So why CAN’T the kids come with a parenting manual?

Sheesh, I ask myself that several times per week. Now, being the good little readers that Laura and I are, I know that the parenting books, videos, magazines, etc. out there are plentiful – and believe me, we’ve read many. But, I usually think to myself “Well, who made Dr. Sears or the “Love and Logic” people the experts – better yet, the experts on MY kids”. Sure, maybe their parenting tips worked for THEM but are they working for me? It would just be easier if I intuitively knew what to do in any given situation.

Let me paint you a picture of a typical dinnertime meal:
There’s child #1, Foster, stating he’s “starving, when’s dinner?” Children #2 and #3 Logan and Seth are typically getting in each other’s things and someone is usually screeching at this point. Laura is busy preparing the meal (after basically just walking in 20 minutes prior) and I’m trying to make sure nobody gets a limb caught in something, breaking up a squabble, or cleaning up kids preparing them for dinner.

Foster is still whining that he’s starving and the twins are still fighting over a piece of lint they found under the sofa.

Finally we all sit down to dinner and automatically Foster doesn’t want whatever is in front of him – well, sometimes he does.

Logan is climbing onto his chair all the while making sure his favorite baby doll is right next to him (or some other item).

Seth is dragging his heels coming into the dining room, and typically dragging some toy or truck or book or free McDonald’s toy to the table and then immediately starts removing anything green from his plate.

About 45 seconds later, and the precise moment Laura and I sit down, someone needs something – water, ketchup, a spoon or fork (‘cause they just tossed theirs on the floor). So we get that. Then about 2 minutes later Foster is done eating and asking for dessert (he usually gets to pick out 2 pieces of candy from the candy bowl). Of course then Logan demands to be done, followed by Seth who has eaten nothing. Logan’s chair and the surrounding floor are covered in crumbs, Foster is trying to pick out a Spongebob episode off of TiVo and Seth is wandering into the living room.

Then we eat – quickly because soon it’s time for bath, shower and bed for three kids. All the while Laura and I look at each other and wonder – what have we done wrong, why aren’t our kids all sitting quietly, elbows off the table, napkin tucked neatly on their lap eating their food WITH utensils (what a concept), proudly exclaiming “Mum, this food is absolutely delicious, you both are the best mums in the world and we love you – thank you for providing us with the most nutritious meal and taking such good care of us!” Then, I am quickly snapped back to reality when I hear the water running in the bathroom (WHO is in there?), see Logan running around stark nekkid wanting his bath NOW and hearing the kids yell at each other to “Move, you’re standing right in front of the TV – MOMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!”

Well, okay, sometimes it isn’t that bad but really, a manual designed for our kids, for our family would be greatly appreciated.

Sometimes when we’re out and about I watch other parents and their kids – and sometimes I think “Hey, they’re dealing with the same crap we are” and sometimes I see parents deftly handle any issue that crops up. I sure hope sometimes WE are the parents that other parents wonder “How do they handle those 3 adorable boys?” because yes, sometimes they are very well-behaved in public, even in restaurants (!!) and I feel very lucky indeed. Well, I always feel very lucky and blessed, but sometimes I just want the parenting answers inserted into my brain. Either that or Super Nanny – please come for a visit – we’ll feed you!


Casey said...

Sounds like dinner at our house too. Isn't it oh so much fun sometimes? :)

Kathy said...

One thing that has worked well to relieve the "hurry up I'm starving" stress for us is to start out by putting a dish of carrots, cut up cucumbers, apples or snap peas out. I then tell the kids they can eat as much as they want while I prepare dinner.

gabrielle said...

for a minute there I thought you were describing dinner at our house...send super nanny our way when you have finished with her, harriet is terrified of her on TV