Nope, this is not going to be one of those dire warnings about the top seven things you should never, ever say to your kids or you will permanently mess them up and be stuck with the therapy bill!!!!
This is a bit lighter. You think you have some clue what you’re doing as a parent (maybe), and then you get blindsided with something that you didn’t even consider could be a problem. Some examples:
1. “Spit it out already!” Crash, especially when excited, will repeat himself for a minute before getting to the point. Once, I made the mistake of annoyedly telling him, “Spit it out already, buddy!” Since I was gesturing with my hand up, about at his mouth level, he promptly tried to spit into it.
“Figure of speech” is a difficult concept to explain to a five-year-old.
2. “Rub dirt in it!” Playing in the yard with Big Dummy (a German Shepherd), Crash got scratched. I wiped the dirt off, verified that it was not actually bleeding, and sent Crash back out to play. Ten minutes later, he’s back on the deck, thumping around, and complaining that his leg is bleeding and can’t he have a snack? No, go play, I told him, reverifying that the leg was not bleeding. DH added, “Rub dirt in it, buddy!”
“But Diva already did, and it still hurts!” Crash replied.
As experienced parents, we know you’re allowed to laugh until you shake, but not laugh out loud. 😉
3. Why you shouldn’t let your kids watch too many documentaries: they get ideas. I went upstairs to sing to everyone, as required. Empress was snoring, Diva was half asleep, but Crash was waiting for me, his Webkinz bald eagle sitting on his chest.
“Momma, my eagle can’t sleep.”
“Really, buddy? What’s the matter?”
“He needs one of those hoods we saw on TV to help him calm down and sleep.”
“Uh huh. Will tomorrow morning be ok?”
“No, he can’t sleep now.”
I’m a sucker for smart kids. Hence, the eagle hood, in Amerian flag motif, of course. From watching documentaries on China, including the Mongolian who trained and hunted with golden eagles.
The eagle seemed much calmer today.
4. Why you shouldn’t let your kids (especially active ones) watch Kung Fu Panda on bath night. Crash, in the shower, by himself… doing kung fu. It took a bit, but we did get the bleeding from the gouge in his chin to stop. The pediatrician saw the scar the other day, during Crash’s annual check-up, and asked what happened. To her credit, she laughed and said something about his being remarkably coordinated, active, and well-suited for lots of sports.
5. “Come on, honey, you know you want to lick the bear!”
(Come on, you know you’re trying to figure that one out!) Empress has a bear with towel-like fur, which substituted for the towels she liked to lick as a pacifier in China (in China, we read, it is normal to use cloth as pacifiers). So, even now, she has to have the bear to sleep. As she approaches dropping off, her tongue sticks out and wiggles. If we can get the bear near enough to the tongue, a nap is guaranteed.
Yet another thing they don’t tell you in the parenting books.
6. The trials of caring for stuffed animals. When she was younger, Diva carried her favorite otter everywhere. Not that anyone could really tell it was an otter anymore; the fur has that Velveteen Rabbit look, i.e. the fur has been loved to a state of nappiness that only Diva could love. Anyways, when she was potty training, she apparently decided that the otter needed to do a better job than she was.
Half-way to church one morning, the announcement came from the back seat: “Ottie need to poop!”
I had been through this routine before. Suggesting a pretend potty in the back seat didn’t work. Ignoring her was quite counterproductive, if your goal was quiet. Telling the Ottie to wait was useless.
I reached back, grabbed the proferred otter, held its butt to the window (fortunately, Diva did not demand that the windows be rolled down for extra realism on the process) and said, “Poop, poop, poop! Good job, Otter, putting the poop where you should!” and handed it back. My husband looked at me like I had finally lost my mind.
After observing this once while visiting, my dad commented, “Oh, is that why the windows look like they do?”
7. More dangers of documentaries: plush animal fights. While watching Planet Earth, Crash decided he just had to go get his shark to watch the “Making of” mini-documentary about filming the sharks. When he got back down, the shark was hungry. Trying to be helpful, I pointed out that Diva has a Webkinz seal. Crash looked, but couldn’t find it. Diva chimed in to offer that the seal was in her room.
Crash came downstairs with his shark holding the seal in its mouth. Diva ignored him.
I suggested the shark really needed to shake the seal harder, like the Great Whites scarfing down seals on the documentary, or the seal would escape. (DH laughed, “Oh, that’s just wrong!”) Crash complied with enthusiasm.
Diva shreiked and fighting ensued.
So, of course, having lost his shark’s dinner, Crash wanted to go to the local aquarium to buy a small plush seal from the gift shop so his shark has something to eat. Couldn’t find one. Even better: a plastic seal on wheels that zips and spins across the floor for chasing.
For some reason, the checkout ladies looked at me funny. I wanted to ask them, “Well, what do you think sharks eat? Tofu?”
For more 7 Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary… especially for the explanation of why her husband had to be rescued off a mountain by helicopter last week. I was going to say “for more normal and/or helpful sets of 7 Quick Takes”, but nothing on my list made the TV news. 😉