Today I am blaming my son for the irritated mood I’m in. I’m not blaming him because he did something wrong. I’m not blaming him for anything that happened recently. I’m blaming him for lulling me into a false sense of security. When he was little I didn’t have to tell him not to color on the walls. I didn’t have to tell him not to put stickers on every flat surface in the house. I didn’t have to tell him that rubber stamps were just for paper. Somehow he just knew. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a kid. Kids do crazy things without thinking, but for the most part he seemed to just instinctively know the rules.
Then came his little sister. She did not know the rules. I’ve been shocked about some of the things I’ve had to tell her not to do. I’ve also been shocked by her surprise. She can look at me with complete innocence and say, “But you never told me not to color my face with markers.” or “My sheets were so plain, I just wanted to make them pretty.” I’ve also been shocked by how little she listens to me. Even on small things. When she asks my opinion about two things she’s trying to choose between, I can always count on her going with the item I don’t pick.
I love that she’s independent. To a point. She’s only five after all. It is possible that there are some subjects that I still know more about than she does. I know it’s just because I’m her mom, and she’s testing that relationship. She’s more likely to listen to a stranger’s opinion than mine. Thankfully, I can be taught. I (mostly) have learned not to ask, where there really isn’t a choice. Of course she’s also learned. On more than one occasion she’s said with a big smile, “Mom, you didn’t mean to ask if I wanted to eat my vegetables, but since you did, no, I don’t!” She has also said to me, “Are we going to Dairy Queen or Subway for lunch?” When I told her we were going home, she informed me, “I’m sorry, that wasn’t one of your choices.”
Today is one of those days when I kind of wish the kids each came with an owner’s manual. Of course the manual would read very differently for each kid. But, maybe one of them would tell me how to get red ink off my floor, and my wall, and my bedding, and my daughter. I’d also really like to know how the smiley face stickers got inside my oven, and my washer and my dryer.