I take Lady Baby to open gym at Gymboree. If you are fortunate enough to have one next to you, and have a child 4 and under you should look in to joining. Lady Baby has so much fun. She does her class once a week, and then we try to go to open gym when we can. She can spend hours there, and I can hold the baby in the Maya wrap while she plays. This post however, is not about fun places to go with a toddler and an infant. This post is inspired by a Father Son duo that show up at our open gym session every single week, and every single week it is the same exact scene.
About a half hour after we have been at open gym Dad walks in with his son. As soon as he walks in the door I start taking bets with myself to see how long it will take for the kid to have a melt down. The first few times I saw them the melt down happened a little while after they started playing. The twenty minutes before the melt down the Dad had his phone glued to his hands. If he did slide it into his pocket it only stayed in there for seconds.
It is no surprise that his son is a tiny terror. He often runs around the gym swinging some kind of object in hopes he strikes another child so his Dad might look up from his phone and notice him even if it is negative, and for only a brief second. The most comical part of this regular sequence is when the dad is holding this flaylingchild on the ground and asking
“Why do you act like this?”
Kids do not set out to ruin our days. Most of them are not little sociopaths who wake up inspired to fill the day with dread and despair. When they are acting in a way that we deam inappropriate guess whose fault that is?
yep, that would be the Parent.
With Gymboree Dad it is easy to see why the kid is a little attention monster.
PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE MAN, AND PLAY WITH YOUR KID!
This one small thing would eliminate the kid looking for attention in a negative way. Granted it might take a few trips for the kid to trust that the phone would not be stealing his lime light, but once he understood that Dad meant to give him undivided attention.
Poof, monster be gone.
Sometimes the problem is not so easy to distinguish. I rarely keep me phone on me, and when I do it is always on silent. I have had this theory about children’s behavior, and cell phones for a while now. I do not like to hang out with monster babies. If there really is an emergency they will call my Husband, and if someone died well they will still be dead when I check my phone. Even though I am diligent about Parent cell phone use my kids still turn into nightmares every once in awhile. This leaves me stumped, but under no circumstances do I ever not understand that whatever the cause it is my fault, and that means I can fix it… Once I establish what it is.
Yesterday I had a million errands to run. It was the one day they would fit into our schedule this week. I was also feeling like a bloated PMS monster. Lady Baby was allergy ridden, and miserable with a capital MISERABLE. I looked in the fridge made sure I could come up with some kind of dinner, made a very large glass of lavender iced tea,and parked my ass on the floor to play. We stayed on the floor for just an hour. Then we had to feed the baby, and pump, and make lunches and all the other things I have to get done in a day, and thats when I got that Oprah aha moment.
It has nothing to do with a phone. The phone is just something else that keeps you busy when you should be busy with your kids. Sure kids like adventures, and going to Target is absolutely considered an adventure when you’re a toddler, but sometimes they want to just be with you with no agenda.
Living in the now is something we are born to do. Hanging out with small children has made that apparent to me. They do not sit to play with an Elmo mailbox and run through a list of all the shit they are not getting done, because they are sitting on the floor playing with an Elmo mailbox. Sometimes we have to abandon our tasks, our well oiled schedules, and spend a little time playing with our kids. Engaging them fully. It does not have to be every hour of every day, but it does have to happen everyday.
This counts for big kids too. As the world takes them away from us for more and more time we forget that they need us too. My older boys can go much longer with a busy parent then the babies of coarse, but when it starts to crack I can tell. The middle schooler starts with his “nobody likes me in this family!” and the Kindergartner starts with the “WHY do I have to do anything you ask me to do!?!”
Hubbs likes to say “if theres smoke wheres the fire?” The kids attitude is the smoke , and guess what the fire is? Yep that’s right. The Parent.
We hate to take any fault these days. This has led us into a Victim epidemic. As you can guess in most cases you will never find me saying you can’t blame the victim.
Unless we are talking about abduction, murder, child abuse these heinous violent crimes against humanity.
I get that in those cases the Victim really is a Victim. We have taken this don’t blame the victim concept and weaved it in to our daily lives, and it is NOT working for us as a society.
“Oh I am too fat and it is not my fault, Oh my kid is a rude little shit face, and it is not my fault, oh my job is terrible and I am broke it is not my fault…….”
None of these mundane small things add up to being a real victim. Not even if we add them all together does it carry the weight of the word victim. A victim is a person a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action. Whining about your life circumstances does not make you a victim it makes you a brat.
If you just take in the fault you will feel that shitty feeling for a moment or so ,and then something miraculous will happen.
You will feel powerful. You will feel determined. You will feel capable.
When you stand by the victim mentality you give up the ability to change the situation.
We can change ANYTHING we don’t like. That is the beauty of being a grown up. That and being able to buy candy bars for breakfast. We are free.
Next time your life starts smoking look for the fire, and then find the fire extinguisher and put that shit out.