by guest blogger Katherine VanBuskirk
I’ve got this.
Sometimes it’s easy to think that I’ve got this thing. You know? The parenting thing. I’ve done it now for seven years. I know about ear infections and rashes. I don’t darken my GP’s door unless it’s valid. I negotiate bedtimes and treats. I settle arguments and ration snacks to ensure peace. Between my own knowledge and that of my network of Mom friends, we’re covered. Thanks.
Then out of nowhere, just when I’m getting comfortable, I realize that every single day represents a new chance to be thrown under the parenting bus. It’s like being on call. Chances are it will be predictable – easy. Then you sit down at your favourite restaurant or settle into a good movie. Bam.
That’s kind of how I feel lately. G is seven. And he’s an old seven – a kid with a bright future in litigation I suspect. So these days the dynamics at our house are in flux. It became really obvious during February Break when he spent some time in NB with grandparents. Suddenly we were left with one child – a two-year-old, compliant, velcro baby named LL. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a feisty little diva. But at this stage she’s relatively easy. For example, she doesn’t have a strong opinion about what we eat, where we go, what movie we should watch, whether it is dessert night or not or how many days it’s been since she last bathed.
What I realized was that, though I joked about how nice it was to have little LL on her own for the week, the seven-year-old “opinions” are our new parenting opportunity. G isn’t being difficult when he tells us what he likes (or doesn’t), he just has preferences. And that’s okay.
It’s up to us to decide which ones he get’s to weigh-in on and which ones are not up for discussion – like bathing regularly. It’s a hybrid approach – choose your battles meets UN peace talks.
So while we didn’t do a fancy vacation this February Break, I think we can say it was a success on a bunch of levels. Fun was had all over the place. G got some alone time with the grandparents and cousins, LL got some alone time with us. And I once again, got taken to school on this parenting thing.
But you know what? I remember being seven. I remember wanting to be heard. Now I have a chance to give that to G. I suspect that we’ll both be better off. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ve got this thing. At least for now.
Katherine VanBuskirk is a communications professional in Halifax. She is rarely without a latte, a list and at least one of her two children.