July 9, 2007
There are a zillion and ten parenting books on the market. If you're a mom then I'm sure you've heard of at least a few--Love & Logic, Toddler 411, The Happiest Toddler on the Block--I could go on forever.
I've never been the parenting book type, as I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants in every aspect of my life. And besides, I'd rather spend my down time looking up Brittany pix on the internet...James will eventually pull it all together no matter what I do.
Anyway, the woman I babysit for has an extensive collection of parenting material, and I do flip through it from time to time. I've got to admit, I think it's all a bunch of flaming crapola. The bottom line is this:
There are two ways to parent a toddler. You can either:
1) Get all stressed out about it, try to control your child, and resort to hurling yourself out of a third floor window. Or...
2) You can accept the fact that it's impossible to reason with a two-year old, start viewing gross and/or embarrassing things as funny, and glide through life until Junior is old enough to go to kindergarten.
I've chosen the second approach--thank goodness.
Here's a good example. About an hour ago James and I were walking through the park headed back to our apartment complex. James was pointing out his favorite objects, and I was praising him over-enthusiastically for his very limited vocabulary.
So we were walking along and he was like, "Mama...dog! Mama...guck! Mama...kids!" As I pushed the stroller along at a pretty good pace we came up behind a (very, very, very) heavyset woman doing some laps around the park. She was working so hard, bless her heart, and wearing a purple sweatsuit-type outfit. All of the sudden James whipped around in his stroller, pointed enthusiastically, and yelled, "LOOOK Mama! Is BARNEY!"
If I had been a type-one parent I probably would have begged the poor woman for forgiveness and then keeled over and died. But I'm a type two. So I kept my cool, and sweetly answered James by saying, obnoxiously loud, "Yes honey! That's our dog and her name is Barney. I love her, too." Then I turned to my greyhound Gracie, gave her a firm pat on the haunches and shouted, "Oh Barney, I love you so much and I'm glad you're my dog. You're a good girl....Barney. Let's go....Barney."
And then we passed the real Barney on the right and high-tailed it out of there.
He doesn't know it yet, but James is grounded for 14 years.