July 29, 2004

The More You Have The Less You Know

It took me some time but I have finally come to realize how very much of our children come prewired that way and also how you can be a great parent and still have challenging or spirited children. I have realized that a part of me was pretty know it all and judgmental when I was the parent of just one child.

My daughter never went near outlets, stoves, or did much of anything dangerous. I found myself thinking of all the "safety gadgets" where are the parents? Isn't it a discipline issue and aren't safety gadgets to replace inactive parents? I can say this now because my second child made me realize why they make all those for the 30 seconds you turn your back or are helping another child. Ciaran was drawn to outlets, climbing and it seems all things dangerous. He loves emptying cabinets and almost anything. Now Sirah loves stairs, emptying the trash bins and eating anything she should not. I am much more sympathetic and understanding and ashamed of my initial thoughts. I've learned so much.

I have one who has horrible temper tantrums, one who talks non-stop and has issues with interrupting, one who needs constant attention and one who is a daredevil. I have one who is mellow and easy going, one who is almost always a joy to be around, one who makes you smile in a heartbeat and one who is very precocious. They all have strengths and weaknesses and they are all their own person. We have raised them in very similar ways.

I've also found that life circumstances change. I once gave a talk on offering good snacks and meals for toddlers and young children. At the time I simply did not understand why this was so hard for some people. Convenience food was not a part of our vocabulary and I could simply control that we would have no junk food in the house. As my kids don't watch TV advertising was not a problem so they did not know what they were "missing". Again I look back and realize I was judgmental of people again and thought some simply were not trying hard enough.

Last week I called a friend and said you won't believe me but Sirah's lunch contained Cheetos - she was shocked. We bought pop ice this summer, my kids have had kool aid, caprisun and many forms of "snackfood" I don't usually allow. I find it easier with three 5 and under to offer boxed cereal for breakfast instead of homemade pancakes, eggs or even oatmeal. We stop for fast food more than ever before (though still not often).

Before those of you who know me got into shock we still serve tofu, avocado, edamame, and lots of fruit for snacks. My kids still only drink water and soy milk (with an occasional treat of juice or lemonade) and pretzels are generally the only "snack food" in our house. But I have learned to be less judgmental and realize that everyone has the best interests of their children at heart and life circumstances and their individual children can change what their "ideals" may be as I have learned myself.

Also I am a firm believer that each family needs to make the choices that best fit their family. However, I must admit to myself that I am opinionated that some choices are superior to others - at least now I understand that it is often (not always) more than just a parenting issue. I've loosened up but tried to keep our standards high.

I've learned the more you have the less and more you know. I'm thankful for the lessons that I have and can only what those with a quiverful know.


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