As a mother, I find myself saying the most bizarre things: “Don’t throw a shark at your brother!” “Yes, you have to wear pants,” and “Is that blood or ketchup?” are just a few of the things I have caught myself exclaiming this week alone.
Kids do weird things and sometimes you have to explain stuff that you never imagined yourself having to actually discuss with another human being. It’s just part of the whole parenting gig — the hard part is that you have to do it with a straight face.
When your 4-year-old comes up to you and tells you (very seriously) that he can’t wear his shoes today because they’re “too yellow,” or that he needs to go to the doctor because his “finger aches,” it can be difficult to know how to appropriately respond. And by appropriately, I mean by not just laughing at him.
I may sound like a terrible person for saying this, but a “crisis” to a 4-year-old is kind of a funny thing to witness.
From my son Ben’s point of view, having to wait to go outside because a shoelace came untied takes forever and sharing the leg-hole in the two-seater grocery cart with his brother is the worst thing ever. I once asked him to bring me the wipes as I was changing his baby brother and he stomped off muttering about how he had to do everything.
To make sense of it all, one has to abide by “kid logic.” And while I haven’t yet decoded all of the rules and guidelines, here’s a “top-ten” of what I’ve discerned so far:
1. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich that isn’t cut into geometrically perfect triangles is ruined and completely inedible — and yet, a God-knows-how-old goldfish cracker found under the couch is perfectly fine.
2. If you feed all of your French fries, one by one, to the dog, you are then lawfully entitled to your parents’ French fries owing to the fact that you didn’t get to eat any.
3. Any toy your that younger sibling may happen to take an interest in — no matter how lame — is immediately deemed the coolest toy ever and you must have it.
4. All of your requests to a parent must wait until said parent has sat down and gotten comfortable.
5. Wearing a light jacket outside when it’s a little cool or windy is completely unreasonable and yet clomping around inside the house wearing galoshes, a raincoat and carrying an umbrella is a totally normal thing to be doing at 7:30 on a Sunday morning.
6. A banana with a brown spot is poisonous.
7. Red traffic lights will turn green faster if you scream “Go!” and kick the back of the driver’s seat repeatedly.
8. Fruit snacks shaped like sharks taste better than any other kind of fruit snacks, despite the fact they are chemically identical.
9. Whatever pajamas that were accidentally forgotten at Grandma’s house are the only ones that will be acceptable to sleep in. Wake parents up every two hours throughout the night to remind them the importance of said pajamas. Once pajamas are retrieved, refuse to ever wear them again.
10. When running out into a large and spacious back yard, it is vital to ignore all play things and instead aim directly for the one pile of dog poop that your parents neglected to see and/or remove.
Is this all of them? Of course not. It’s an adaptive list that changes as moods and circumstances differ from day to day. It is, however, a decent starting point.
In my limited experience, I have found that humor is the number one skill required in parenting. Because for all the things they do that can drive you nuts, if you take a minute to stand back and really look at it from the outside, most of it is pretty funny.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.