January 31, 2006

The What Road? Where? Huh? Stop Looking at Me!

You know, back when The Boy was almost two and I spent every single waking moment focusing all my mental energies on willing him to Learn How To Speak Already, Dammit! so that I could, you know, figure out what he wanted, I was blissfully ignorant of what that would mean. No, not that I would one day be expending equally fervent energy willing him to shut up for a second, but that as he grew in deductive and imitative ability, I would have to actually set an example for his behavior. This example setting is commonly referred to as taking the high road.

Can I tell you how much I freaking HATE the high road? Because it's hard and it sucks and I'd much rather just ignore my conscience, kick back with a small vat of red wine and some wheat thins, and catch up on my viewing of Supernatural or Firefly.

The thing about setting an example that's so annoying is that it's a constant struggle for someone like me, who tends to hate everything and everyone and to be quicker with a cynical, cutting criticism than with the whole Milk of Human Kindness thing when I'm confronted by irritants in human, canine, or inanimate form. And it totally rubs off on The Boy, as Hublet reminds me. Daily. Not that I'm keeping a notebook on that or anything.

And then I have to step in to correct the damage I've done to The Boy's ability to relate to the rest of humanity via my curmudgeon-at-large behavior and I'm confronted with the secondary portion of The High Road, which I like to call Shameless Hypocrisy in the Name of Child Raising. Example? Okay, here goes.

There's a new little boy hanging out at The Boy's new and improved daycare situation. This little boy is almost three, with all the charming personality traits that entails. The Boy, naturally, disliked him on sight. The Boy complained that New Kid didn't share. He complained that New Kid was following him around. Finally, he told his babysitter that he never wanted to come back to her house again, because New Kid ruined EVERYTHING! Lately, The Boy has been kind of a brat. I am blaming this on the transitions he's been experiencing and hoping it's a phase, especially because if he alienates the babysitter we are DOOMED.

So I had a conversation with the babysitter which basically boiled down to, "Wow, he's comfortable enough with you to treat you like family, aren't you lucky, hee-hee, I'll talk to him, BYE!"

And then I had to spend thirty minutes in the car explaining to The Boy that the New Kid is only three, that he doesn't know how to play well with others yet, that he follows The Boy around because The Boy is the cool older kid and that unfortunately The Boy is just going to have to figure out a way to suck it up and deal, because (Life Lesson Alert! Life Lesson Alert!) there are always going to be people in your life that you don't like, and you're going to have to cope somehow. Yeah, I kind of stink at the whole "imparting life lessons" thing.

Then I had to choke out some platitudes about being nice to everyone, and the golden rule, yadda-yadda-yadda, which, hello? Shameless Hypocrisy on line one! Because I was an only child, and I hated smaller children--especially the younger siblings of my friends--and I totally ignored and avoided them and was generally a total bitch on wheels about the whole thing until I was about thirty or so.

So it makes perfect sense for me to tell my four-year-old to get over it. And he dealt with it about as well as you'd expect from someone with my DNA, which is to say he yelled "NOOOOOOO!" and "That is an EVIL, MEAN boy and I don't want him there!" a lot, and generally threw a fit. And frankly, I was having the same reaction internally, because I didn't much care for the New Kid, either.

But oh well. So now I have to reinforce what I've said by modeling good behavior, which involves self-censorship, which is killing me slowly. Karma, she is a total bitch.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at January 31, 2006 11:39 AM

Taking the High Road, eh?

I had to do the same thing with green beans.


Posted by: Jim at January 31, 2006 04:48 PM

At some point you'll just give up and revert to true form, so don't sweat it. Kids will turn out however-mine acquired both my and hub's sarcasm, cynicism and warped humor. Plus the mouth. Oh yeah, I took a real high road...

Posted by: Kim at February 1, 2006 11:58 AM