So last weekend (Saturday) I got the privilege to my two younger sisters to Disneyland for their first ever visit. Not only did they go, but my mother and lady went too. This came to us as a holiday gift from the Mrs. and was most appreciated by everyone. That day I learned a lot of things. Even before the day arrived, I began asking if the girls had been behaving themselves as to not reward them for bad behavior. I made that mistake around Christmas time with my other siblings on my dad’s side. Gifts are not given just because it is a certain day of the year. They are gifts because they are rewards for above-average behavior. Once this immediate concern came to me, I began to feel more and more like a parent than a brother. In hindsight this comes from wanting the best for someone else so much that you take extra steps to ensure that everything goes the way you want it to go. I can now say that these plans for perfection are completely unrealistic and take a long time to accept the real unpredictable outcomes that are attached to growing up.
Once the big day came, I expected the girls to be on their best behavior (which I understand is very subjective.) Best behavior to me is to pretty much carry themselves the way I do. As vain as this may sound I expected these children to be able to do as they are told with little repetition of commands, keep to themselves and us, and be able to stay in one place for an extended amount of time. I could go on but they weren’t able to do any of the above tasks let alone the other things I wanted; Shame on me for being naive. I like to think of that Saturday as controlled chaos in a theme park.
One of the things that surprised me from the beginning was the girls’ ability to be deterred from whatever it is they were doing or wanted to do. For example, after finishing a ride they immediately wanted to ride it again, to which my mom responded with, “No, were going to …. instead.” To which the girls agreed without hesitation. By the end of the night the girls wanted to do and ride so many things that they became less and less agreeable the sleepier they got.
In my attempts to control the chaos that is childhood, my patients began wearing thin, and I became flustered and needed a break from giving out orders and instructions. I would go back and fourth between talking to the girls, and talking to my mother about what I was feeling from a parent’s perspective. We would discuss things we wanted to do (both negative and positive,) things we should do, and ask the other’s opinion on what they would do in that situation. In the midst of our discussions, I realized the things that began to bother me seemed to have no affect on Sarah when it came to the children’s behavior. This complementary form of tolerance helped unwind the kinks I had in my head. Parenting is possible without completely melting down and falling apart in the process.
Having only taken care of two kids for an entire day (from about 7am to 9pm) I have an added respect for parents around the world. Not everyone is best suited to be a parent, and not all parents deserve praise for simply inheriting a title, but the ones who are trying to go about things the right way have a tough job.
Kids remind me of how we are supposed to handle seizure patients:
- Just let them do their thing
- Keep them away from sharp corners or things they can harm themselves with
- Watch the airway and breathing
- Hope that when all is said and done, no serious permanent damage is done
If only there was medication that could be given to help childhood run smoother like seizure medication.
Alas, such control over something like childhood would create a synthetic environment and keep genuine learning experiences from living a thing for the later years when they might become more difficult to deal with. Not only is it a learning experience for the child, but the parent also. Dealing with the rough times can come as a challenge for both parties. It is these same experiences that help up grow as individuals from both sides of the spectrum. It is how we deal with the not-so desirable times is what makes us who we are for the rest of our lives. I promise my unborn child(ren) that I will do my best to try to go with the flow, not take too much control over actions and free will, in exchange for mutual understanding, trust, and genuine effort to head in the right direction, or even help show me what the right direction is if they deem it appropriate. My parenting notes I take observing my sibling will continue to grow in hopes to finally have a comfortable grasp on the way things work, and what works best for me.