You know the old line 'the more people I meet the more I like I like my cat'?
I've had a week spent among general population and I can honestly say with out a doubt that I love my asshole cat.
Spring break has been spent with both of my kids, and in order to keep them amused I have had to endure public places and group activities.
During this week I have been witness to questionable parenting, and am admittedly guilty of some of my own. I have sat in front of screaming parental banshees, seen neglect, and some folks that should have had to pass a test before procreating.
I am not the best parent ever, I am comfortable with being the Worlds Okay-est Mom.
After spending time surrounded by other people's spawn I have come to a realization.
I really like my own kids.
My own kidlets are generally nice, usually polite, and do not require much screaming at. The Spouse and I try to teach them respect for others, and reverence for adults. My kid's aren't the first ones rushing to the front of a line, pushing and shoving the others. My kids aren't the ones poking the back of your head at a theatre or kicking your seat. If our kids are misbehaving we are on them, correcting, teaching what is acceptable.
They can't be expected to be perfect, and won't learn unless they are allowed to make mistakes, but we try and use these experiences as a place to learn and we try to set an example. Especially when out in public.
There is one thing I cannot stand and that is disrespect for adults. Familiarity allows for a certain amount of ribbing, and my kids understand this. Rarely do they cross the line with adults we know well and when they do are quickly reeled in.
I was part of an exchange with one child this week that left me in awe of the balls and pure disrespect that a child can express with no familiarity. He was trying to be smart with me, his comment had an intentional cruel edge. I used this as a 'teachable moment' and I will admit it took everything in my very being to not 'school' said child and introduce him to my mastery of wise ass-ed-ness. I was a responsible adult and dealt with it swiftly with little fanfare, plus it doesn't take much to out smart a cocky 10 year old. Besides I'd feel bad for making him cry.
I trust he will think twice before showing disrespect to an adult again. If it were my child- (and if it were I'd be beyond embarrassed) I would hope another adult would be willing to step in and not allow it to go unpunished.
Having spent time with so many other kids this week I understand now, when The Boy comes home and talks to me about school mates he struggles with, why he has issues with them. When I see them in social situations and can observe how they act and talk to their peers - I get it. I can sympathize with The Boy, and understand why he wants to punch them in the throat. He's no angel, trust me I'm well aware, but I even want to turn some of them over my knee.
I'm proud of the fact that I can usually alter my kids behaviour with just a glare. Experience has taught us that a consequence quietly hissed in a misbehaving ear carries much more weight than screaming until you're blue in the face. A consequence that is also applied, not just threatened, reminds them who's in charge.
It takes a village to raise a child. We are fortunate to be part of an amazing village of great friends and neighbouring families that are like minded and are trying to raise polite, respectful people. It helps that these fellow villagers have full permission to discipline our kids just as they would their own.
This week was full of 'teachable moments' for both the kids and myself. I've been reminded that we're doing a pretty good job with our kids, and our kids are lucky to have a mum and dad that are doing their very best.