After that last post I kind of worry I talked myself up too much as a parent :-). I think I’ll take a bit of Mr. Fob’s example and give a couple parental confessions a shot.
1. More than once but not more than five times I’ve answered “Because I told you to.” In response to “Why?” I promised myself I’d never use such a non-answer with our boys, and it used to grate on me when I heard other parents use it… but, beyond the tenth level of why’s after I ask them to do something, promises to self get broken. It will never happen again, I promise.
2. Twice I’ve brushed one of my son’s teeth with the other’s toothbrush. Yes, my heart sunk too when I realized it. Of course, I’ve no good defense for this one. There are simply those occasional nights when bed time can be what one might imagine it’d be like to go into the jungle, chase down and restrain a wild chimp, cajole it into Sponge Bob pajamas, and hope for it to calm down while you read it a story. Add to that the dim light of bedtime and I hope, boys, if you’re reading this in horror as an adult, you’ll give a modicum of forgiveness to your pop.
3. I ate some, only some of their candy after they went to bed last Halloween, and never got caught.
4. I taught them what the speed limit is and how to read the digital speedometer on our car. This may not sound bad; I know I didn’t anticipate any problems. Now, though, every time I go even a mile per hour over what’s posted, I make them think their father is turning to a life of crime. How to explain “But everybody does it, everybody goes about 5 over!” to your kids? You think about the teen years and you don’t. That’s how. Now I’m stuck by fear of guilt at exactly the speed limit, as I probably should be; parents be warned.
5. There have been times I’ve hurt my children by assuming they understood something on my level when I should have known they only heard it on their level. For example, our boys did pre-school three days a week, half-day. Kindergarten, though, is all day, and that’s how I phrased it, “all day.” First day of kindergarten, I found Brian crying, and he wouldn’t tell me why. After some talking he let out that he was sad because, in his mind, he’d not be home until bed time. When he understood that “all day” just meant he’d be at school for lunch and two more hours, he was fine, but my heart broke to think he imagined that’s what we wanted or were asking.
6. In one of our home videos I reversed the frames so that it looks like they’re sliding up a slide. When last at that same playground, Brian was trying to remember how he did that, slide up a slide. I thought it was so cute that I didn’t relieve him of his confusion. My excuse was that I want him to figure such out for himself, but to see him experiment at the bottom of that slide… well, I admit I was more motivated by the cuteness than imparting any lesson about magic or physics, contrary to my parenting policy on such. .
7. I have accused one son for something the other did. Okay, yes, sometime’s I’m not a great detective when I find a crime scene in the home, and face two suspects refusing to fess up. I have been fooled by circumstantial evidence. I feel horrible to have put one kid in the position of defending himself from false accusations, not to mention letting the other feel they can get off scot-free that way. Once, they even got heat for a mess I made; I did, though, confess. I’m grateful they seem to have begun to take responsibility more readily, but I am very sorry for those couple instances.
I’m sure there are others ways in which I’ve fallen short. I hate to think on some of the more serious of those above (though, sure, I don’t have much penitence for, say, eating their candy). Every parent is probably bothered that they’re not the perfect parent. Nevertheless, no one is, and I’d hate to have a parent who thought they were.
Simply, in defending my family’s right to be and have equal treatment, I hope to never give the impression that I think we do everything right as parents. Like most any parents, we may do an overall good job for our children, but we fail at times too, and still have much to learn with each new phase of their lives. I wish we could do so without the added scrutiny, without feeling like we have to be twice as good as average to be considered equal, but it is what it is.