I had to eavesdrop! Don’t judge; you know you would’ve too!
“She has to love.”
“Duh,” the other said. “Of course.”
“And no spankings,” the first added. “But she needs to be able to yell without shouting and be really good at saying their name.”
“Yeah.” He takes a deep breath and then proceeds to demonstrate: “DAVID JOHN CARTER, you are grounded until I lose my memory!”
“If I have kids, I’m going to give them a middle name with only one syllable. Otherwise, it doesn’t work very well.”
I stop listening for a second to reflect on this. I mouth each of my children’s names silently and realize they’re right!
I succeeded in the name department with the youngest two of my children, but the first child has four syllables in her first name and two syllables in her middle name.
It’s not very natural to yell her full name — but as the first child, it really wasn’t on my radar to yell her name anyway. Phew.
By the time I reengage to eavesdropping, the kids have digressed into who can initiate the most annoying laugh. So, I yell (without shouting) their full names and tell them to get back to the task of getting ready for school.
I can’t help but wonder what I missed of the discussion before I walked in.
After all, if I heard anything that made me squirm I could always interrupt and explain that everyone is a great parent until they actually have kids.
But when they leave the house, what will they thinking parenting is all about? What kind of parents will they be? Am I preparing them for success in that area?
As I drop the kids off at school, I vividly recall a moment when Katarina was a little six-year-old. She is watching me carry around baby Anabelle while I’m taking care of the morning routine. I tell Katarina that it’s time to make her bed and she runs and gets her stuffed animal. “I’m a mommy to Rella,” she says, “so I’ll make my bed with her.”
Touched, I tell her how to hold the ‘baby’ so that the neck is still supported while she makes the bed. She listens but then gets out her scarf and makes a make-shift sling. “I know your way,” she says, “but my way still works too.”
And she was right. I hope I never forget it… especially if they become parents one day.