November 13, 2012


I just finished a conversation with my eldest, home sick from school, that illustrates a problem of parenting. I wanted to change his behavior toward his sister. He was so lost in what he thought and how he felt about what I might do to him that I feel sure he won't remember anything I said.

This -- trying to teach another human being how to be mature, balanced, educated, effective, etc. -- is hard. Especially so when I'm still learning it for myself. Doubly-especially when the student isn't a willing participant in the learning process!

Being a parent is being perpetual -- perpetual meals, perpetual laundry, perpetual cleaning, perpetual training, perpetual vigilance, perpetual persistence, perpetual reinforcement. It's exhausting. I don't know whether the tenth time I tell my child not to interrupt or the one thousandth time will actually impact future behavior. I don't know, but I still have to bring the same level of commitment and consistency to the table time after time after time after time.

Jokes, venting, breaks from battle scenes, and tag team parenting with a partner can all help.

Just now, though, all I can think about is my thread of resentment that my 4-yr-old threw a book my direction, wanting me to read it to her, but she just gently patted our dog and crooned to him that he was such a good dog and had such good hearing. The dog literally gets better treatment than I do some days.

I won't be a total Eeyore. There are wonderful moments that I savor long after. Right now... right now I think I owe my mom another phone call to thank her for letting me live.

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