When you look at your child, do you hear that little voice telling you for a brief moment, “He is perfect,” and then it goes silent when he yells at the top of his lungs leaving your ears ringing? It happens to me every day, many times a day.
A day in the life of a four year old is like a day at a Disney theme park. The range of emotions go from excitement to frustration at the speed of light, and we, the parents, well moms mostly, survive these 24 hours under the influence of pure love; dads simply are deaf or immune to any kind of whining. My husband would say, “What? Did he say something?“
A dear friend once told me something about motherhood: “You don’t raise your kids for you; you raise them for the world.” The love of a parent will put up with anything.
Therefore, my life’s mission is to raise my son with goodness, manners and compassion. I can’t measure the satisfaction it gives me to hear him say “Please” and Thank you” to us at home or to strangers, especially when these words seem to have disappeared from humanity’s vocabulary.
Also, I can’t help but glow with pride like an “Open” neon sign when he takes his cup to the sink and puts his snack wrap in the trash without me telling him to do so. Nonetheless, I keep catching myself often expecting him to be perfect forgetting that he is only four years old, and not a member of an Alzheimer’s research team.
For example, last week when I collected my son from school, the teacher’s assistant told me that he was having trouble holding the scissors and cutting in general. A few minutes later, I went inside the building to get him and on our way out, his teacher approached me in the drive way and gently asked me, “Do you think you can work with him at home about not calling his friends poo-poo head when he is playing?” I wanted the ground to swallow me whole.
When I got in the car, I took a deep breath and I thought, “This is just great. My son has his Dad’s fine motor skills and my big mouth!“.
Then, I put on my serious face and turned to speak to him. I asked him, “Do you know what your teacher just told me?” He lowered his head and said yes. I explained to him that some kids get their feelings hurt when he calls them names and that if he kept doing it, they wouldn’t play with him anymore. He said he understood and we drove home.
During the ride home, I maintained my “upset face” so he would understand that what he did was against the “good boy” rules. However, a few minutes later I calmed down and thought, didn’t we all call our friends names when we were playing and goofing around? That’s was part of the fun of growing up!
Although the name calling at school is wrong, I have to excuse my little man. He is growing up with a father, who loves and cherishes him more than anything in the world. But if he falls playing, he only cuddles him if there is blood streaming down from the wound. They are guys; they play rough, wrestle and call each other names all day. That’s their “tough guys” bond.
A couple of days after my “reality check” with my son’s imperfections, I opened his school folder, and it contained a sheet of paper where he wrote his name and a his teacher wrote in caps “WOW” next to it. Then later that night, I received an email also from his teacher telling me that his cutting skills had improved and asked me if we had been practicing at home.
The reality is that yes, we did practice cutting at home a couple of times–against his will off course–and also talked about the name calling. I explained that his actions have consequences, such as losing TV privileges.
The irony of it is that, children learn faster than adults. I tend to expect results without making an effort–like fitting into a size 4 while I continue to eat white bread and chocolate everyday. In conclusion, I know my son is not perfect, but he sure is good enough for me, and the best part, he is my work in progress.
Thank you for reading and sharing.