Thought of the Week: Are They Really So Different?

A child and a grownup…but which is which?

A child and a grownup…but which is which?

It’s a funny business, living with a child. It’s a little bit like living with a mooching flatmate who is quite a bit smarter than you. (And shorter, which sort of makes up for it.)

You see, when you’re talking about children in the hypothetical (as in, “we might want kids some day”, or “aren’t your sister’s kids wonderful?”), they seem a little bit like kittens: small, furry and adorable. They’re supposed to giggle and coo and drink from a bottle and smile with a little toothless smile. Or say things like, “Daddy says mommy gets grumpy when she sits on rags, but I don’t see why she doesn’t just get up.” They’re supposed to hold your hand crossing the street, and be suddenly polite when your parents are over.

Uh…right.

What tends to happen is they cry and vomit on you, shit on your shoes and flush your car keys down the toilet, say things like, “Mommy, daddy said not to tell you he drank six bottles of beer last night,” and then suddenly they want to read to themselves at night, and tell you off for using bad language. There isn’t really a gradual change (at least that’s how I remember it); one day they’re a tiny little brat, and then suddenly they’re more of an adult than you are.

And that’s the funny – and scary – part. Children, of course, are supposed to emulate their parents. They’re supposed to try on mommy’s lipstick, cut themselves shaving with daddy’s razor, check themselves out in big brother’s high heels; it’s what they call growing up [side note: I think that might be where I went wrong]. And you think that you’re supposed to be in control of that process. After all, the whole reason to have kids is so that you can raise them in exactly the opposite way to how your parents raised you.

-Pluto-a

It’s perhaps as likely as anything that children come from here.

The thing is, you’re not. Whatever you think you will be/won’t be/ought to be/would be if your wife didn’t nag you so much, that’s exactly what won’t happen. You turn around, and there’s this little four-foot nothing person that looks and acts like…well, like you, only better. Naturally, you ask where on Earth this person came from. Who let them in? Do they have a driver’s license? Should you offer them tea, or put them on the next flight to Pluto?

Children make themselves from what they find around them. And that is probably about the only thing that you have any say in. You see, we’ve raised Little Satis (through no deliberate thought) to speak, to think, to read and to understand. I think what might have happened is that this opened his eyes to see what was around him. And what he saw was us telling him we love him, yelling at him because he won’t clean his room, reading to him at night, and telling him for the millionth time to turn the damn light off when you leave the room (us swearing, too). And this made him. Would you like to know how I know?

Because now he tells me off for leaving the lights on. Reminds me to give him his vitamin. Points out that mommy will be angry if I leave clothes on the floor. Wakes up early because he doesn’t want daddy to be late and lose his job. Tells me to write things down as they come to me because I know I’ll forget.

And quite suddenly, I’m not sure who the grown-up here is. He’s telling me my music sucks, and I’m really sure that’s supposed to be the other way around. He’s giving mommy foot rubs, and telling her she watches too much TV. That nurturing environment? All of sudden he’s taking care of us, the incompetent grown-ups.

Then again, maybe that isn’t too bad a thing. After all, we’ve already taken care of him for eight years; it’s about time we got something in return.

daysarejustpacked

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229 thoughts on “Thought of the Week: Are They Really So Different?

  1. we’re not quite there with our littler guys although the 2 year old in this house is known to yell from his room at night, when he doesn’t think he’s ready for bed (but we sure do) “frigging mommy, frigging daddy”. yes indeed. it makes me laugh and cringe. at 2 it’s funny but it’s setting the stage for what’s to come… and that makes me nervous. nice piece my brother. nice piece.

    • Awesome – I can just hear him now! My wife makes a (valid) point that we shouldn’t swear around him because he’ll pick it up, but so far he’s the one scolding us!

      Thanks, sis.

      • Frankly, I’m amazed my daughter hasn’t picked up our swearing. Her first word was “ki-ki”. Now she’d two and knows her alphabet and how to spell her name. She’s constantly surprising me with things I have no idea how or when she learned. I am lucky she still hasn’t picked up the f-word. 😀

          • Do you know, that’s funny; my little brother’s first words where ki-ki; it turned out he was trying to say Chris, for his big brother (or at least that’s what I’m to let myself believe). Incidentally, a story my parents always told me about my older sister is that as a small child, she loved to pull her socks off and say so. The only problem is that her S would come out like an F – in other words, “Fock off!”

  2. Love this post! We don’t have kids yet, but a lot of friends already do and sometimes I wonder what life will be like when we do enter that stage of parenthood! Personally, I am kinda not looking forward to the day when my kid tells me my music is “old” and “sucks” :-0 Congrats on being FP!

    • Thank you! There are the little things that make it all worth it, but the long spells between make you wonder why those little things make it worth it in the first place. Sigh. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    • Very much so! I’m supposed to email his teacher if I’m going to pick him up early from school, and he won’t let us leave the house until I’ve sat down and sent it.

  3. I am yet to be a parent but I have watched my nephews grow up closely. The eldest one is 14 and acts like he is our grandfather. He corrects us, nags us to set up the living room sofa, negotiates for money and does everything else to make us wonder what happened to the cute 2kg baby my sister brought home in 1999.

    • You know, I’m sort of afraid to think what he’s going to be like at 14! It’s hard to remember those very early days, and when I look back at photos I find myself thinking, who is that little thing in my lap?

  4. hahahaha…i’ve been told my friend’s kids and sibling’s kids – “you should not say this…it’s a bad word…say sorry”….”you should not do that…its wrong…now shall i punish you?”
    All i can say to you is..I hear you… 😉
    lovely post…congratulations on being freshly pressed

    • Thank you. It’s funny, because I always thought it would be him actually using bad language that would prompt me to stop; instead, it’s him scolding me for it that’s helped me tone it down!

  5. SO cute. I don’t have kids, I am only 23. But I can understand where you come from because I have 7 nieces and 1 nephew and I see what they, in turn, TEACH their parents. It’s inspiring and wild. I can’t wait to have children one day and learn so much from them–including how silly my clothes were “back then”, how boring my movies are, how MEAN I am, and how BAD vegetables taste. I appreciated this piece and especially appreciated Calvin and Hobbes at the end. My favorite comic growing up, and–appropriately so for this piece–still my favorite on a rainy day. Maybe us adults never grow up?

    • Wow…seven nieces sounds like a handful! My clothes were already silly back then, but I try not to be mean (though my perspective and his might differ on that matter). And yes – vegetables taste BAD!

      Love Calvin and Hobbes too – like them, we never grow up.

  6. And then they’ll be 20, and scolding you for not making balanced meals, so they’ll be promising to come home on the weekend and stock the freezer with crock-pot meals. Or maybe that’s just me.

    • Hmm…that doesn’t sound so bad to me. It’s funny when look at the big picture though – how over a lifetime things shift from the parents taking care of the kids to the kids taking care of the parents. Just didn’t think it’d start so soon.

    • See? I’d forget too. We have an acronym we use: HFTN (pronounced Hef-Ten): Hair, Face, Teeth & Nails. The daily routine for getting ready. He does it more often than I do.

    • He’s eight as it happens, so good guess! He’s actually an only child, so there’s no issues with being oldest; maybe it’s something to do with being youngest…

      Thank you for your thoughts, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • So very true. It’s just the little things, when they say something that makes you pause; that’s when you find yourself reflecting on your own behaviors. They’re like accidental therapists.

    • Well very belated congratulations on your child! I remember the feedings at four in the morning and the diapers and the spitting up; and even then you don’t mind. When they start talking (and talking back), you need to watch out!

    • You know, that’s something my wife points out time after time, always to my denial: I’m just like my mother/father. It drives me crazy because it’s always their worst characteristics I seem to have embodied – and of course, because she’s right. It certainly is scary.

  7. That is so true! I had an aha moment when my daughter turned 4 and I asked her to do something and she turned around and told me ‘I only have two hands, you know’. My mom used to say that, and best is, I didn’t even realise I was saying it so much!

    • This made me smile. I can’t remember exactly when he first said, “Do it now or you’ll forget,” but I do remember my jaw dropping at my wife’s words coming from his little mouth. You really aren’t often aware of your own behaviors and quirks until someone points it out – and kids have a knack for that.

  8. I have an 8 year old. He thinks he knows everything there is to know about everything. He accuses me of counting wrong when we play Monopoly. No matter how often I tell him I’ve managed to survive 40 (ahem–some-odd) years and can count to ten, pass go and collect my 200 Monopoly dollars thank you very much–he still re-counts them. Good stuff!

    • Right, so I’m smiling right now; that little face, furrowed and frowning, adamant that he’s right and everything else in the world is wrong. So very, very familiar! I think I’ll hold off on Monopoly for a while, then!

  9. I don’t even have children, but I think I noticed this change in myself when I started to feel like more of a grown up than my parents (not to say they don’t act like adults). I think it has to do with wanting to learn to take care of yourself and, therefore, wanting to take care of the other people in your life. It can happen during that little independent streak children have and also when a person is flung out into the world to be on their own (can you say, college?). This is a really great observation that everyone can relate to and it made a delightful read. Thanks for the post!

    • Thank you for your thoughts! I find it interesting that this is something you picked up in yourself; I’ve found very few people have the insight to recognize their own ingrained behaviors. I love that you talk about caring for the people in your life – not everyone is like that. If you do decide to have children, I suspect you’ll make a pretty awesome parent.

  10. I totally agree. Sometimes my husband and I look at one another and wonder who this miniature person is wandering from one room to another and bossily telling us what to do. She’s only 20 months but when did she turn into a little person? Love the post. X

    • It really is hard to define that point when your baby stops being a ‘baby’ and becomes a person with their own thoughts and opinions. It probably happens somewhere between the first “No!” and puberty. Enjoy your time with your little girl!

  11. I’m sharing this. I’ve been looking after kids for just about twenty-five years, now, and have been parenting my own for seven. They still haven’t got the hang of turning off the goddamn light when they leave a room, nor do they pick up their laundry or leave their shoes anywhere unlikely to cause life-threatening brain injury at the top of the basement stairs. However, they do lecture me for cursing, give me “the look” when I forget to bring my reusable bag shopping, and ask me if I might rather have a glass of water when they see me fixing my fourth coffee of the day…. Not quite what I thought I was signing up for, when I swapped my test kittens for these fierce little, relentlessly replicating zygotes! Thanks for the chuckle. 🙂

    • What a way with words you have! Fierce little relentlessly replicating zygotes indeed! Thank you in turn for a chuckle of my own. The number of times I’ve tripped on a wayward shoe in the dark in the middle of the night is beyond count, but the other day I was particularly upset about something and he says in this polite little voice, “Why are you sad, daddy?” Truth is, I wasn’t after that.

      As for the kittens…our cat was fiercely jealous of Little Satis when he came home, and spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to jump into the crib.

      • Thanks! And, yes, they are awfully good at making us feel better, aren’t they? As for the cats, I equipped my husband with a Nerf dart-gun. It sounds cruel, but the spray bottle kept waking the baby. (Though he did seem to enjoy the “hunt” just a tad too much. *sigh*)

    • Ha! Sarcasm hasn’t hit yet, but the weird phrases he brings home from school both boggle me and remind me of how we used to do exactly the same things when we were little. Apparently the latest thing when you’re not bothered about something is to say, “Whatevs.” Whatevs? It isn’t even a word! But then, neither was bodacious.

  12. I was never able to fully stop cursing when my son was a kid, but he would always correct my language. Now, at 16, he doesn’t correct me as often but now he has decided that one of has should learn to cook. I am so glad he volunteered!

    Great post!

    • Hm…lucky you! Little Satis has a quite a clever scheme in which he tells each of us that he likes the other’s cooking better, prompting us to try even harder. Of course, he’s the one who benefits…

    • It’s particularly fun when they’re not yours. I’m always reminded of the joke: the difference between a son and a nephew is you can give the nephew back. But you’re right – it can be completely unpredictable how they’ll approach any given situation, building on the limited world of experience they have to try and decipher their surroundings. Funny little things.

  13. My two year old is definitely more mature than me. If I cry out in frustration at something small going wrong, he will come over and ask: “Matter, Mummy?”. Then he strokes my head and says: “Oh, Mummy, never mind.”

  14. Wonderful!

    So many truths in your post. I found it warm and engaging.

    My stepdaughter amazes my girlfriend and me everyday. Sometimes, it’s like she’s our best-friend mediating our disagreements, playing both sides objectively. Other times, she’s a frustrating brat arguing with us about homework. One minute she’s dishing us dirt about her father’s side of the family. A minute later, she’s unable to sleep because a story hasn’t been read to her. It’s complicated and beautiful at the same time.

    I understand. Trust me, I understand.

    Thanks for posting!

    Keep it up!

    • It does swing wildly back and forth, doesn’t it? Little Satis can get into a terrible fury over the smallest things (like a premature teenager, which is worrying), and then talk completely logically and sensibly about some other problem. All part of discovering yourself, I suppose.

    • I’ve heard that analogy before, but it really is apt. Particularly when he was little, he’d come out with some phrase or thought that he had picked up from us – but usually several months earlier! Almost like he was taking his time to internalize it, and find a way to put it into context.

  15. Ha! When my oldest was two, he couldn’t get a toy of his to work and being frustrated, he threw it on the floor and said “this fucko thing!” I was mortified, because I knew he had heard that from me. Now he’s 13 and knows way more than I do (at least when it comes to anything techie).
    Great post!
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    • That is pretty funny (and awful at the same time). My wife used to get her mouth washed out if she used bad language; so far it hasn’t come to that, but we’ve got a bar of ivory standing by just in case.

      As for technology…I’m astonished how much they can discover on their own. One day I came home to find a picture of his old school on my iPad; entirely on his own, he had managed to search for it by name (Google correcting his spelling), find it on a map, and then somehow go into street view. He’d never been shown how to do any of this.

  16. When I comment upon this subject I always say “when WE are children, we…” In other words, there is no “us” and “them” here. There is only the “us”. By the way, you might mean “where on Earth” because you later refer to Pluto. The stuff that Americans call “dirt” and Brits call “soil” can be called “earth” but the planet we live on is “Earth”.

    • An interesting point; people are people, as Depeche Mode said (at least Little Satis likes that song), and sometimes it’s worth not making too much a divide between ‘adults’ and children.

      And consider Earth corrected. Thank you!

  17. This post and the comments are so spot on. My husband and I often feel like the children in the house and when I have boughts of depression or despair my youngest (2) always comes over and pats me on the hand and hugs me until I stop crying. And they send me to the naughty step for swearing.

    • That is incredibly sweet of your two-year-old; to recognize not only that sadness but to realize they have the power to do something about it shows a striking emotional intelligence. You’re very lucky.

      All the best with your life and depression (if you read much else on my blog you’ll find it’s something I’m intimately familiar with); I know how guilty I feel when I succumb around Little Satis, but your children’s behavior shows the other side; the simple fact of raising considerate children says a lot about you as a parent.

      P.S. I love that you have a naughty step. It was a life-saver in the early days!

      • Thank you for your lovely reply. My kids are very empathetic, they’re amazing kids. I know I must have done something right, even though I have no idea what! We’re meant to call the naughty step the “thinking step” but I forget sometimes… 😉

    • Heh heh. It’s easy to write about the good bits (equally easy to see the good bits of someone else’s children), but I suppose in the end it’s the good bits that are worth remembering in the first place. Thank you.

    • That’s something I think about all-too often; he already has strops like a teenager; I’m quite worried to see what it’ll be like when he actually is one.

    • Why thank you. Nothing brings that home like the first time they don’t want something they used to. I remember feeling quite upset when he first told me he wanted to read to himself at night; our bedtime stories had been an unmissed nightly routine nearly since he was born. Ah; that’s what memories are for. Now if only I could work on those…

    • I’m curious to know if you came across it browsing for Pluto in the topics section; that would be awesome. And kudos to you for even remembering what you were like as a four-foot nothing; I usually have to think twice to remember when I was born.

  18. “After all, the whole reason to have kids is so that you can raise them in exactly the opposite way to how your parents raised you.”

    Awesome line…never really thought of it that way but I think you’re right.

    • Heh. It isn’t universally true, of course – my wife has the utmost respect for her father, especially for things he did when they were very little to keep them from being put into foster care (long story, but my wife feels ever in debt to him for that). But as for me – growing up was a wonderful education on parenting; I now just do everything they didn’t!

    • They pick up the best and the worst (funnily, not anything in between); “You don’t want him turning out like you, do you?” is a common phrase ringing through our household. Still, I think recognizing the good things and encouraging them can help – it’s also about all you can do!

  19. You’re right. Kids grow up so much faster than most parents expect and while they’ve been wanting the kids to grow up and behave properly, they don’t seem to adjust quickly when it does happen. So ironic.

    • It’s funny; there’s the two sides of it. You indeed want them to grow up so they can learn to behave, but you also kind of want them to stay little and cute, too. If only there was a way to have both…

  20. Reblogged this on From 0 to Baby and commented:
    “Naturally, you ask where on earth this person came from. Who let them in? Do they have a driver’s license? Should you offer them tea, or put them on the next flight to Pluto?”

    This post is hilarious, and everything I look forward to (and am scared to death of) experiencing with Arthur. He’ll be smarter than we are, and probably bossier, and I don’t know if any of us is ready for that yet. We better get started…

    • Oh dear…I certainly didn’t mean to give the impression that you can actually get ‘ready’ for any of this! The dangerous part is that, like any slow change, you don’t even realize it until it’s too late and you’re being told when to have dinner ready and what he’ll be wearing to school. Best of luck!

  21. Oh yea, I have 3 teenagers just wait until that happens… “mom don’t answer your cell phone when you’re driving”, “mom you need to put on sunscreen”, “mom you make us nervous when you drive so fast”. Jesus Mary and Joseph! Who’s the kid now?!!!!

    • I already get that in the car! Usually he reminds me to keep both hands on the wheel, but the speed thing comes in too (the irony is that I rarely exceed the speed limit). I’m already worried about having one teenager; I’m not quite sure how you manage it with three!

  22. Pingback: Picks of the week « Seeds Aside

  23. It’s such a funny thought to think that children can be just as intelligent as adult and sometimes even more (because they don’t over think the matter). I do too believe children cling to their surroundings and that saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” very much proves what you wrote.
    -Great thoughts

    • Thank you! Knowledge don’t make intelligence, and an observant child can be far smarter than a knowledgeable adult. It’s the emotional intelligence that defines the extent to which a child is shaped by their environment.

  24. My 13 year old and I yell at each other and the 8-year old fixes us with his big eyes and wants a group hug. Not sure I ever feel like the responsible adult these days… least I’m the one who made this family stuff happen but not sure I should own up to it!

    • Fantastic. It’s like having your own private therapist: “Now let’s sit down and talk about this like adults.” From an 8-year-old. I’m not entirely sure I made any of this happen; it’s certainly fading in my memory!

  25. Oh, boy! I so like this blog. Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. But wait! There is light at the end of the tunnel – grand-kids. Not only can you enjoy them in a way you can’t with your own, but you can watch them freaking out their parents, just like they did to you. Wonderful. Carry on taking the tablets, your time will come. Tony

    • Ha! I’m just waiting for the day I get to be a grandparent; I’m pretty sure the first thing I’m going to say is, “See? It’s not all that easy, is it?”

      It’s rather funny, because Little Satis seems to have more or less assumed that he will have children. He’s not entirely 100% sure how that happens yet, though.

  26. Excellent post. I have to admit, as a parent, it’s satisfying sometimes to hear other parents talking about how imperfect the whole parent-child dynamic can be. We’re all so busy trying to meet the fictional expectation (usually set by people who have NO kids) that we get caught up in trying to live the fantasy instead of the reality — which is rewarding in itself, just in different ways. My wife and I came into our marriage six years ago with two children each — two boys and two girls. What has amazed me is how, because of our similar parenting style established long before we met (our oldest is 18), our kids are all incredibly similar in the kinds of butt pains they are. At the same time, we also revel in the same triumphs as we fumble our way through trying to foster independence, integrity, respect and keeping their rooms from looking like an episode of Storage Wars. I really enjoyed your post and am glad I was able to find it — and you — through Freshly Pressed!

    • Well thank you! I can’t begin to imagine raising four kids (though my grandmother raised eleven, so there’s that), but indeed it is difficult to separate a fictional ideal from reality. Everything around us, from media to social networking, seems designed to set false expectations: this is how your family should be, this is the kind of car you should drive, everybody smiles and has a wonderful, carefree time on a beach every time they floss their teeth.

      I’m glad that you and your wife have similar thoughts on parenting; my wife more or less has both of our thoughts for us. It hasn’t gone wrong so far, so I’m not complaining!

      • Sounds like you and your wife strike the perfect balance! And, yes, as a parent I feel like I am constantly competing against all of those cultural-media falsehoods, which are turning kids into little “entitlement” hounds. We work hard to be a reality check for our kids, and help them understand that not everything happens with a click, or can be accomplished within the span of a commercial break. Except for the snack platter I make for my wife and I after the kids are in bed 😉

  27. Great piece! I’m not a parent but I’m pretty sure I was this ‘grown-up’ child which is why I’m blogging about a journey towards revisiting my childhood. So much of what you say here is the comical truth- makes for great, comical reading but from pure reflection of real life events. Very interesting!

  28. Its Friday night, my youngest in bed, the others all accounted for. Fire on. Glass of Wine. I will enjoy them again tomorrow. Tonight I love the fact they are not around me!

    • Ha! Now why don’t I do this more often? Sigh. It’s usually: kid in bed, doing dishes, hanging up laundry, trying to squeeze in writing before passing out at midnight…and do the same thing all over again the next day. Fun! I might just take a leaf from your book (if you can spare it).

  29. Great post! I also have an 8-year old boy. Two of them (twins), actually, and I have noticed this shift! I don’t know when it happened, either. I see pictures of these cute little smiling faces from a few years ago and wonder if they are related to the two young men in my living room who are assessing my faults and telling me what to do!
    Thanks for your honesty! And congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Thank you! They can take on such a persona of imitated adulthood…but then do something that reminds you they’re still a child. For us, it’s thumb-sucking; eight years in and it’s the one thing we’ve never been able to get him to stop!

    • As it happens, he’s struggling with his multiplication at the moment, and I had a moment of embarrassed revelation when I realized I had forgotten how to do long multiplication! So many years of advanced calculations on computers, and I literally could not remember how to write a problem out on paper. Horrendous!

    • Well, so far I’ve been happy that I’ve made people laugh, but I’ll make an exception in your case; I didn’t really want to make anyone choke! I am still waiting to reap the benefits of our labors; this kid had better grow up and make me a lot of money!

  30. Fantastic post, definitely gave me a few chuckles. I never had and still don’t have the desire for any kids. At the same time, I’ve always known that there is more to it then the “awwww.” Babysitting my then 2-3 year old niece for a few hrs at a time was even more reassurance to my lack of interest. With that said, hats off to all you parents out there.

    • Heh heh. Sometimes you aren’t given the choice, but it’s nice that people are feeling less and less social pressure to marry and procreate. Trust me, the “awwww” phase runs out pretty damn fast, but in the long run you have the chance to be part of the most intimate relationship you’ll ever have.

      Having said that, I recall having it pointed it out to me that the difference between your kids and your sister’s is that you can’t give yours back.

  31. frightening…..reality isn’t it? My 12 year s going on 40, she turns 13 next month and I have been preparing for the big girl/teenager talk for a year and a half and I am pretty sure I still don’t have it right, the comforting part is she will correct me

    • Good luck with that talk! There are those certain ‘talks’ that as a parent one doesn’t particularly look forward to. With a biologist for a mother we’ve at least been able to gradually explain plant and animal procreation to him (one tiny bit at a time), so I’m hoping at least that talk isn’t too awkward!

      • funny about the biologist mother. My mother taught sex ed way back when and has offered us book for the kid to read, not much better

  32. Strange and true. I’ve been raising my little sister since she was twelve and just sent her off for her first year of college — she’s kind of this amazing person with great values and insights and I’m not quite sure when it happened at all. But, I just get this goofy sort of amazement listening to her describe things. Surreal.

    • It sounds like you have a unique, deep relationship with your sister; I can imagine that you’ve had no small influence on her development.

      In terms of descriptions…Little Satis is very much into writing fantasy stories of his own (wonder where he got that idea?), and some of the descriptions he uses surprise me; not only that he knows the word and how to use it, but that his imagination is vivid enough that he’s able to translate onto paper.

  33. Its funny how we teach our kids the importance of honesty, but we don’t want to hear the truth! But we only want the truth with a filter. The truth is yes I need coffee to function, but to hear “mommy is grump until she has her coffee” has a sobering effect! Great post

    • Oh, honesty is something that has buried its way into him, and it didn’t come from me! I’ve been ‘told on’ by him more times than I can count! There’s no hiding messes for daddy around here…

  34. Kids just dont understand why we lie often, when we are the ones that teach them to always speak the truth. They dont understand that things are ‘easier said than done’. They challenge such stuff. Talk of innocence, Talk of purity, Talk of children. They make me think twice.

    • It’s so true. The black and white of a child’s world is refreshing and honest; either something is good, or its bad. If lying is bad, you just don’t do it. Things get complicated when they are told lying is bad, but see the adults around them doing it. My own mother was a pathological liar (quite literally couldn’t help it), which affects me to this day. Little Satis actually helps me to see these faults in myself.

    • Wonderful – keep that into the teens! Little Satis has an internal body clock that knows the weekends from the weekdays (come to think of it, most children probably do); he’s up at 6:30 AM on Sunday, and won’t move at 7:30 AM Monday morning.

  35. Pingback: found «

    • Thank you! As a father of one, I have nothing but respect for those that go and do it all over again! I’m not sure I could cope with three people (one real grown-up and two imitations) telling me what to do.

    • That aspect of it is certainly true! The funniest thing, though, is that things our kids do that most drive us insane are often the things we do ourselves. Taking 3 hours to clean his room? Could it be because dad never cleans his office…? Oh, yes.

  36. This is a really good post, and timely for me too. My 19-year old is ticked off because my hubby who didn’t have a smart phone to begin with jumped her on the cell phone contract renewals and she has to wait 3 weeks to get a new IPhone. We have raised kids that have outsmarted us in some ways. Being a type A personality, I raised one. My hubby’s laid back…that’s my other daughter. And they are now parenting us in some weird way. How we drive, what we say, how we dress. It’s funny. The circle of life, I guess. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed, by the way. You deserved it.

  37. My kids are much better people than me. So are my students. You would think it would bother me, but I just tell myself that I had something to do with it. That usually makes me feel better.

    • Ha! That’s a wonderful way of looking at it. And now of course, you’ve made me think of Star Wars, when Darth Vader says to Obi-Wan, “The apprentice has become the master.” Let’s just home Little Satis doesn’t turn into Darth Vader!

  38. Never a more true post! My son has been setting me straight for nearly 30 years. What a wake-up that was when I first heard my words coming out of his little five year old mouth! Brilliant post. Thank you.

    • Thank you! I’m very much hoping Little Satis will be setting me straight in twenty years’ time; I’ll certainly need it! It really is so strange when you hear a word or phrase come out of them, and you know exactly where it came from.

  39. I love this! As someone who i currently “in discussion” about the prospect of parenthood its fantastic to discover that my reasons for holding out may in fact be valid!
    Terrific humourous tak on being a parent – cant wait to read more!

    • Hm…I’m not sure it was meant to be a discouragement, but if you got something from it then I’m glad! I found that the reasons for holding out are still there long after the child is born – there’re times when you think, “What on Earth have I gotten myself into?”

  40. I have three kids: 10, 7 and 4. When I was pregnant for the first time, I thought I would teach them something; now, 10 years later, I’ve been surprised everyday at everything I must learn with them…

    • This sounds so familiar; I always had these visions of the kind of dad I’d be – I was going to be the laid-back, cool one; the one who would sit with you and point out new things and make life exciting. Turns out it’s pretty much the other way around now!

  41. Ahh, I’m right here with you! My little mini’s are 6 and 8 and I am constantly shocked to hear a smaller version of me talking back to me.. It can be a delightful and shameful mirror, that’s for sure!

    • So true. Every once in a while they’ll do something and remind you that yes, I actually taught them that! And then of course there are the times when they do something that you “didn’t” teach them, but they learned from you all the same. To hear my own arguments used against me is quite surprising!

  42. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. 🙂

    Don’t you just love how suddenly children think they know better than the adults around them? I am the proud owner of two teenagers who constantly tell me how to parent their younger sister. When I tell them I am the parent and have already done it twice I get told that they know they are just trying to prevent me making the same mistakes I made with them, although they would never admit to being less than perfect if they have any faults it is because that is how I brought them up. 🙂

    • So funny. I’m eight years older than my brother, so I ended up being an impromptu babysitter a lot of times. Even at 11 or 12 I was pretty sure I knew more about taking care of a kid than my parents did.
      Now, of course, I’m not sure ANY of us really knew what we were doing!

  43. Congratulations – what you wrote is so true! I think kids are the best but also the worst of us. My toddler often wanders around the house saying ‘bugger’ (which we don’t think is too bad but the grandparents do!). She is also bossy with the tv and kindly turns it off for us as she goes to bed, and also wants to read her own story.
    I think it is adorable that you are receiving foot massages – you must be doing something right to be getting so much love in return! Well done on getting freshly pressed. All the best!

    • Thank you! I love the thought of her turning the TV off for you…I imagine it goes right back on afterwards! Little Satis has been bugging me for some time now to clean my office…when his own room is almost never tidy!

  44. my 3 year old woke me up the other day silently giving me a foot rub – wtf?! not complaining! she also points out that i’m maybe a little grumpy sometimes because i forgot to eat, which is all too true. smart little thing. i was personally terrified of having kids because i was exposed to nothing but my own frazzled parents & terrible babysitting gigs, but now that i took the leap i see how wrong i was – it’s the most hilarious heart-bursting tiring crazy time of my life…i love it!

    • Awesome – so glad you’re finding the joys in parenting! Little Satis has definitely worked out some of the things that set my wife and I off, and either avoids them…or does it on purpose.

  45. Going back to the earlier profanity comments: One of my son’s first words was “firetruck,” but came out sounding like “f***up.” We were in church one morning (our very quiet, proper Southern Baptist church) and a fire truck went by, and Charlie started screaming out “Firetruck! Firetruck!” It was so humiliating and so funny at the same time.
    This post is great. Very funny and very true.

    • So this reminds me of my older sister, who I’m told as a toddler said her “S” as “F”. She also had an obsession with taking her socks off, leading to the oft-heard phrase, “Fock off!”

  46. Loved reading this, it reminded me so much of my older two when they were a little younger. Some things haven’t changed, though. They still scold me for my swearing, even though I am sure they swear too – just in new modern day words that I don’t understand! At least in this house, we all tell each other that their taste in music sucks!

    • Do you know, you’d think in a household whose musical tastes run from Funk to Rock and Heavy Metal to Classical and back again there’d be enough for him to like, but somehow he’s managed to find those weird little songs that we just don’t listen to (I hear it’s something called Pop). I just find it so funny that rather than learning to swear from us, he’s turned into the language police for our house.

  47. This reminded me of one of my most favourite poems written by Khalil Gibran:
    “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

    • This is really a very beautiful verse here; I’ve not heard of Khalil Gibran, so thank you for introducing him to me. It speaks of the things that should be natural and obvious, but sadly aren’t always. Thank you.

      • His poetry encapsulates the simplicities of life, ignored in our precipitancy of following after fickle desires. He is definitely one of my favourite poets.

  48. Great post! Went away for a week to take a graduate class when my son was probably 4 or so…could not understand for several days, why I was getting so much work done…Duh? No one yapping in my ear 24/7!! Ha!

  49. I am (no joke) better than my mom at lots of things. Since I was a little tyke, I’ve been improving on what my mom did. Kids, especially teens, are naturally critical of their parents, and want to earn their respect. I did that by besting her at lots of things.

  50. Great post .. i have a 2 years old bag of energy .. one day she want me to sit with her at school; the next day she does not bother to say bye when i drop her off at school. Sometimes i wonder if it is the same child or was there a little devil and a darling angel two-timing me!

    • Just this afternoon Little Satis was looking forward to doing his homework (and getting it out of the way), and now if furious because he got an answer wrong. In ten minutes he’ll have forgotten.

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