Today I was sitting eating lunch and there was a cute little picture above the table with a couple of toads. These three cute little toads were arranged side by side and one was covering his eyes, one was covering his ears, and one was covering his mouth. It started me thinking about the saying- See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. This is a great concept we should all strive for, but is it really practical or even remotely possible.
I decided to spend the afternoon trying to accomplish this monumental task.
When my youngest parasite came home and decided to play ball in the house- I covered my eyes and walked away. When I heard the lamp break from the other room – I covered my ears. When I came out and saw the mess – I just covered my mouth before I could let my normal loving caring words toward my little nightmare slip out. Now so far I am impressed with my new found super abilities so I decide to keep it up.
When the oldest parasite came home I went down to his room to check on his day – because as we all know teenager boys love to talk to their mothers. When I saw his dinner plate from last nights dinner still on his bedroom floor- I covered my eyes and walked away. When I heard the strangers bad language coming out of his computer game speakers – I covered my ears. When I went down to say goodnight and the dinner plate was STILL sitting on his floor, I covered my mouth in order to avoid sharing more of the bad language with him he had heard earlier.
Now I am incredibly proud of myself so I think it’s a great idea to continue. When my middle parasite gets home and I notice her shorts are entirely too short and her shirt is showing more cleavage than I even have- I covered my eyes. When I hear song lyrics coming out of her room which are degrading to women I just cover my ears and when she over steps her bounds and her mouth smarts off to me- I just cover my mouth in order to not yell back or punish her.
Then a little thing hits me- What the HELL am I doing??? You can’t parent and EVER live up to those ideals.
See no evil?? You better keep your eyes wide open and look for the evil even if it’s not there. They are kids and their brains aren’t developed to the extent of yours. They don’t see evil and are counting on you to see the evil and protect them and steer them in safe directions. If you don’t see the evil – trust me they won’t.
Hear no evil?? You better keep your ears as open as your eyes. Listen to the parasites! Spend one on one time with them- even when they do their best to avoid. If you listen they will, in their own ways, tell you about the evils they are facing. They usually crave direction when they are confused. Let them tell you and work with them to avoid the evils.
Speak no evil? Now this one is the most tricky and the one most parents have difficulty. This is the one that is more like a tight rope. You don’t want to teach them to be judgmental, but you also want to teach them. You do not want to be degrading, but make sure they know they don’t know everything yet. Let’s just clarify here that punishment is not evil. Punishment for bad behavior is a protective maneuver. Neither is teaching them the age old saying “Fly with the crows – get shot with the crows” or Lay down with dogs and you’re gonna get fleas” You aren’t being judgmental- you are being protective. Let’s face it- the statements are true.
So after my day of striving to See no evil, Hear no evil, and Speaking no evil the only thing I’ve learned is it might work with strangers, but it certainly shouldn’t be implemented as a parenting style. So I’m going to change it to SEE ALL THE EVIL, HEAR ALL THE EVIL, AND SPEAK THE TRUTH!
Everyone has lofty ideal’s when they start out on the joyful journey of parenthood. We all spend the 9 months of pregnancy excited and looking forward to this little bundle of joy which we will love and cherish. We will not and I repeat not say the things our parents said or do some of the things our parents did we did not like. We will negotiate and work out our differences with our children- they will be brilliant right?? . We will hug them and tell them we love them when they misbehave- they will be brilliant right? We will talk and have intelligent conversations with them- they will be brilliant right?
Then the inevitable happens and the child is born. Within the first year you start to have a sneaking suspicion the child may not be brilliant. You spend the whole year working with the child and the first word they truly understand and can say is “NO” and they have no intention of negotiating with you at all. You struggle with trying to explain: that’s dangerous, that’s hot, that’s bad, that’s scary, that will break etc etc etc. The child still looks at you steadfastly and says “NO”. After the negotiations fail you resort back to the tried and true method of – OK I’m bigger than you so I will just move you. This method works every time and you start to think- hmmm- maybe those who have done this before me, might of been on to something 🙂
As they grow they learn new words and start to use your words against you. I was a parent who never spoke baby talk to my children. My eldest was about 2 when we were standing in the grocery store check out line. He had been sitting in the cart through the whole shopping experience and was just about at the end of any 2 year old’s patience limit. He pointed at the ground and said “down”. I said “No” so he pointed again and said “Down” in a more forceful manner. I again said “No” at which point my two and 1/2 year old looked at me and said “Down- mommy that’s not negotiable” Now the negotiable was a little garbled, but hey- I got the point. He stayed in the cart, but I realized he was smart. He wasn’t smart in the way I had expected- more in the way I dreaded.
This new found child intelligence turns quickly into the “WHY” stage. Now for those parents who have not survived the “Why” stage yet- get ready because you will shortly find yourself saying things you never ever expected. The “Why” stage sneaks up on you. As a parent you have spent the last 3 to 4 years teaching this little being who you made all about the world. This little fat faced toddler now thinks you are the most brilliant human on the planet and know everything. My favorite conversation every went something like this:
Chid: Mom- Why does that man have a chainsaw in his truck?
Me: Because he was cutting down a tree (perfectly good explanation- I thought)
Child: Why was he cutting down a tree?
Me: Because it was probably dead (I think I’m doing well)
Child: Why was it dead?
Me: Because some bugs eat trees and they die (OK- now we’re teaching)
Child: Why do they eat trees?
Me: Because just like us they need energy and have to eat
Child: Why? Why? Why?
After the next few why’s and my explanations of each I found myself trying to explain a bugs circulatory system to a 4 year old. Right then and there I learned that sometimes a perfectly acceptable answer is “Just cause”
After the why stage their intelligence suddenly turns into the most evil kind of all. At about 8 to 10 they now have the skills to out negotiate you!! They ask to do something and you say “NO”. They then look at you, with that 4 year old cherub face (which they’ve mastered now) and say “Why?” Being the intelligent parent, who wants to always be reasonable, you spend about 4 to 5 minutes giving them many valid reasons for your decisions. Then something terrifying happens!!! That child- who until now thought you were the smartest person in the world- turns into Matlock, Ally McBeal, and Jack McCoy all rolled into one. He could now, at 9 years old, get a job in any court room in the land. He’s arguments are brilliant, valid, and worst of all – better than yours. You try to negotiate, but somewhere around 30 minutes in you realize by the smirk on the little shits face- you are beaten.
This is when you learn the most important and tried and true lesson of parenthood that has been passed from generation to generation. This lesson is painful to learn because it goes against EVERYTHING you believed while you carried them and changed their cute little diapers. It is a beautifully simple statement with no negotiations possible. They hate it because it seems sooo unfair. A perfectly good explanation to any child’s question is “BECAUSE I AM YOUR MOTHER AND I SAID SO!!”