Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Always Thought It Was Me

Before Spanky, I would take my three well behaved children just about everywhere. The restaurants, the mall, the library. And we would be flooded with compliments. Everything from they are so sweet and polite to you are doing a great job with them.

I beamed and believed them. Secretly, I would notice the mom who did not have the kids under control. The child who was throwing food on the floor, the child who managed to rip all the books off the shelves in the library. Surely, the child needed guidance. Surely, it was the mom. Kids are blank pages we help to fill.

Then I had Spanky. Dear sweet Spanky. Spanky is that child the other parents look at in shock. At 14 months, he learned he could drag a chair across a room and get access to everything. He threw my iPhone in a pool, he enjoys running to the altar during church service, loves to hit anyone who disagrees with him, and, recently, has been on a quest to make my new carpet look not so new. And he is winning by the way.

After Spanky,  we stopped going out to eat and opt for take out, books are ordered via Amazon (small price to pay right now) and almost all clothing is courtesy of JCrew.com (men's, women's, and children's inc. shoes). 

Yet I did nothing different. I did the same parenting I did with the other children. I use the same reward/punishment system yet the outcome is anything but the same. So maybe kids don't come as a blank template waiting for our help. Maybe some come with the pretty flowery soft templates and others are more loud and geometrical. Perhaps, it is not as much a parent that determines a child's temperment, rather the child comes with his own ideas. And some children, even if raised by Mother Theresa are going to start smacking their brothers at the altar during communion. And some who, even if raised by the most self-absorbed mom on the planet, vow to fight world poverty before out of diapers.

I can't tell you why. If I knew, I am betting I'd win some Nobel Prize or something. Kids are different and it has nothing to do with the parents. It took Spanky to prove that to me.

Now when I see the mom struggling with the little girl who emptying ever sugar packet on the floor, I give a smile of support to the mom. I know how she feels. And I thank Spanky (and God for giving me Spanky) from the bottom of my heart for teaching me this.



16 comments:

Amanda said...

It's certainly true that no two children are the same!

It's my eldest boy that is Hyper. And on the rare occasions that we do go out to eat, it's him that causes the trouble. You would think that he was old enough to know better! And the younger ones just have to copy him, don't they?!
We have had quite a few "dirty" looks of strangers when out and about.

Like you say, it's easier to eat in!

Cute picture of your Spanky.

Love,
Amanda x

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

You are such a sweet mommy to Spanky! I have a Spanky of my own and you are right: no child comes out waiting to be taught a temperament. That fire inside their bellies is inborn into them. But I'd never thought of being thankful that my wild child taught me to be less judgmental of other moms, until you said it. It's very true. I quit long ago thinking that moms can control their kids out in public. We've all gotten a crash course in calming the tiny beasts. ha ha Thanks for reminding me.

Susan said...

I too am perplexed how they are so different. You think that everyone should be just like your child, but that is not the case. I am learning so much more everyday about how unique and special each child is...
However, I do wonder though... it always seems to be a younger one that gets into more trouble. Maybe that is not true for everyone, but that is just what I notice. :-)

Brian and Staci said...

Ohhhh Sweet Spanky :) What would your life be without him?!!!? Okay, well, maybe life would be a little less chaotic and your carpet might still look brand new five years from now...but definitely you would miss the excitement and "spice" that child adds to your family :) You are so right...my two are as different as night and day! Same parents! How DOES that happen?????

photomama said...

your spanky sounds like my Little Mister.

dani said...

you are right, lisa... every child is unique with a mind of his/her very own; some just find it a little more quickly than others:D
tee-hee!!!
love,
dani
ps. spanky is a dead ringer for "spanky" in that photo... so, darn cute!!!

mah-meeee said...

and i would so totally smile back. that's totally me - stressing out on my misbehaving kids.

we need more understanding moms like you! i've gotten one too many glares that we eat in almost all the time!

The White House said...

ah... resonating in my heart... here is my destiny

Elaine A. said...

I totally agree. I think some kids do just beat to a different drummer.

And Spanky is SO lucky to have you for his Mommy! : )

Elizabeth said...

how right you are, lisa. i often try to stop myself before having some of those thoughts about my well-behaved tot...but she has her tantrum moments also...just as any child...

Formercitygirl said...

What a cute picture! Both my girls have days when they're just like Spanky, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Nothing wrong with a little bit of spunk

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Isn't God good! ;) GREAT photo...love the hat!

Anti-Supermom said...

Oh Lisa, this is how I feel about Wyatt. He is so sweet, genuine and LOUD.

I still take them out to eat, just to places where it's acceptable to be noisy and messy and well, two.

I'll be thinking of you the next time Wyatt throws the sugars across the room :)

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

Somehow our third is our "easiest." We always say if she had come first, we would have thought we were parenting experts. The other two had set us straight before she was born. We only go to restraunts where we're pretty sure ours won't be the worst behaved. :)

He is a cutie!

the Preppy Princess said...

Oh, he is such a sweetie despite his rambunctious nature! That photo is darling!
tp

JCK said...

Our children are our greatest teachers. Especially the challenging ones. I definitely believe in nature over nurture. I think nurture is very important, and can influence, but nature weighs more.