Parenting? That’s kid’s stuff!

Now manners? That’s another story.

There’s nothing like encouraging early childhood developmental milestones to remind a busy lady and hapless parent that she still has some capabilities in life. And some room for improvement.

Latest es-kid-pades in our house? Little L – who will be 5 in January – has a new love for three new activities – balance biking, building, and reading all by himself. I thought it’d never happen and suddenly he does all three things at once. Oh yeah, and he’s listening. a LOT.

Of course, it’s not all wine and roses (er . . apple juice and daffodils?).

Heard a few weeks ago during routine play: “NOOOO!!!!!! It’s not WOR-KING!!!!!! AAAAAAGGGGH!” Tears. Lots of tears. Flailing.

L was converting his “Lego Creator” plane into the helicopter. Compared to 5 months ago when he’d give up on Lego in a huff, this time he was painstakingly following the instructions to make this little tiny creation. No sooner had I taken a break to nuzzle with my 19-month-old daughter R when I heard the blood curdling scream, the horror-stricken rendering of my older child’s utter fear of failures in life. And all this for a mini Lego set. The pieces just weren’t fitting together as he expected.

Well surprise surprise, it’s one thing to be able to live vicariously through a child — many times pure bliss. But this time coming in as the big strong adult also can make you feel pretty grand. Never fear, son, Mom is here!

I know what you’re thinking. Don’t DO it, mom! First of all, you’re not letting him explore the toy, learn his mistakes, figure it out.  From his point of view it was all, “Don’t DO it, mom!! You’re messing it up! It’s all falling apart!”

Yes, I probably should have let him struggle through the thing a bit more but I think there are some times when you can intervene, especially if your kid has been trying his utmost to fix a piece for the past 15 minutes. We don’t need every minute to be innately frustrating do we? And I was pretty impressed with is zest for Legos — didn’t want to quash that.  So mommy stepped in and  used her spatial skills to fix the pieces, and he went back quietly on his way to completing the creation.  Some things just must be done.

And then there was this week with Legos.  Far from wanting to follow the instructions, L was giddy with laughter as he willfully veered away from the instructions as he built his tiny alligator. “Look, mom! He has SIX EYES! Isn’t that silly?”  Oh the joy.

Just in case you're not sure what you're looking at, this is an Alligator with many eyes and rocket launchers. And he spins.
Just in case you’re not sure what you’re looking at, this is an Alligator with many eyes and rocket launchers. And he spins.

Sigh. it’s always a fun adventure. And then there’s my little girl R who screeches “It’s MINE!!! i want it!” for nearly everything when all of a sudden the next moment she is quietly telling me she needs to go potty and is proud of herself for washing her hands and grabbing the soap “I needa da sooooap . . . ” She’s a pistol one moment and then the next she is nuzzled up to me, throwing her cheek against my chin and averting her eyes from the gaze of onlookers.  So tweet, my little bird, you are!

And then there’s the room for improvement for mom — my latest adventure in NOT doing right is when I answer the phone.  About 50% of the time when we answer the home phone it’s a solicitation from someone looking for the “head of the household” or the “person responsible for the electric bill.” Excuse me! I have a name and unfortunately no you’re not going to talk to the head of the household. But as the phone call sets my temper aflame I’m immediately aware that if I react rudely I’m not only giving myself hypertension, but I’m also (more importantly) setting a very bad example for my kids about how to talk to strangers on the phone. I need to work on the task of warding off phone solicitors without looking like the grouchy old mommy that I sometimes am.  Any advice on how to proceed?

Time for bed and to enjoy sleepy time. Every day gives opportunities for improvement. At least I can rest assured that there always will be another unsolicited call where I can learn to practice my manners.