My husband and I are damaging our kids. I know we are. We don’t mean to, but as much as I read, research, and seek guidance; I’m positive there will come a point in their lives where they will look back and, as they talk about us, will say;
“I used to HATE it when my mom/dad would (fill in the blank).”
I imagine their wife, their psychiatrist or perhaps their cellmate, gasping as they cover their eyes and say;
“Nooooo, you’re kidding. I’ve never even HEARD of that.”
There was the time for instance, that Steve got angry with the boys at dinner and raised his voice as he commanded:
“Don’t chew with your mouth full!”
I watched the boys stop chewing and ponder what their dad said. I mean they considered how they could possibly stop chewing with their mouths full. I’m pretty sure that caused damage.
Then there are my own contributions to their Xanax futures.
Sammy recently came home and said he had a math test the following day on division and multiplication of decimals.
“Are you comfortable with that stuff” I asked.
“I am with the division” he said, “but I don’t really understand the multiplication.”
“Okay”, I said, “Let’s do a problem.”
I then proceeded to write:
The boy was absolutely dumbfounded. He couldn’t even do the first step. I mean he didn’t know the first thing about how to approach the problem.
I freaked out. How could he possibly be going to school every day and not know the first thing to do in order to solve the equation. For two hours I ranted and raved, taught, fussed, and cajoled as I taught him every aspect of multiplying decimals. Finally, after the tears and protestations, he got it.
In bed that night I told him how badly I felt that he was having trouble with math and that I had no idea. I was so stressed personally and feeling completely out of touch with my kids. I’d have to quit work, no more blogging, no more facebook.
“That’s IT” I told my husband. “My focus is back 100 percent on the boys.”
The next day Sammy got off the bus and of course my very FIRST question was
“How’d your test go Sammy?”
“Easy, breezy, pumkin, squeezy” he answered.
“Terrific!” I felt able to breathe again. “Do you remember any of your questions?”
“Well there was one that that was 19.99 X 2.”
“19.99 X 2?” I said.
“Sam-we were working 4 digit multiplication last night with digits, counting in, estimating etcetera. That problem was really, really easy. Were there harder ones like we worked?”
“Nah” he said, heading to the television.
“We haven’t learned that stuff yet.”
Now, I’m not sure if this is an issue of communication, overreaction, or pure mommy guilt on my part. But I have GOT to figure out the right questions to ask before my liver fails.
Parenting Tip of the Day:
Hey if you’re about to be a new mom, don’t pack and repack a diaper bag every time you’re going out of the house. Buy a double of everything and leave one bag in the car. Put a pack of diapers in the trunk, single servings of formula (or better yet just breastfeed), some ziplock baggies for those diapers that need to be isolated at your friend’s house, and some bottled water. That way you can just grab the baby, some clean bottles (if breastfeeding isn’t your thing) and you’re out of the house. You’ll never have to think “oh darn, I forgot the baby powder” again.