Friday, July 08, 2005

Sanity is for children.

It occurred to me at the dinner table tonight that my children have reached a milestone. This milestone is not one included in the usual Baby Book List Of Incredible Things Your Child Will Do and The Exact Date He/She Should Do Them.

No, the milestone my 4.25 and 2.75 year-old children have reached is usually not talked about at all, much less included in the What To Expect series of Know-It-All parenting books. Perhaps because it's more humiliating than the grave possibility of your child NOT WALKING AT HIS FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY.

Fortunately, neither of my boys were walking by their first birthdays, so I've had lots of time to recover from the realization that some things can't be predicted by books. Nonetheless, this new milestone was not something I expected to happen until at least their preteen years.

What is it, you ask? My children... KNOW THAT I AM CRAZY. Yes, yes, there have been lots of clues, and they're not stupid, of course. So the simple fact that they are aware of my delusions is not really news. What struck me at the dinner table tonight is that they have ACCEPTED my obvious mental illness.

See, here's what happened. Scott and I decided to finally watch "National Treasure" this afternoon, since the DVD was due back at the store tonight, and in five days we hadn't managed to see it. But we started the movie pretty late, and had to pause a gazillion times due to inference from some Very Loud Children, so dinner got started a bit late. Also, while Scott was barbecuing chicken, and I was trying to make taboule salad, the boys needed to be chased and eaten by Mommy Dino several times. By 6:30, the chicken was getting cold on the counter, the onions, cilantro and bell peppers still needed to be chopped, and Mommy Dino was getting hungry for more than just Baby Dinos.

When we finally sat down to eat dinner, the Mommy Formerly Known as Lots O' Fun suddenly turned into Raving Lunatic Mommy. This is how it went:

Family sits down to table, hands are held, thanks are given. Fly wanders into dining room, lands on boy's bread. Suddenly, Raving Lunatic Mommy appears.

She pounds on the table by boy's plate, shouting loudly, "GO AWAY, FLY!!" Fly remains on plate, unperturbed by shouting or pounding.

RLM goes hysterical. "AAAAHHHHH!!!! I SAID 'GO AWAY"!!! GET OFF HIS FOOD!!!!" she shrieks, and slaps boy's bread with her hand. Fly slowly meanders off, rolling his many eyes at his inept attacker.

After an awkward moment, Lots O' Fun returns to the table, wondering what just happened. She looks up to see her sons viewing her with mild curiosity, but mostly undisturbed patience. One boy glances at the fly still working its way to the kitchen. The other takes a bite of his broccoli.

"Mommy just went a little crazy, didn't she?" their father notes. Both boys nod, and continue to eat their dinner.

Do you see what I mean? They didn't laugh. They knew I wasn't trying to be funny.

Do you see why this is so important?! No longer do my out-of-whack emotions have any power over my children! No longer can I throw a fit in order to get my own way! My children see right through me! They know I am crazy, and they remain as unperturbed by it as that DAMN FLY!

This new psychological milestone of theirs has two consequences. First, as I mentioned, there will be no more Manipulation via Tantrum, which has been useful in so many emergency situations, such as when I absolutely HAVE to go to Starbucks. Second -- and this is the GOOD thing -- it means that they are at least somewhat secure in their knowledge of my love for them, and that my chances of completely screwing them up are finally lessoning.

Praise God for his unending mercy and undying sense of humor. Raving Lunatic Mommy may return, but at least she can do little damage.


LAMommyof3 said...


Kim said...

Amanda...I'm new to your site but I'm already hooked! We too are attachment parenting our 2year old son so it's nice to read the thoughts and obsessions of a similar-minded Mommy! Many of your posts have provided me with the encouragement and inspiration I've needed during those days when I really do wonder if the infamous "everyone else" is right! I wish I had the confidence to write about my parenting philosophy on my blog as you do on yours, so that I can provide the same inspiration to other moms to take their kids needs seriously...unfortunately it's read by many members of my family who do things VERY differently with their kids and so I try not to step on any toes with what would probably seem to them like a"holier-than-thou" attitude! I just wanted to say thanks for having the confidence to express yourself honestly despite what others may think! God Bless!

Amanda said...

Oh, thank you, thank you! I absolutely adore fan mail. :)

I have friends who do things quite differently, too, Kim. A few, I think, choose to ignore my blog for that reason, which is a bummer, but oh well. I am really fortunate that my family is supportive of my parenting style, even if they don't always get it.

echozoe said...

hee heeeee hee!!
i am the same, but i don't go to star@#$%ks.

my boyz know i am crazy!
ps love the new layout!

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