Friday, March 18, 2011

Keep your eyes steady

It's been awhile, I know. But spring is here and I gotta get this garden going, blog or no blog. That said, you're probably not going to like what I've got to say. Let's talk parenting for just a second. I am fully aware of the difficulties of raising children at every stage of the game. My ten-year-old is morphing into a moody teenager as we speak. Her grumpy factor is up 900000 percent and her attitude, well, she is the only person on earth who can boil my blood in 5 seconds flat. Really boil. More so than than any unfaithful man or colicky baby ever has (or useless "tech support" operators from Bangladesh). I even said something to her about it. Yeah, that worked.

"Anna, your attitude sucks this week. If you're gonna act like this all week, you might as well stay in your room and make everybody a little happier."

"Whatever. Maybe I will stay in my room, it's the only warm room in the house anyway. It's not like you and Lucian are gonna go have some Happy Fest with Legos."

Then she slouched off grumbling under her breath. Something that sounded alarmingly like "What a b*tch. And she wonders where I get it from."

I, of course, followed her skinny ass into the bathroom. She wasn't going to get the last word. Not on my watch.

"Girl, lemme tell you something," she rolled her eyes and set down the toothpaste.


"What you're doing isn't anything new, and you better watch yourself. I invented this sh*t that you've been trying to pull lately."

"Yeah, I know, that's what Papa told me, Miss Sass."

Thanks, Dad, thanks a ton. I stormed off one way, she stormed off the other. It is Friday and we are both still fully engaged in fight mode. Lucian plays aimlessly with his Legos and makes small requests for milk and apples with peanut butter.

Now, to my point. I will not let this girl off the hook because the respect battle is one worth waging and raging until the end of time. I will also not feed her a line of bullsh*t or ice cream and fries every night. I know where she is at all times, I know who her friends are, I can smell a lie and I know when her heart is broken, even before she does. I remind her that I'm human yet I act like Superman.

We fish, we sled, we swim, we go to weird art shows and cafes, we play chess, we fight a lot, we love each other on Friday afternoon and hate each other on Saturday morning.

I know this kid because I pay attention to her and her brother. They are my study in human nature and compassion. Nobody's perfect, but don't kid yourself. Ruffling their hair and saying "I love you" is the easy part.

If you're not getting your hands dirty, you're not doing your job.

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