Them, the little people monitoring you at all times. They're everywhere... watching... listening... emulating.
You, a stupid clueless human, stumbling through life, constantly trying not to screw up.
Them, the naive tiny adorers of you... absorbing everything you say and do, because they think you are amazing.
You, just trying to make it through the day without losing your cool... constantly watching your language while driving so that your offspring don't end up swearing at the pokey kid on the tricycle in front of him.
Them, in awe of you... the person they want to be.
You, in awe of them... the person you wish you still could be.
You are a parent. You are an example. Always. Modeling behavior with your actions. Nonstop. Every moment of your day. ALL THE FREAKING TIME.
It is particularly difficult for me to try to be a the kind of person that I want to influence my kids. There is a large chunk of my personality that could easily be labeled as "Intolerant Asshole".
This is intensified by the fact that when I speak, no one in my house seems to hear me. NO ONE. Not even the pets. Not the children. Certainly not my husband.
When a woman speaks in the forest and only men are around, does she really make a sound?
Thing 1 has recently started playing t-ball. He is trying really hard to learn the game. I have loved being a part of his practice at home. We have spent a good deal of time playing catch, practicing batting and running bases. It is wonderful spending the time with him because he is such an adorable little dude. Even though softball or baseball is the furthest thing from "my sport", I am the one home with him, thus have been the one primarily practicing with him. We are sort of learning together, if you will.
I spent my summers riding horses up the mountain, not throwing a ball in a freshly mowed field.
Toe-may-to. Toe-mah-to. Catch a ball, sit a trot, strike the lighting position in a meadow; it all relates.
The other day, after a weekend away with my husband, I started playing catch with Thing 1 in the yard. Brock soon joined us. Together, like a picture perfect family, we were the throwing back and forth to our child. Taking turns, we were both slowly lobbing the ball underhand to our five year old so that he could get a chance to catch it. Then we were encouraging him to throw overhand back to us. Instead of throwing overhand, he was modeling our behavior. He kept forgetting the overhand throw because he was watching what we were doing, and softly lobbing the ball underhand back to us. So softly. After one particularly slow lob, my husband said to our son, "Oh come on! You're throwing like a girl!"
Hold the phone.
Papa say what?
I won't lie, as a girl who played six years of sports in junior high and high school, I was seething.
Listen, I'm the first one to admit that I say a lot of shiz that I shouldn't. But, seriously, you don't say that to your kid!
Yet! I did not utter a sound because I firmly believe that actions do speak louder than words. I am instinctual in nature and my reaction was calm and calculated.
So I turned and chucked the ball as hard as I could directly at my husband's head.
Luckily for him, he was to the side of me. He simply stepped back to avoid the face/baseball collision. Then I looked him dead in the eye and asked him, "I'm a girl. Is THAT how girls throw?"
His reply was silence.
Clearly, neither of us are capable of modeling good behavior. Hopefully we have other life skills to offer our children. Skills like baking. And laundry. And pounding nails. And eating crow. And laughing at ourselves for being fools.
Basically, our kids are screwed.