Monday, October 13, 2008

Don't Even Think About Feeding The Frogs

Remember that lecture that you used to get from your parents when you were fifteen? You know, the whole sit-down, look-you-in-the-eye, "I'm very disappointed" lecture? That one? Yeah, well, try getting it at thirty-five. It's worse. Like, so worse.

This past Saturday, we spent a good chunk of the day over at my parent's house. It was a very relaxing day. We had a nice visit, did a little shopping with my mom, hubbs and my dad visited in the garage, the girls jumped on the trampoline, we had some chili. It was incredibly pleasant.

Fast forward to about 11:30 the following evening. Just before bed, I check e-mail. There is an e-mail from my dad. Or what I would like to refer to as a 1000 word essay, on "How To Be A Better Parent."

About an hour earlier, my parent's arrived home from a wedding to find their frog aquarium completely clouded over. My sister had pet frogs, and left them with my parent's to take care of while she went away for a year to teach in Thailand (a whole other story). Anyway, my parent's have managed to do a great job at keeping the frogs alive the entire time. So you can imagine their surprise to come home and find the aquarium in much disarray. It looked like a whole bottle of frog food had been dumped into the tank. Even worse, my brother had just spent an hour and a half cleaning it out the day before. Thankfully, the frogs were still alive, very fat and content gorging themselves on the bounty that had been provided.

So I get this essay from my dad, about raising children and teaching them to not get into things they shouldn't get into to. All things I've never, never heard before and have never, never, never thought to teach my children. This is news to me. My dad's good about adding the happy faces at the end of his sentences, so that it doesn't sound like a lecture, but I know my dad. He might as well be sitting right in front of me. I can hear the tone. I'm in trouble. This totally stinks.

So Sunday (the morn, after my dad's essay/e-mail), after a much restless night, cuz I totally should not have read that right before I went to sleep, I know I need to get to the bottom of this and figure out which girl-o-mine did this. Of course, it's A-girl. Bless her, it usually is. Though I do have to say, the last time we went over to my parent's house, O broke a table. That was another lecture (though not as bad as the frog one). O totally didn't mean to do it, it was a nesting table, that fit under a larger table, and O thought it was a chair. She was sitting on it coloring at the bigger table. The big lesson for that one was that she didn't tell anyone she did it (accident or no) and my parent's found it on their own. So that was a biggie and only the weekend before. We are on a roll, aren't we? Hence, the 1000 word essay on parenting, from my dad.

See, it is my fault, more than the kiddos. They are totally doing what 7 and 5-yr-old's do. What happens is I get over to my parent's house and it feels like my house. All comfy and relaxing and that's what I do. I get comfy and relaxed and if I know where the kiddos are in the house, can hear them, no one is crying, check on them off and on, I'm thinking..."we're good." Totally a completely different scenario than say, shopping at Target, or walking through a parking lot. We're at grandma's house. It's nice there. The food is good. There are soft things. Safe. Because of all these wonderful things, we always want to go to grandma's.

I know my kids aren't horrible kids and that my parent's aren't thinking, "Hit the road Jack, and don't ya come back no more, no more, no more, no more..." just because one daughter broke a table and the other one fed the frogs a year's supply of food. I know that's not the case (my dad had happy faces at the ends of his sentences). But when your parent's call you on something like that, actually say, "you need to teach..." it kind of feels like that. Like you are the worst parent in the world, cuz your kids haven't learned these valuable lessons yet. I can't predict what they will do next. I can rest assured it will always be something good. I just hope I'm in the room to catch them before they do it.


Mummy said...

Ooooh, I can imagine that must have hurt to read, Sunshine!!! And yet, I can't help giggling....just a little.....sorry! I bet the frogs thought Xmas had come early! Oh and I'd better add a :) - nice of your Dad to include them too!

Hillary said...

Aw, Sunshine. That's quite stinky. The essay, not the frog food...although the frog food probably wasn't well...a pleasant scent.

I'm sorry. I hate that feeling. The feeling of disapproval from the folks.

::sigh:: I wish I had something better to say.

I had a similar thing happen...but not at my parents' house. We were at friends. They were a retired doctor and his wife and they'd kind of taken us under their wings. I'm not sure why...perhaps pity. Not sure.

Anyway, usually it was a great time together...though we were in such different worlds. Alli was a baby, I was still married, and my ex was out of town, so they asked me to bring the girls and stay at their house.

The morning I was leaving, they had to leave for some function before I was able to get packed and out. So they left and just asked me to lock on my way out. No problem.

Well I had a baby and a two year old. So I sat Meg in front of the tv with a Veggie Tale to watch. They always captivated her. She never even blinked. Normally.

So I sat her down and went to work on packing...disassembling the playpen, etc. I was about to go out and check on her (as I'd done every couple minutes) when the people came home. Apparently Megan had taken interest in their computer and was ABOUT to touch it.

I hear Megan crying and go to find out what has happened. The doctor had scolded her (REALLY scolded) and she was heartbroken. She hadn't done anything or hurt anything.

He gave me a lecture on how expensive computers were and that she had no business touching it. I think he also went into me watching her more closely. But he was MAD at her. SHE WAS TWO!

Well, I was trying to make peace, so I told her she needed to apologize. (Although I think it was a bit extreme...she hadn't hurt anything.) She was scared to talk to him by then. And when I FINALLY got her to come into the room and take the plunge, he just stared at her with this arrogant look...not welcoming the baby who's trying to obey me and apologize.

It took forever and to put it frankly, he was a real jerk about it. I had ALWAYS thought really highly of him, but after that I didn't really want to go there anymore.

Anyway, blog, blog, blog. Sorry, I should have done this on my own. :)

Dee said...

Sunshine, I can imagine how you felt, that sinking, churn the stomach feeling. Especially getting it in an email - I know you love your dad too, but is he an emailer and not a phone person??? My mum would have rung me up and said,(in my scenario) S just fed the fish the whole tin you better come and clean it up... LOL...

My girls are a Watch EVERY Minute type, which means I never get to relax.

Now that A is getting a "big girl", she could understand "the talk" on not touching things and consequences.. S is getting it at present, so I know how you feel

And Hill, that guy was way too mean...

Jennifer P. said...

Just suck in their wisdom and be ready to spill it out to those grown-up versions of your girls some day :).

Sunshine said...

Mummy--Yeah...I'm so sensitive when it comes to anything w/my dad. I just morph into a 10-yr-old again. But...but...but *I'm* 35 now, Dad(dy)! ;P

Sunshine said...

Hill--Okay that guy was just MEAN! I've met people like that...once...and then I'm done with them.

Sunshine said...

Dee--Yeah, my dad is not so much a phone person. He finds things are best put into written (typed) word. He was always big on telling me to "write it down". That was like the only 2 EVER notes(essays) he's written me though, so it just felt like a HUGE deal to me. Why is it such a big deal to me? MOVE ON!

Sunshine said...

JenniferP.--How are you so wise already? ;D