My children get compliments frequently on their behavior. Just yesterday someone said, “My, but don’t they play well by themselves?” I nod like it’s complicated and has taken great effort, but it’s really quite simple.
Would you like to hear my perfect parenting secret? Would you like to know why my children are responsible, capable, and can entertain themselves?
It is because their mother is a flake. But, seriously though, it’s true.
Yesterday I went to register my son for kindergarten. I loaded up all the kids and drove down to his new school. I parked and put two dollars in the meter for an hour, just in case it took that long. I thought I’d take the handicap entrance with the stroller which led us on an inadvertent tour of campus and to an elevator tucked in a closet. I ended up asking directions from a very helpful fourth grader and finally found my way to the office only to discover that I had forgotten to bring the requisite paperwork.
That is correct. I did not forget one paper, nor two, but three separate pieces of paper that were required.
The office lady apologized, “I’m sorry, I should’ve told you.”
She looked so genuinely abashed I had to tell her the truth, “Oh, you did. I just forgot.”
When we went back later my five year-old son said, “Got the forms, Mom?”
He’s going to be responsible, see? And this is the key to stellar parenting. Well, and being lazy.
And there’s no faking lazy, if you’re concerned about a mess it won’t work. You have to really not want to get off the couch.
So that when they ask, “Mom, can I have a glass of water?”
You can sincerely say, “I think you can get it yourself.”
“Mom, can I have a snack?”
“Only if you get a bowl of raisins and bananas for everyone.”
It comes easier to some. And that is why my kids are especially self-sufficient, because I’m lazy.
And, then, there’s that bit about me being a writer. Which means all day long I’m walking around with a vacuous look on my face listening to the voices inside my head and agreeing to everything my kids say with a dull murmur. My kids read books to each other. All arts and craft supplies are fair game and they can get out and put away everything all by themselves. My five and three year-old can make their own breakfast and lunch. Why? Because Mom’s writing.
Don’t worry. I still get a chance to screw them up. Because at some point I manage to get involved, play games, take them to the park, and say impulsive words that mark their delicate egos indelibly.
Let’s see … flake, lazy, preoccupied. I have so much wisdom to give! Who knows? Maybe someone will come along, read my blog, and give me an offer to write a parenting book. Maybe? Anyone?