My seven-year-old is learning how to tie her shoes. There is a little saying thing to help kids remember, but I can’t remember how it goes… “the rabbit hops around the tree and in the hole” or something? So, instead of a cute, little rhymey thingy, we just cry. I mean, isn’t that how every lesson ends up when you have a strong-willed kid who doesn’t think that, even though I’m in my 40’s, I could possibly know how to tie a shoe correctly?
That’s how a lot of lessons go in my house. I once asked my kiddo if she thought she knew more than me. Without even a blink, she said, “of course, mom!”
I had kids in my elderly years. Feels like elderly years based on how tired I always am. More realistically, I was a little bit older than most of my friends. I wanted kids, but my body didn’t work that way, for awhile. My heart dreamed of emotional moments holding a baby, snuggling my kids, swinging and coloring together, teaching them how to sew and bake. We do all those things. Except my oldest kid isn’t interested in snuggling anymore, my middle kid cries when we color because none of the colors are “right” and the crayons break; we can’t possibly use a half of a crayon. I let my kids help me bake a cake and, instead of a picture-perfect Martha Stewart moment, they were screaming over who licked more of the bowl and put little eggshell pieces in the mix. Nobody told me that when you try to create that perfect moment, all it takes is one popsicle breaking and falling to the ground to have a hysterical crying child throwing a fit on the ground. Also, Norman Rockwell forgot to paint the baby screaming and holding on to your leg while you cook. So the picture I imagined looks a little different than the reality.
I want to be the patient, loving mom who endures all these little moments with fond sentiments and gratefulness of heart, remembering the days I longed for children. I admit though, I tend to lose my patience quite often. I didn’t handle it well when the kids opened all the new boxes of cereal and cut the bags with scissors right in the middle, spilling the top halves allllllllllll over the kitchen floor. Then they ate all of the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms. Who likes plain oats with no marshmallows? I could’ve just bought blah cereal and saved some money. Also, funny that they are creative enough to know how to find a stool to reach the top shelf where the cereals are, find mommy’s scissors, open plastic bags and eat only marshmallows, but can’t figure out how to use a broom. You know what else is funny? Them having to pay me out of their earned money so I can go buy more cereal.
I admit I didn’t handle it well when my kid yelled at me and told me “no” because I asked him to pick up his trash seventeen times. I also didn’t handle it well when, five minutes later, he picked up the trash, opened the pantry door and threw it on the floor. It didn’t even come close the trash can because he didn’t even try.
I hope my kids remember me as loving and kind. I don’t want them to remember how I responded when they decided to empty all their dresser drawers after I spent two days folding all the laundry and putting it away. So, sometimes I have to utilize the resources I have available to me to deflect a few of those trying moments.
2020 is a good time for that. We don’t use much technology in our house. I hate what it does to our kids. They don’t have ipads and computers and cell phones. But I do. And I am happy to use it when I get desperate.
Back to the shoelaces. So, in an effort to minimize the crying, I found YouTube videos. Thank goodness someone else can teach my kids, all through the free service of an app you hold in your hand through the technological miracles and wonders of amazing inventors whose names I do not know. Thank you, people I do not know.
So, for two hours, my kid sat outside, with my phone, tying her shoes over and over again. She finally got it!! Yay! We both had a proud moment.
I try not to question why my kid is willing to learn from a British lady who knows the rabbit song over her own mother who loves her, but I’ll take it.
I also didn’t know there were SO MANY ways to tie a shoe. I thought there was one way. I thought everyone tied their shoes the same way. According to YouTube, there are actually LOTS of ways. (At my house, let’s just stick with one way for sanity’s sake, o.k.?)
YouTube also gave my kids PE lessons on rainy days during our “school at home” adventure. It also gave my daughter art lessons. I have one kid who could spend about three days just watching people lay train tracks in what I’m assuming is a Russian language.
It’s hard being a 2020 mom. I can’t stand those kids who can’t eat out at a restaurant without a phone in their hands, and yet, I can’t say I haven’t done it. I want my kids to engage and learn to behave without technology. Yet, it’s an unavoidable part of our lives. Heck, I can’t even cook anymore without googling the recipe. And thank goodness for the ability to watch a video on what might’ve gone wrong with my meringue so I could fix it while I still had time. (Side note, I just wrote that so you would know I made meringue… I’m pretty proud of myself.)
I was once the mom who was certain I knew how I would parent. That was before I was a parent. I may have secretly (or not so secretly) judged others, swearing I would “never” do that. Well, here I am, world, more confused than ever on what I’m doing.
I think it’s just about balance - using the technology as tools and education, and sometimes as sanity. As long as we don’t miss out on the hugs and snuggles, however forced, and the laughs and the moments. I need to learn when to put my phone down, and when to pick it up. It can connect me with the world, but it can also connect me with my kids. I don’t even care about Russian-speaking-train-track-layers. But my four-year-old does. So, I can learn with him. One day when he has an amazing career with the railroad, I’ll accept his awards on his behalf.
Let’s be honest, I want to be the one to teach my kid to tie her shoes, and yet it saves my sanity, and our relationship, if I just let the British lady do it.