I’m reading a lot of songwriters’ blogs lately. It’s great because apparently people who are creative musically are also insightful and VERY, VERY funny…

{Besides that, I get a rush from knowing that I actually KNOW people who write songs… like REALLY write songs… Songs that get PLAYED, I mean… I feel cool by association and I need all the association I can get since none of that ‘cool’ stank is originating from me.  The fact that I only know ONE of those people doesn’t matter, because I read the others’ blogs.  That counts.}

but knowing that I’m laughing at their blog entries always makes me cringe with the thought of what would happen if they heard our "Burping Time" song or our new van ride favorite "I Got My Blue Shoes On and They’re Dancing in the Van…."

Yeah, that’s pretty much the entire lyric scheme right there. Well… the shoes change colors… okay…well…{ahem}

So I’ll never be as prestigious as my favorite reads or have my projects win dove awards or anything… I might someday be as talented in weird children’s songs as Raffi. Maybe that’s what I will aspire to. Or that guy that wrote KISS A COW. Now there’s a good song.

Oh… in my own defense and in case you were worried, I haven’t used the ‘burping time’ song since Orion was a baby.

Speaking of Orion as a baby brings other memories too. I’ve been remembering, as a part of my conscience’s attempts to get my attention by violently stabbing me through the heart, how I used to be complimented on how I interacted with my children, ….er… child. Yes, I was proud of it at the time… now it’s just painful to know that it’s possible to ‘do it right’ and that I’m just not doing it.

I have always learned much from observation and while growing up I determined early as I watched other parents in action that… when I had my ranch and had my adopted son…

(I wasn’t getting married, and I certainly wasn’t doing THAT!, so you see… adoption was really my only option.. and I liked mud and activity much better than playing house or makeover or dolls – just ask all those deprived and disappointed nieces out there… so the adopted son truly was the sane choice at the time.)

I digress.

So, there I am on my huge ranch as the kind of person who naturally drew all the neighborhood children to my closest pasture for baseball and soccer… I would ‘do it right’. Not yelling, not permissive, not authoritarian, consistent in discipline and upright in example, my children wouldn’t be spoiled or deprived. I was going to actually appreciate my children… no "I just want them to go away for awhile!" "I can’t STAND him/her today!" or "She/he/they is/are driving me crazy!" from me. No, sir! All children in my area would yield to my slightest whisper, the most imperceptible shake of my head. Because they loved me and hated to disappoint me peace would reign and we would go about in song as if we were one big happy musical.

"Supercalifragilistic…" Sing it with me now!!

For those of you who are also waiting to perfectly raise your child(ren) and become a home-owning neighborhood favorite of all people under five foot,

You should know that aunts and/or babysitters can actually pull this magical show off as long as the little buggers get taken home soon enough (read: before you lose your summoned up energy and creativity). This will make you think you can do it as a mother (which you actually CAN… in a limited sense… with a single child…or two terribly compliant children I suppose….)

If you become a mother, though, they don’t leave, and you have to find some way of sustaining inhuman or at least in-adult levels of energy and creativity 24/7. If you find a way to do that, I can produce the names of no less than 2 million mom’s that will pay big bucks for it. Not that I’m discouraging motherhood. Just the idealism and possible resulting judgmental attitude towards us non-skipping, non-singing, sometimes even crabby mothers that you will run into (Yes, hidden somewhere in that was a confession from a prior time. Pass the humble pie.)

For the rest of you,

I hear your equally shriveled idealism laughing in sync with mine.

All that said, the ideal actually did happen (thus the complimenting). Not all the time, but WAY MORE OFTEN when I had only one child. {In my limited experience… this ‘perfect parenting of one’ is a common phenomenon.} We even did the songs. We had the aforementioned burping songs, changing songs, riding in the car songs, shopping songs, be patient songs, walking outside songs, even a song that meant it was time to drop everything and come to mom. All this in addition to a large repertoire of bedtime songs. We STILL have a brushing teeth song and a climbing stairs to bed song.

Is it any wonder that my oldest started belting out a ‘going to eat breakfast’ song this morning in my bedroom? Subtle hint it was not.

Not that I didn’t sometimes turn into the mommy from the black lagoon when I had only one. I did. But he would cry and thus reciprocate the broken heart and I would remember that this was not a proper route to healthy children.

Somewhere between Lithany beginning to (as near as I can tell in retrospect) knowingly disobey at 9 months and today, I have quit using the song approach and started using the crabbing approach. Until recently, Lithany didn’t care to listen longer than 10 seconds to anything short of a loud noise. For awhile I wondered if she had hearing problems (all evidence to the present indicates that this is NOT the issue… we are amateurishly diagnosing our little butterfly with "selective hearing".)

While my first sweetly trained me to speak calmly and responded well to quiet or sung requests and would listen and understand/apply explanations of WHY certain behaviors are important or destructive… something I’m now told is inconceivable in any child under 2… interesting, since it worked with him… my second had me reduced to a screaming lunatic within three months of learning to challenge my authority.

In reading "Little Men" (something I never thought I’d do), I watch Jo interact and calmly reprimand, instantly encourage and always have the hearts of her boys wound around her little finger. I realize that this is a work of fiction, but does that have to stop me from trying to make it reality? The calm, patient and virtuous responses and anticipating preparations really do work to the parents’ advantage. Even and perhaps especially with high strung kids like my daughter.

So… this morning when my daughter started her ‘ignoring’, I chose to be the mom I was BEFORE she was born. (I’m assuming God had a lot to do with it also, then and now and will refrain from showing my foolishness by pontificating on where exactly He’s been in the interim.) Instead of huffing in disgust (something she can now do equally well. I’m so… um… proud?) and crabbing ever so loudly in order to get her attention, I calmly said, "Lithany, come her a minute."

She, absolutely floored by the lack of huffing, complied. I then explained that I needed her to listen like a big girl today. To my shamefaced amazement, she has. I tell her to stop, to come, to go, to wash up… she’s obeying. It’s like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone.

Not that this will ALWAYS be her reaction to good actions on my part. Not that I will always be DOING the good actions. It’s taken me two years to get to this point, it may take longer than that to retrain the brain.

But…

…maybe she’s ready to help train her crabby mother into a calm, quiet, singing mother.

…maybe Orion’s told her that I laugh more and spend more time playing when I’m not busy being angry and frustrated.

…maybe she just wants to laugh at me when I start singing, "Clean diapers are the thing for me," while I change her brother.

If Raffi is dead, he is surely rolling in his grave. If he’s alive, tell him his reputation as the famed child song writer is about to be overtaken by the singing mommy from the black lagoon.

Advertisements