Relax already

We went away for the night recently to a cheesy family hotel with an indoor water park and playground and family friendly dining. Basically Mecca for kids.

We had a great time. We came, we swam, we conquered. We left covered in chlorine and 3 out 4 of us slept on the way home.

The only thing I struggled with was the other parents. Almost all of them were so hard on their kids. I saw a mom punish her child for being scared of going down a slide and making her (the mom) stand there too long. One set of parents told their almost three year old “Gavin, remember to share now…” before my kids had even got in the pool.

I view my role as a mom as a watchful bystander in my kids lives. I just watch them. That’s all. I encourage them to make good choices and ask them to reconsider when they are not. I offer them options and help them understand the consequences of their choice. I cheer them on or redirect when needed. The only “rules” at my house are:

If you hit, you sit

It only fun if its fun for everyone

Everyone deserves to be listened to

I wish these moms would let their kids just be. I watched two sisters playing happily and the mom yelled at the one to stop throwing her shoe around, thus ending their game. I felt sad for those sisters. One girl was climbing on the play structure and yelled out to her mom “look mom, I’m being so careful”. Sigh.

I feel strongly that we underestimate kids and spend far too much time and energy talking at them, telling them what to do or discouraging them. Maybe your kid would surprise you, give them a chance. Maybe Gavin would have shared or maybe not but that would have been between him and my kids. I do know for sure they would have worked it out.

At one point a mom was asking her kid not to splash. At a water park. She looked at me sheepishly after her kid splashed my kid and I wanted to splash her.

I want to talk to these moms, I am craving connection and friendship as much as anybody but I’m not connecting. I wish I could find a way to encourage the moms to sit back, relax and for the love of Pete stop saying “be careful”. Seriously, that’s a useless thing to say.

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Kids are weird

My kids are nuts but in a good way and so different from each other.

The girl is smart, strong and dramatic. She is wildly entertaining and can get almost anyone to do things for her. No joke – I’ve seen her get strangers to carry her up hills before.

The boy is rough, athletic, coordinated and pure. He spends a lot time figuring out how to do things and looking for a ball to throw at your head.

I think if a home alone scenario was to happen the girl would just lay down and wait for death. If you hand her something with a screw on lid she is baffled “well clearly this is impenetrable…” but she can understand concepts like photosynthesis or solar systems and feels bad for Pluto losing its status as a planet.

The boy on the other hand would find a way to make a pie or something. Yet he still thinks banging his head off the ground or growling at me is the best way of expressing he would have preferred water over milk to drink with dinner. Also he takes his shoes off outside and then cries because his socks are dirty and wet.

But one of my wildest dreams have come true – my kids like each other. Sure they fight and once in a while someone gets bit but they truly seem to like each other. The other night the girl ran full tilt into a glass wall at dance class and was very upset. She was sitting with me holding her ice pack and crying and the boy dug out the lip balm from the diaper bag and walked over to her and gently coated the bottom half of her face until she started laughing. Such love.