course in the back of my mind I know that they don't really understand. As an adult I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around it so I knew they probably didn't really get it, and I considered that a blessing of sorts. I honestly don't remember what we were doing the first time he joined our family. I just remember having these 3 little heads all sitting in the back seat and my husband and I sitting in the front seat, literally on pins and needles. I had planned an activity although I can't remember what it was. I just remember us driving and shortly after we got underway it started. The three kids, complete strangers, begin chatting away like magpies. The longer they talked the more animated they became. From listening to them you would have never known that they were strangers. Through the years they all became very close and it always amazed me how they came together like peas in a pod in spite of being raised separately for so long. That's just kids for you. They have a way of adapting with ease. Having my children adapt helped me adapt. Watching them communicate as siblings always brought a smile to my face.... I was the pod, they were the peas, knit closely together cause that's just natures way.

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