i LOVE this quote, it's really speaking to me these days.
Firstly, because it's funny, and i've always got to have funny in my life. Whether it's a funny movie, something funny the kids say (did you know there's a country called "Chicken"? Actually, Sarah meant Turkey), or just laughing at myself (which i do often and always have. How can I not laugh at myself for things like discreetly stepping out of---and leaving behind---the too-big underwear I was wearing over my tights (to help keep them up) . . . before nonchalantly stepping onto the elevator at Meier & Frank downtown . . . during the Christmas rush?! It's laugh, or cry. Or the massive explosion that let loose as i bent down to pick up the sausage-making machine at Mazzi's . . . with the older boy . . . that i had a huge crush on in high school. it's laugh, or consider moving to Chicken!) So, to avoid becoming a shut-in or moving to an unstable part of the world, i have bravely chosen to laugh at myself.
I often use humor to diffuse situations with my kids, and it works a lot of the time. i don't make fun of them, out loud anyway, but if someone's being what we call a Grumpelstiltskin in our house, a little tickling and silliness can pull them right out of it. Actually calling them Grumpelstiltskin used to make them laugh for a while too, that was really easy. But things are very intense in our house these days, so the humor's a lot harder to pull up, and pull off.
Another reason this is such a great quote is because it reminds me that i might think i have a great plan for getting our family smoothly down the road, but life's got a completely different itinerary in mind for us. We were tooling along with Cruise Control, then . . . BAM! . . . the second child comes home and it's been A LOT of left turns ever since.
But Cruise Control isn't all good, sometimes it can make us tune out, or even get a little complacent. As all parents know, we have to be alert and on-guard at all times, always running to stay a few steps ahead of the little buggers. Especially now, with all the scary stuff that comes directly at our children through their electronics. YIKES! Last year one of my children---the one i never thought i'd have to worry about online, a lesson for all parents out there---Googled "boobs" unbeknownst to me, of course. Sherlock Moms that i am, i started getting suspicious when she began asking me lots of questions of the gynecological nature. not one of my better parenting moments, but fortunately i was far more freaked out by the whole thing than she was. "It's just the human body, mom, i wanted to see what i will look like when i'm older." Eeek, right, left, up, down, which way do i turn with that one?
The final reason i love this quote is because it reminds me to stay creative in my thinking and parenting. All children are a challenge at times, but a child from a Third World country, who spent close to 3 years in an orphanage, brings all kinds of new fun to the party. All the knowledge and insight i gained and wielded so brilliantly when raising my daughter . . . ZOOM, right out the door. Time outs? Scratch! My son was a runner, he'd be down the street before i got to the driveway. Go to your room and calm down? Scratch---after hundreds of dollars in damages to walls, doors, and doorjams. Losing favorite toys & electronics for a while? Don't mean a thang when you're used to having absolutely nothing of your own for very long, before it's taken away by a bigger kid or an adult.
I'm left with Talk it out & learn new ways to handle anger and stress. We're working on it---now that we're both finally speaking the same language, literally---and there's a whole village helping us out: mentors, Big Brother, therapists, psychiatrists, coaches, teachers, school staff, etc., etc., etc...
We used to blast a CD and dance together (but they're really starting to doubt that i taught Michael Jackson all his best moves, and now i can see in my son's eyes that my Elaine Bennis dance beat and kick-ass robot moves are costing me respect, so no more Running Man . . . in front of the kids anyway).
And now that he's on to the true nature of his Jedi Training class, yoga, tai chi and deep breathing are out. Too bad, cuz they really worked---when he thought he was fighting stormtroopers. But openly participating in an ancient tradition thousands of years old, not so much! i still think it's one of the most brilliantly named classes ever. The least likely population to enjoy yoga and breathing exercises? Turns out its super-charged 10-year-old boys: "I hate breathing, Mom!"
We enjoy playing games together, so i created a board game for building stronger and closer families. Note to self: Don't play when son is already cranky; see above reference to kick-ass robot moves and subsequent reaction from son.
Therapists, seminars, classes, workshops, websites, books, friends, family, total strangers---i will listen to anyone with reasonable parenting advice. And now i'm even learning from Cesar Millan. Yes, you read that correctly---the Dog Whisperer!
And i'm not alone: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/fashion/22dog.html?_r=1&ref=cesarmillan.
So, yes, getting creative with our parenting is extremely important. And you never know when and from whom you'll receive the best little nugget of knowledge to help you raise compassionate and respectful members of the human race! (In a future blog i will share a couple of nuggets i've received that have made a profound difference in how i see my children and how i go about trying to parent them as best i can.)
So remember, When nothing's going right, go left. You'll find yourself in unfamiliar territory but turning off the Cruise Control can be a really good thing---for you and the kids!
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMy God, NO, you cannot keep the mouse the cat has just been chasing around the house!!!