On Monday, I share the story of a 14 year old Christian Pakistani boy who was viciously attacked and tortured by a man who had a financial dispute with the boy’s father. He is in need of surgery to repair injuries to his shoulder and his bowels, without which he will be permanently disabled and live with severe pain. Now, I know that terrible things … Continue reading Help Needed – Please Read!
Perhaps you have heard that I have some children. Entirely more than a respectable woman ought to have, in fact. I have even heard tell that there are those who point to my old woman living in a shoe lifestyle as evidence that I may be a bit touched in the head. Sad. But true. Fortunately for me, it turns out that being a bit touched in the head is pretty much a prerequisite for good parenting, so it’s all worked out just fine.
At any rate, two of my children are currently man-boys who are 20 and 16 and completely awesome. Not that I’m biased or anything. You’d think they were completely awesome if you met them. Although you’d probably be glad you weren’t responsible for raising them.
So recently my 20 year old expressed his concern that I was often excessively harsh with his 16 year old brother. And that this might cause the 16 year old to think it was OK to be excessively harsh with the 5 year old. And the 5 year old has made it clear to everyone that she is the reason for the existence of the entire universe, so this constituted a threat to the well being of all that is.
Now, the thing you need to understand about the 16 year old is that he is, at all times, right. He knows it. I know it. Everyone who knows him, knows that he’s always right. Except when he gets stuck in his own head or is being irrational. In which case, you pretty much have to drag him kicking and screaming by his hair out into the light of day to wake him up. When he was a kid, I used to give his teachers very simple, specific instructions for how to successfully correct him. Those who did not listen paid the price.
So, I called Mr. Always Right over and said, “your brother here is concerned that I am excessively harsh with you sometimes.”
He, of course, looked completely confused, laughed, and checked to see if we were just pulling his leg. (Always a distinct possibility in our home.) ‘”Dude, I’m going to need some examples to go on here,” was his response. He was clearly completely befuddled. As was his brother at this point.
Now, as I have indicated, the 20 year old is male. So obviously he can be really dense. But mostly he’s incredibly sensitive to everything and everyone around him. Which means that the older he gets, the more subtle the touch required to move him. Anything more than a persistent firm nudge feels like an armed assault to this one.
“I never talk to you the way I talk to your brother sometimes, right?” I asked the 20 year old, who looked appalled at the very idea. “You would feel terrible if I talked to you like that, but obviously your brother isn’t experiencing me as particularly harsh.”
I could practically see it dawning on the 20 year old how different his brother actually was from him. Which, as well as they know each other, one would think he would already know. But obviously it had never occurred to the 20 year old that something as basic as our emotional responses could be completely different from one person to another. After all, our emotional responses happen pretty automatically. And we all experience the exact same emotions. So it’s very easy to assume that your normal emotional responses to the world are normal for human beings generally rather than for you particularly.
I suspect that many, if not most, if not all of us make the error of assuming that we are normal and therefor all seemingly normal people must be pretty much like us. In fact, I was in my mid-30s when it really sank in that maybe – just maybe – I wasn’t actually normal. Me. The woman who has so many children that they’ve basically created their own subculture together. The woman who is in Mensa and married to a black guy and swears while discussing theology and doesn’t own sweats or a proper pair of athletic shoes. I actually thought I was like baseline normal. (Obviously I have some masculine tendencies.) I’ll wait until you’re done laughing to go on. . . . Continue reading “Good Luck With That “Normal” Thing”
Here’s a fun fact for you: the last time I was out of the presence of a child for 24 hours straight was 10 years ago when my husband and I travelled without our kids to help a friend plan their father’s funeral. Before that, it was two years earlier for the same friend’s wedding. Before that, it was the week I took off before … Continue reading Did You Miss Me?
What parent doesn’t want to be a better parent to their kids? And what Christian doesn’t desperately wish to be truly humble? (OK, almost no Christian actually wants any such thing, but play along with me here.) What if I told you that I have the secret to attaining these two highly desirable goals all in one fell swoop? Well, I’d become a viral sensation … Continue reading Suffer Us Little Children
I have a 20 month old baby girl named Olivia. And she cracks me up. When I tell her “no” she says, “oohhh.” She does it just like someone going, “aw man!” She has this laugh that sounds like whatever she’s laughing at is the funniest thing ever. She also has an unusual command of her body. She’s been walking since 8 1/2 months and … Continue reading What Olivia is Teaching Me
I did a little research about the going rate for the services I provide for a family our size in the area I live in and I also looked at Denver Concierge’s affordable maid service to have a comparison. So, here’s my version of one of those “how much does it cost to replace a stay-at-home-mom?” lists that comes out every year around Mother’s Day: Full time, … Continue reading My husband can’t afford me!
Today I was reading through a fairly fluffy article offering advice to parents of teens. (Because with two teens in the house and a whole lot of future teens coming down the pipeline I need all the help I can get!) In the middle of this fluffy little article, I found the best parenting advice I’ve read all year. In the for-parents-of-teens version it goes: If … Continue reading The best parenting advice I’ve heard all year!
Yesterday a friend and I were talking about the taboo many people seem to have about correcting other people’s children when they are misbehaving. Then this morning, I found this article from the Today Show about how to deal with other people’s misbehaving/annoying children. In it the parenting “expert” completely accepts the idea that one should never correct someone else’s child even in the face … Continue reading Correcting other people’s children
Parenting Magazine has a survey up which found that the thing moms envy about other moms is their organizational abilities. I know this is true of me! Other interesting tidbits: Only 6% of moms said that they wanted to go without kids – even for a day. 73% of working moms say they are jealous of stay at home moms vs 49% going in the … Continue reading What makes us jealous