Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You can dance if you want to

Now hey, I'm not the most patient of mommies (as you might have guessed from my handle, there). I am easily annoyed by whining. I give time outs for talking back. My voice rises a little bit every time I have to repeat a request/command/that's an order do it now or go to your room. I'm going to assume this is somewhere in the realm of the normal. Still, I do try to be as calm and non-yelling as possible, mostly because I don't want all my kids' childhood memories of me to be "and she was always mad at me and she hated me!"

So it gives me some comfort to know that I could be worse. Like the mom I witnessed at a birthday party recently.

It was a dance party, and the kids were having a dance lesson. Her two kids didn't want to go in the studio and join in. Rejected it. Flat out refused. And their mom blew up at them for several minutes. "Go in there now! I said now! You don't want to go in there, fine! You stay there if that's what you want, I'm leaving!" And she huffed off somewhere or other.

Now I have no idea what happened with them before they got to the party. That may have been the last straw poking up out of the Worst Day Ever. But still. If you're going to snap at your kids over something -- and I mean she was yelling -- do you really want to go with my kids aren't dancing? I say this, of course, as someone who had to be physically dragged onto dance floors until I was in college (and then realized no one was laughing at me because they mostly couldn't dance themselves).

By way of a completely unfair comparison, kiddette -- one of the younger kids on the guest list -- didn't want to go dance either. So she hung out with me outside, watching the dancing, periodically swaying to the music. Eventually she went in. And sort of danced, in that she wiggled her butt every couple of minutes in between running around the room. Which actually is more or less what kiddo did. I did get them dancing in a circle with me for about 30 seconds -- the world's smallest hora -- but they each got annoyed about having to share my hands with the other one, and the circle disintegrated.

Ultimately you can't worry about whether your kids will embarrass you by doing X/not doing X/doing too much of X/having no idea what X is. Because they're going to embarrass you. And they won't always play along with something they don't like or don't want, because they don't have those skills yet. Duplicity comes with adulthood.

And now that I've broken the First Rule of Parenting again ("Thou shalt not judge other parents"), I should note that the other mom's kids, whenever I noticed them, seemed to be enjoying themselves at the party. (No idea where the other mom was, though I don't think she actually abandoned them.) I'm not sure they ever got around to dancing, but who cares really?

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