“He likes to butt things… with his head”…..”How proud you must be”. This is a wonderful quote from Parenthood that I am often reminded of every time I think I have got parenting figured out, you get the shit slap in the face to remind you that no, your urchins still need work. I have shared a lot about the Dictator the past couple of years, as truly the assholery of a toddler is endless fodder. I have seriously neglected my firstborn in terms of tales, but alas, I was reminded this morning that many of my previously viewed as “slamdunk” parenting moves have backfired.
Molly is 10, when she was 4 I was told it was time for the “stranger danger” conversation. In all seriousness, even as an adult the thought of abduction (except kidnapping by Bradley Cooper to Fiji) is terrifying, so I was determined to figure out how to do this better than everyone else. One of my best friends had enlightened me to a tip from a 20/20 about how kidnappers at theme parks, airports, malls, etc- may change the kids clothes, put a hat on them, but NEVER change their shoes- so always make sure your kids shoes are unique/brightly colored. I have no idea if this is based on fact, but makes sense to me- so I have kept it up.
I decided to tell her that whenever she got a “yucky” feeling about someone she didn’t know to run and scream FIRE. I gave many scenarios and finally she looked at me and said “like when I feel uncomfortable and think a situation is unsafe”…(obviously there had been some reinforcement of the basic safety concepts at school) and I said “exactly, always trust that feeling when you feel uncomfortable”. So jump forward a couple of years at the park, the mall, airports, etc.- Molly would literally have run off with anyone, she seriously should have had one of those leashes. So I continued to talk about feeling uncomfortable. I thought about switching to “trust your intuition”, but then decided to save that for college hook up advice.
Anyhoo, Molly has never been kidnapped, but here are the situations she deems worrisome enough to tell you and everyone else that she is uncomfortable. The first time eating dinner with her soon to be grandparents and my soon to be new in-laws- they serve broccoli and she says “this broccoli makes me uncomfortable”. She said this with complete seriousness. I just looked at her in her 7 colored heinous new balances with my mouth agape.
Another piece of parenting advice I was quite proud of recently, as personally and professionally I feel like embracing diversity and being inclusive are the key to a full and happy life, was when I told Molly “never be boring” and “embrace differences”…just in case anyone has not yet had coffee, I do want to clarify I was talking about people. Just this morning, as I was cooking my Whole 30 approved bacon BTW, she comes out of her room carrying her silk pleated beige lampshade (which I have blocked out how much this cost as I bought it during a time of temporary demented wealth- but my interior design friends back me up that these are not $20 lampshades) and says in complete seriousness “Mom I feel like my room is a little boring and so my activity today is going to be to use my colored sharpies to liven up my lampshade”. Thank God she asked.
Silver lining here, at least I have a rule follower and truth teller!! And this is very important to someone like myself that views sneaking into the movies a serious crime.
Which since I do love a good list, here are some rules I take very seriously:
1. You cannot sneak into a movie. (talking in the movie almost just as bad, but sometimes necessary for full character development discussions or acknowledgement of hotness of sex scene)
2. You must wait your turn in line at the deli counter.
3. Be on time for everything. Especially school, work, court and parties.
4. Don’t fucking lie. The truth may not always be pretty, but it is normally funny…eventually.
5. If you do #4 and throw someone else under the bus in the process.
6. If you do #4 and #5 and someone is hurt emotionally, professionally or physically in the process. You are a bad, bad person.