This may come as a surprise to you – I know it did me! – but parenting is all about lessons.
You may have rolled your eyes or considered leaving the blog all together after the first line. OF COURSE parenting is about lessons.
Did you know YOU, the parent, are the one being schooled?
If you don’t believe me, you either don’t have children or you’ve been blinded by empty nests and adorable grandchildren.
Charli has been my greatest teacher. I don’t mean to discredit my parents, family or many teachers who had the pleasure of educating me throughout my life. She challenges me in subjects not taught in school.
To demonstrate, I’ll highlight two major events from last week.
Friday, October 25
HOS was at a bachelor party, so I made plans to spend time with my sister and my niece. Naturally, we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner since the man was out, so we loaded up and went to Outback Steakhouse. Now, I’m not naive enough to think eating in a public restaurant will ever go smoothly with a toddler, but things were off to a good start! The waitress brought Charli some animal cookies (WHAT?!), which was awesome! Then she wanted some of the bread. … Oh, and the blooming onion looked good.
By the time our dinner was served, Charlotte was full.
Lesson 1: Toddlers really need to eat real food, not the junk I fill up on every day.
Of course, now that she was full, she was bored. Her favorite past-time while stuck in a high chair is to throw as much food on the floor as possible and then lean over and point at it. She points to the food on your plate and says “mmmmm!” Puts the bite in her mom, and then BAM! on the floor.
Sippy cup? SMASH! on the floor.
Adhesive place-mat? FLUTTERS! on the floor. (That was not nearly as dramatic, but equally frustrating.)
I quickly became “that mom who brought her baby who made a mess so she tipped me extra because she felt bad.” Honestly, do waiters/waitresses love/hate me as much as I think they do?
Lesson 2: Patience. (This is an ongoing lesson that I doubt ever really ends.)
Sunday, October 27
HOS was picking up a conference table for his new office and I needed to run to The Toy Store to find a book for a baby shower that afternoon, so Charlotte came with me. I LOVE books. I may have been a little distracted because I found a series of books made out of recycled paper and the green side of me became far too excited. I kept glancing over at Charli who was playing with the books on a wall shelf. Then it happened. It had to happen. She tripped. … Fell … And smacked her head on the wire shelf holding the books.
Lesson 3: Don’t leave children semi-unattended in the store (or ever, really).
That’s not even the worst part. I saw all of this happening, and what do I do? Drop the books and yell,
and swoop her up into my arms in time for her to progress from open-mouth silent scream to actual, real-life blood-curdling scream. *sigh*
Lesson 4: Cussing loudly in a store filled with parents and kids is not socially acceptable (even when warranted).
It is important to note that while Charli sustained a minor indention and subtle bruise, she was ok!
So you see, parenting is filled with lessons.
You’ll learn to be more patient than you ever imagined. You’ll learn what you should and shouldn’t do for/with/to your kids (I didn’t even mention the buffalo chicken incident. Oops..). Most importantly, you’ll learn to not care what other people think about your style of parenting. You’ll occasionally forget that you don’t care, but you’ll relearn over and over that you are the only one who knows what’s best for your child.
Even if you do embarrass yourself and your child in the process.