Monday, September 24, 2012

Good Mom/Bad Mom

I used to be a wonderful mother.  I don't just mean good, I mean truly wonderful.  I made no mistakes and I had all the answers.  I knew exactly what to do in each situation with a child.  Was the child simply being childish and needed to be instructed?  Was the child just tired and needed a nap or hungry and needed to be fed?  Or was the child just flat out beyond help and needed to be locked up in a padded room for the safety of self and others?  My nephew usually fell into that category, but he still held a large portion of my heart - proof that I'm a saint. 

Like I said, I was a wonderful mother.  Then I had my first child, and I became a good mother.  We had a few glitches, like the time my angel baby drank the lawnmower gas. He wasn't being disobedient or anything, because I had never thought to tell him not to; I just assumed he had the sense God gave a goose.  I thought wrong.

He never got away with a thing, let me tell you.  I was strict like you wouldn't believe.  He couldn't even look at me cross-eyed and I was all up in his grill.  "Don't look at me in that tone, boy.  You will show me respect.  I'm your mama, hear me?"  He heard me.  The whole neighborhood heard me.  He still painted his carpet green and blue.

But he was a good child.  Never gave me a moment's worry, aside from the annual visits to the emergency room every January, three years running.  After that, he wasn't allowed to run, jump, or even leave the house from New Year's until February first every year.

Then came baby girl number one.  Blond hair.  Big blue eyes.  Awwww.  Great big lungs.  Bad temper.  My good mother methods were not quite as effective with this one.  One day I'd had it up to *here* with her, and I took her by the arm and hissed (we were in public and you know how I hate to make a scene), "That is ENOUGH."  She gave me a look that sends shivers down my spine to this day.  "No, YOU are enough," she says.  And the beating commenced.  It took some doing, but I won.  She got some good licks in, though. 

Child three, a bouncing baby boy, came along, and he followed the rule book on happy children.  What a joy!  And that sweet smile!  All you had to do was look at his sweet self and he'd break into gales of laughter.  What a relief after the aforementioned child that gave the exorcist nightmares, to have a sweet little angel.  I would raise this one to adulthood with no problemos whatsoever, yes I would. 

He turned three.  One day, while wearing his 'Piderman costume, he threw his 'Piderman hood/face at me, told me I had stinky feet, and hasn't liked me since. 

Child number four came out somewhere between the stinky feet incident with child number three and the exorcism of child number two.  Four - a girl - got fed once in a while, and her diaper was changed.  On a good day, she was clothed, but it was a rare event.  It's a good thing she was bald as a balloon, because at that point I had no further desire to earn my Wonderful Mama award, or even a Doesn't Totally Suck Mama award, and would never have found the time to comb it. 

I'm not sure if she was a good baby or not.  That time period seems hazy to me.  What I know is this:  in three days, that child will turn ten years old.  And I'm not sure she's going to make it.   I may have slacked off a little to much in the discipline department with that one.  For ten years, it's been a litany of "eat your veggies.... no you may not have a snack because you did not eat your dinner.  I don't care if it was yucky.  There are starving children in Ethiopia that would love to have it.  Because I can't just mail it to them; I made it for you....... go to bed...... stop whining............ stop arguing......... stop kissing boys you're only five for crying out loud............. I said go to bed already................ if I said no to a snack, it means no cookie.  Yes, a cookie does count as a snack.  Well, then, no dessert either.  Because I said so.  God made me the mama......"

And today's conversation is a nice one.  "When's the last time you brushed your teeth?" 

She thinks for a minute.  "Mrs. Sam made me when I spent the night with Dani."

Facepalm.  I totally suck.  "That was last week!"

"But it's only Monday."

I always thought I was a stubborn person, but she's more stubborn.  She's wearing me down.  I can feel it.  After ten years of her badgering me, day in and day out, I've found my life is much more peaceful if I just let her have the cookie. 

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