There was a day when, as a child, I wanted to know why there was such a big hype about coffee. My parents called it theirs…”Could you grab my coffee?…Could you warm up my coffee?” What was so special? So I asked and was told it was for grown-ups. “But why?” I asked and each time the response was the same…”Because I said so! This Is Not For You!”
I am so glad I grew up…because I love my coffee! I repeat the same requests, when the boys are around, for a warm up or re-zap of my coffee. I smile, inside, as I channel my elders in this you-do-it-I-don’t-want-to-get-up mentality.
The other day, while packing for our trip, my youngest was sent downstairs for some baggies. (zip-lock baggies are a must when traveling.). He took a little while to return and when he came waltzing in to my room he carried with him a fragrance familiar to my sensitive nasal receptors. “What took so long Bud?” He said he could not find the baggies. “But you found them…thank you!”. The scent was lingering…and for a split second I thought I may have spilled some coffee on my shirt. “Hey Bud…come here a second.”. He slowly turned with that I-did-not-do-it look on his face. “What did you get into downstairs?” “Nothing!”. I stepped closer and the distinct aroma triggered my senses. “I smell coffee! Did you drink some coffee?” He swore up and down that no coffee passed over his lips and that he knew he was not supposed to drink it. “Do you know why you are not supposed to drink coffee?” The hamsters were furiously running on the wheel in his head. He struggled to find a suitable response. “Uh…I don’t know!” Oops! Epic Fail!
Sooo…he could not tell me why he shouldn’t drink coffee and as a loving mother I wanted to help him understand…clearly! I went downstairs, as he followed, and poured a cup of coffee and handed the cup to him. He refused it the first time but with further urging he began the steady sipping of the coffee. I began to tell him how parents try and help their children by watching what they eat and drink to keep them safe. There are just certain things that your little body cannot tolerate in any dose much less large doses. Things like candy, cokes, pastries, and caffeine. Now add in the fact that you are ADHD. “The coffee was beginning to turn his stomach and the faces he was making were filled with struggle.” I began my “Lecture #236” What Sugar and Caffeine do in the body.
When I finished he asked if he could stop drinking and I said yes. I told him that he would have to work very hard to control himself. It was at this point he turned around with a quizzical look, only a child can have, and asked me a final question. “I never knew all of that…I just wanted to see what it tasted like because you said no!” I chuckled and replied ” I never said no…I said “Because I said so!” because you should realize that there are just certain things I know that your don’t.”
Long story short…he had drank the rest of my hubby’s latte’ before returning upstairs. The over-active mind and body of this 11 year old was launched into overdrive with this stimulant coursing through his little body. He did work very hard to control himself and for the most part was well behaved the entire day. The good news is that he learned a lesson. He said he was sorry and that it would never happen again!”
He doesn’t like having the shakes and the coffee made him really shake. He was hesitant to even re-fill my cup. At least I know he won’t be drinking coffee again for a while. As for me…it is Coffee Time!
“Do you want me to pull this car over?”
“Leave your brother alone!”
“Don’t make me come up there!”
Words to live by! Everyday parents all over this great big world of ours experience frustrating situations with children. To bad we can’t act like they do. What if we acted the same way and said the same things? I venture to say the results would be eye-opening. I will list a few of the statements heard in my house on a daily basis. See if you have heard any of them before.
My children: Mom and dad:
I’m bored! Go play outside.
Can I have some coke? We are eating dinner soon.
He’s bothering me! Leave your brother alone
Why? Because I said so!
Whatever! I’m the MOM!
HUH! Treat people the way you want to be treated
Can I go _______? What time will you be home?
Why can’t I? Be home before dinner!
He won’t leave me alone! Do you really want to wear that?
I am going to my room. Clean your room!
Leave me alone! Have you done your chores?
But I just sat down… But I just sat down…..
I am so tired! You’re tired! (lol)
ZZZZ!! (napping) You will not sleep tonight.
You don’t know what I have to do! Do your homework, chores
You have no idea! You’re right…I never was your age…
“Alright already!, enough is enough!, What was I thinking?” If I, as a mother, said the phrases my children say to me; they would laugh. They might stare blankly at me thinking I had lost my mind. We find out, as we grow older, that our parents were not as ridiculous as we originally thought. Then, to our dismay, we find ourselves repeating the same phrases and logic to our children. SCARY! I recall a day when my three sons were really testing my resolve and I simply looked at them and said “I am going into time-out!” I retreated quickly to my bedroom and turned on the TV. I relaxed and thought about my next step. The next 15 minutes was very insightful. There was a timid knock at the door and a little voice asking if I was okay. There was silence when I did not respond. The concerned whispers began then a spirit of resolve. I checked my watch and I had been in my room for 20 minutes. I walked to the door and opened it to find the three boys sitting next to my door. Each of them were sitting quietly not knowing what to do. They figured by sitting at the door they would be safe. “I am sorry!” they each said and gave me a hug and went to clean the mess that had started the whole string of events. I acted as if nothing had happened and started dinner. When dinner was ready the boys were called. We sat down and said the blessing. It was my 7 year old’s turn to pray and this is what he said.
Thank you for the food and thank you for this house. Thank you for my mom who put the wrong person in time-out. She did not do anything bad. Help her know that we are sorry that we did not do the room and will be better tomorrow.
They had sat outside my door and worried about me while thinking about what they had done to cause this action. Punishment served! This lesson only lasted a little while. I never put myself in time-out again but probably needed to. I could have used the break! The limited view is beginning to expand as they grow up, thankfully. The older boys understand things with more clarity and I catch them giving parental phrase to our youngest…. I have to laugh and then stop them. “You are not the parent!” Where have I heard that before? I try to gently remind them that even though I appreciate their intention to relieve the pressure from me I still need to be the one who is in charge of the situation.
The phrases and words, repeated daily, may sometimes fall on deaf ears but they do eventually sink into the dark and ever expanding matter located between a child’s ears. Hopefully, as adults, we will continue to learn as well. Our ability to handle situations must alter with each new adventure and be tested by the world we live in. The life we lead is different than our parents and though the root of the problem may be the same the approach must adapt to the individual and circumstances. The influences are so vast compared to those of my childhood and the chances of sheltering a child from negative situations is an uphill battle. The basics are necessary and then we must go “step by step and day by day.”
I wish we could implant manners and not have to struggle teaching them. I wish respect was automatically obtained at birth. These two concepts would virtually bring conflict to a standstill and laughter would replace fussing, helping replace complaining. What?….a girl can dream! Right? Fortunately, I have had some of those times when the boys were, without any coercion, getting along and helpful. “Those are the days!” For now I will have to realize that my boys are respectful when around others and they do use their manners. “Words to live by” are just a way of communication. They offer the material to build bridges between children and parents. They can teach and remind, the parties involved, of past situations and feelings. Parents do not want to see mistakes repeated. We can only hope that one day they will be able to “Walk in our shoes” and understand the importance of these “Words to live by!”
I know I probably left some of the best phrases off the list. You probably have some of your own…What would be some of your “Words to live by”?