You have to try on a lot of different kinds of people to know what fits.
Parenting lately has been a constant deep reconsideration of my fundamental "truths".
Children should listen to their parents. Should they? Not always.
Children's behavior is a reflection of your parenting. Truthfully? Not always.
Sometimes when Lane behaves like a punk I take it as a personal hit. Yeah that's my kid starting a riot in school and no I don't have any idea why but I'm sure it's that I'm not putting him in enough time outs. I'm sure it's something I could be doing wrong/different/better.
Yeah that's my kid eating only french fries for dinner and yes you have every right to judge me because he'll throw a full on tantrum if I ask him again to eat a bite of meat.
I've always wanted to be like-able and do well and it's come at the cost of not always following my personal truth. I want to exist well enough in society so society will leave me alone to be my own kind of crazy that doesn't disturb anyone. I want my family to "keep up appearances" so no one will ask too many questions and we can go about our disfunction in peace, our disfunction that involves a decent amount of mental illness. But Lane says fuck that, in his own 4 year old way.
Lane lately won't do anything unless he understands the reason behind it - I mean understands in a 4 year old way. If we ask him to do something that makes sense to adults, we have to reduce it down to something important in his world or it won't get done and the power struggle is REAL, ya'll. Most nights I go to bed wondering how I could have failed so hard.
But it's not about failing and succeeding. It's simply about raising someone (who has their own cocktail of DNA) into a person who can live in the world - and the ways to live in the world are so vast that even that is reduced to basically just raising someone until they're old enough to raise themselves. And that someone is not you or even like you, they may be completely different than anything you've known before. They may be prone to emotional bursts when you are logical or very social when you're an introvert and you still have to stick with them when they make choices you absolutely don't understand because it's not the choice you'd make.
The truth that has been the most honest for me this year about parenting is that control is an illusion. You cannot control a child in the traditional sense of just forcing them to do what you want, like most people implore you to do when your child is running around a store or making too much noise or won't eat dinner ("Can't she control her child?" strangers whisper). And instead of saying, "I'm so sorry - let me fix this - let me change his behavior for you" I'm saying, "Why?"
I'm really ok these days with Lane learning how to be his own person. I'm ok with supporting his bad choices so he can see the consequences for himself instead of just TELLING him what not to do. I'm ok with him misbehaving in controlled settings like preschool where he can learn what it's like to be the bad kid and directly experience what happens.
When I first started getting these reports I was horrified and just wanted to curl up inside myself. My sweet, cuddly, energetic, beautiful child is doing WHAT now? But now I not only accept it, but LOVE it about him. I love that he is not afraid to try behavior on and see how it feels. It's like that old saying about relationships - you have to try on a lot of different kinds of people to know what fits. Take those exact words and relate them to your 4 year old self.
If we all grew up with more people loving us even when we weren't what they wanted us to be, this advance in culture happening in our world today towards more acceptance with sexuality, feminine power, race, religion may not feel so hard.
What I hope to pass on to my kids right now is that they are accepted. Even if they are snotty, misbehaving, tantruming, picky-eating 4 year olds, they are accepted as a part of this family, exactly as they are.