It turns out, that’s not an actual Commandment. But if you read my previous post about religion, you probably aren’t surprised that I got a little mixed up. However, I believe this should be thrown into the catechism – any number, any order. We can call it Commandment #11, Commandment 8b, add an asterisk, or whatever the acceptable text-editing protocol happens to be.
Many would argue that you cannot pass judgment on parents and child rearing unless you, yourself, are a parent. It’s true that no matter how much time you may have spent with kids, how much you’ve studied child psychology, and despite the fact that you spend tons of time with your little niece or nephew, you have absolutely NO IDEA of the subtleties that take place when you live with and rear a child. Truth. Liam acts entirely differently when he’s at school verses at home, when he’s at one set of grandparents verses another, when we have company verses just the two of us. And even those discrepancies vary based on his mood or just plain luck. Sometimes we have happy, easy Liam (he’s awesome. We love that guy.), and sometimes we have
psychotic, irrational un-happy, un-easy Liam (he shows up uninvited all the time). So when you’re at Target and observe what seems to be terrible parenting, you’re not even seeing a sliver of what that relationship is actually like. Granted, the following are probably all safe to consider reporting, regardless of the unseen context:
Hitting kids in public*
Leaving kids in hot cars
Children being babysat by pitbulls
Obviously, there are others, but these are the ones I can at least list without any hypocrisy**. The reason I find this worth writing about is because I was reminded of an incident a a couple of months ago. On one of our summertime Field Trip Fridays, I took Liam to the Splash Town water park in San Antonio. Just the two of us; no lines to speak of; wave pools, water slides, and funnel cakes. On the way home, we decided to go out to dinner once we reached Austin. I was feeling exceptionally warm and fuzzy, so I gave Liam free choice on where we’d eat. “Hmmmm,” he thought. “Let’s go someplace nice. Like Olive Garden.” Liam has eaten in so many of Austin’s local and delish eateries, but he still believes Olive Garden holds the standard of true elegance. And let’s be honest: we all love that OG salad. So after showering and freshening up, we alerted Noah of our plans and headed to the local Olive Garden. (Entirely separately, let me just say: Jacque Vilmain, anyone? I just remembered her. It’s related because I ran into her there twice. And it was hilarious both times).
You know it’s an occasion when Liam clips that tie onto whichever shirt he’s sporting.
From our booth, I was able to hear but not see a conversation between what I assumed was a mother, father, and 9ish year old girl sitting directly behind me. I observed a mother berating her daughter, listing her affronts. Back talking, not doing what was asked: the usual parental offenses. The girl was quiet. The father didn’t say too much – I think the mom was basically filling him in on how awful the girl had behaved. Meanwhile, I sat in my trio laughing at Liam’s jokes and feeling like a superior parent. I was appalled at the woman behind me and how she was ruining their night. She really needs to let up. Why can’t she just drop it and enjoy their evening together? Ew, she’s a bitch. Other than that, dinner was uneventful – but I did harp on and on about that mean mom behind us. Her poor little girl!
Once we arrived home, we found ourselves in the living room to watch and play Wii with Liam. And that’s where this little story turns. The Wii remote ran out of batteries. But you know what? The battery drawer was well stocked, so no harm/no foul. If you’re a rational person, that is. Liam. Flipped. Out.
It started small. “NOOOO! It’s out of batteries!”
“We have more in the drawer,” I said. I feel like this is where the story should have ended. Instead, Liam threw the remote on the ground (lazy SOB) and picked up another one, which was also out of batteries. This caused him to throw himself on the floor, wailing in defeat. “So … do you want some batteries?” You know, just testing the sanity waters.
“NO!” At this point he was angrily lashing out at anything around him. Kicking at the couch, shoving the cat away from him, and very near angry tears. “Liam, seriously, chill. There’s not a problem here; we have batteries.” I always forget that logic doesn’t work, no matter how sound the argument may be. From there, he shouted accusations about unrelated things at both Noah and me: Why does he always have to brush his teeth? Why can’t we eat sushi every day?! And no, REALLY, how can we not want a pet rat or pet snake?!?! He was forced into his bedroom (physically carried since, apparently, his bones and muscles disintegrate so that all of his bodily power can be directed toward his lungs and diaphragm during tantrums), and then proceeded to scream and yell from his room and kick his door. I looked at Noah and said, “How on Earth did that happen?” I also said, “You know, I take back everything I said about that mom earlier. We have no idea what that girl did all day. She’s probably a brat.” There have been days that Liam back talks, ignores me, and generally is just rude and entitled for no apparent reason. Those days suck. They are rare(ish). But they definitely happen. And I’m not above rehashing the details of my negative Liam encounters with Noah. So, no judging parents, peeps. No es bueno.
For Halloween, Liam decided to be Turtle Man. Here is a clip of the real Turtle Man.
And here is Liam as Turtle Man:
“That’s live action!”
Liam’s mugshot. The photographer didn’t get the memo that we keep his hair long in front of his ears for a reason
Ughhhh this picture of Danny Zuko and me just melts my heart.
* Yes, I said “in public”. Although I’ve never spanked Liam, I do not think a child getting an occasional swat on the booty is inappropriate at all. Evidently not a popular view these days, but I stand by it. Again, I haven’t spanked Liam (yet), but in my oh-so-humble-opinion, the little angel may have it coming. Don’t be fooled – he may have won the “Sweetheart” award in preschool, but that sweet center is sometimes replaced by some sort of baking soda/vinegar combo.
** I typed this about a month ago thinking I’d add or change it, but never did. I will neither confirm nor deny whether Liam received that first spanking.
** *Disclaimer: Please don’t hit your kids. It’s pretty awful. I’m not condoning it, and now I’m uncomfortable with everything I spouted about spanking.