Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Children are Weird

My children are weird. I know...I know...all parents think their children are weird. But mine truly are. Certifiably insane. And the worst part is, I think Ruanita and I are feeding their insanity. We are aiding and abetting their derangement. We are enablers of the worst possible kind. We allow their weirdnesses to root and flourish because, frankly, it is easier than the alternative. Please allow me to provide a couple of examples of my children's utter lunacy and my egregious parenting.

Sophie will not eat the generic children's vitamins we buy for the kids. Despite their cute animal shapes and fruity flavors, she insists that they are “yucky.” And if we attempt to give her one, she will stick her tongue out and grimace as the vitamin dangles precariously on the tip of her tongue—refusing to chew it up as purple drool cascades down her chin. As a result, Sophie gets her very own bottle of gummy princess vitamins.

Nicholas refuses to brush his teeth if there are “bubbles” in his toothpaste. What causes bubbles to form on the surface of his toothpaste? Running a toothbrush under water. As everyone knows, you have to wet a toothbrush prior to brushing your teeth. Otherwise, it will be a nasty dry mess in your mouth. With my other two children, I will apply the toothpaste to their toothbrushes, run them under the water quickly, and hand them to them to begin brushing. This does not work with Nicholas. He will inspect his toothbrush for bubbles. If he finds even the tiniest hint of bubbles, he will toss his toothbrush in the sink (or sometimes on the floor) and run screaming from the bathroom. As a result, I let him wet his own toothbrush. I let him, with the utmost of concentration, turn on the bathroom faucet to allow mere dribbles to fall. This process can take a while, as he is meticulous about getting the water flow exactly right before he will allow the water to touch his toothbrush. He is also meticulous about brushing his teeth. Eventually, as we near the half-hour mark, I will inevitably grab his toothbrush from him and insist that he is done.

Lucas needs a new bike. He has outgrown his small bike from last summer. He still refuses, however, to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. He looks a bit ridiculous riding a bike with training wheels as big as he is. Of course, I would not tell him that. I have encouraged him to let me take the training wheels off, but he screams out in fear at the mere mention of attempting to learn to ride a bike. When we have looked at bikes in the stores, we have found that bikes in the size Lucas needs simply do not come with training wheels. I actually had to walk Lucas to the bike aisle at Target and show him that we can purchase training wheels independently that can be installed on any bike at all. Then, and only then, would he concede and allow us to buy him a new bike.

Nicholas insists that he does not need to be “tucked in” at night. He is okay with getting hugs and kisses after he gets in bed. He is okay with snuggles and I love yous and Sweet Dreams. He is NOT, however, okay with being “tucked in.” While I tuck my other two children in, I have to be very careful not to use the T word in Nicholas' presence. If I slip up and do so, Nicholas will immediately jump up from his bed, throw himself on the floor, and refuse to get back into bed because he, in no uncertain terms, does NOT need to be tucked in. So I watch what I say.

We have two bathrooms in our house. One on the main level and one upstairs. Lucas is afraid to go to the upstairs bathroom by himself. If the downstairs bathroom is occupied and he really needs to go, he asks me to go upstairs with him. Frankly, most of the time, I am busy and simply do not want to go upstairs. So I will make Sophie go with him. This seems to work for Lucas. I am not sure what he thinks his little sister will be able to protect him from, but she apparently waylays his fears. And she is more than willing to go, often patting Lucas on the back and saying, “It's okay Lucas, I will protect you.” Weird, but sweet.

Nicholas refuses to eat grilled hot dogs. The grill marks on the hot dog offend him. As a result, we have to either run his grilled hot dog under water to remove any offending black marks before placing it in his bun, OR boil a hot dog on the stovetop for him while the rest of the family eats our deliciously grill-marked dogs.

While we were on vacation, the boys got a new Wii game. Super Mario All-Stars. It includes all four of the original Nintendo Super Mario Brothers games. I admit to spending many an hour playing Super Mario Brothers when I was fourteen years old. I had some mad Mario skills. Yesterday, the kids asked me if I would play Mario. They did not want to play. They simply wanted to watch me play. I wasn't as good as I was at fourteen, but I still had some pretty impressive skills. Each time my game ended, my kids clapped and implored me to "Continue! Continue!" They never wanted to play. They only wanted to watch me play. Weird. kept them contained and quiet. So I played until my thumb cramped up and it was time to put them to bed. Yes, I could have been reading with them. We could have been practicing times tables. I could have been doing an activity with them that expanded their minds. But I chose to wow them with my mad Mario skills instead. And strangely, they enjoyed it.

Sophie likes to go to bed with me at night. I, however, do NOT like to go to bed with her. Every night, after I tuck her into bed, she will come out and ask me if she can go upstairs to bed with me when I go. Rather than telling her no, she cannot go with me because she is a beast of the most fearsome kind to sleep with, I tell her yes. I tell her yes with the absolute intention of NOT taking her upstairs with me. I tell her yes, she can go upstairs with me if she stays in her own bed until I go upstairs. I will then stay up and stay put in the living room until she is snoring peacefully in her own bed. Then, and only then, will I go to bed--alone. This is our nightly ritual. She has yet to catch on. Weird? Yes. Necessary to maintain my sanity? Yes. Good parenting technique? Ummm....probably not so much.


Anonymous said...

Funny funny stuff and clever responses. One grandson uses the toothbrush dry and just brushes with the toothpaste and his teeth look fine. There are three of them and they all have their own favorite toothpaste. But my DIL only makes ones meal and you either eat or not. Works for them. Every family operates differently and yours seems great to me.

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