Well-behaved kids

At first glance, this post on FB made me smile.

Even though there should be a hyphen after “Well.”

Then I reconsidered. My kids occasionally have bad days — in outsider-speak, they “misbehave.” I have bad days, too. And good ones. Do I get a discount when I am having a good day? No. So why do I get one when my kids are?

If you said “Because you are being blamed for their undesirable behavior,” you get a gold star.

My kids are normally very gracious. The big one says “please” and “thank you,” and keeps tantrums/messes to a minimum. She says “hi” to everyone she meets, and has since she could talk. She’ll charm the pants off you if you talk to her for five minutes. The little one is so chill, he once fell asleep in Pump It Up. And he, too, is a little charmer. He loves to make people laugh, as well.

But they have days. Days when the big one throws a hissy fit because it’s Wednesday. Days when the little one will not be appeased no matter what we do — walk, sit, rock, nurse, play with toys, nothing helps.

I can take credit for neither of these things. I do what I can to elicit publicly acceptable behavior, but the big one is just now grown up enough to comprehend that there is such a thing. The little one answers to himself and himself alone. As most 7-month-olds do.

And my kids are neurotypical. I cannot imagine how posts like this sting for parents whose kids are not.

At the risk of flagellating a deceased equine, children are people. Not pets. I have not trained mine to do anything. If you want to award gold stars for parenting, reward me. For not losing my temper when my daughter empties 5 packets of Splenda into the salsa bowl…again. For gracefully dealing with a jackkniving son whose antics are flashing my nipples to everyone in a three-table radius. For cheerfully accepting that I might have to eat standing up while nursing a baby and entertaining a preschooler, which means I don’t really get to eat at all. Reward me for dealing with all this with a smile instead of vague threats and sharp words.

After all, unlike them, I am old enough to know how to behave in public.

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