I like to think of myself as the #World’sBestMom. Okay, maybe not, but at least I was creative in my parenting. For example, in the ongoing effort to
civilize the little savages teach life lessons to my children, when they were Iittle I sometimes mimicked their unacceptable behavior rather than asking (or forcing) them to stop whatever it was they were doing.
Once when my youngest was having a full-blown physical and emotional tantrum, I dramatically threw myself face-first onto the family room carpet, thrashed my arms and legs about wildly and screamed like a maniac in order to illustrate just how silly he looked. The little fellow was so taken aback by my outrageous display that he immediately stopped screaming, stared at me like I was insane and started laughing. Tantrum averted.
I employed a similar strategy on another occasion when my oldest son lied to me. He was five or six years old and it was the first time he’d ever lied to me. I can’t remember the details, but I remember it crushed me. CRUSHED. ME.
The next day when I retrieved him from school, as I strapped him into his booster seat I told him we were going to stop at McDonald’s for an ice cream cone on the way home. He was understandably very excited about this unexpected special treat on what was otherwise just another ordinary day.
As we approached McDonald’s, his gleeful anticipation was palpable and then without a word, I drove right by the entrance.
“Mommy, you passed McDonald’s.”
“But you said we were getting ice cream on the way home.”
“But we didn’t stop and you said…”
A brief silence, save for the sound of my son’s lungs inflating, preempted his tearful eruption.
“I b-b-be-lieved you an-an-and you lied t-t-t-to meeeeeeeee.”
“Mommy, you hurt my feeeeeelings…”
“Are you angry with me?”
“Yes. I’m angry. An-an-and v-v-v-very upset.”
“Are you sad?”
“Y-y-y-y-essssss because I b-b-be-lieved you an-an-and you lied t-t-t-to meeeeeee.”
“I’m sorry I lied to you and I don’t want you to be sad, but remember when you lied to me yesterday? How you’re feeling right now is how I felt when you lied to me. Now do you understand how lying hurts people?”
In the end, we made a U-turn, backtracked to McDonald’s and had a nice conversation about honesty over soft serve ice cream cones. That was 20 years ago and while he’s not perfect, it gives me great joy to proclaim he’s one of the most trustworthy and honest people I know.
You might be judging me. You may think my methods are extreme…more bizarre than they are creative. You may even consider them to be a bit cruel (ok, I admit I felt really bad about the ice cream thing), but they worked. My boys are responsible, independent, pleasantly hygienic adults with very good manners. And I choose to believe all the crazy stuff I did including (but not limited to) belching in public, wearing my hat backwards, bad table manners and parading around the house with my pants hiked so low that my underwear poked out from the waistband had something – perhaps even a lot – to do with the outcome.
#World’sBestMom. Okay, maybe not, but I’ll settle for #World’sBestSons.
SPECIAL NOTE TO MY KIDS: Thankfully you both know better than to post inappropriate selfies on social media because seriously… THIS. GUY. IS. MY. HERO. #dadbod #dadselfie
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