Monday, October 25, 2010

Liar Liar

Chad & I are currently debating how and when to handle the pacifier (or "biffy" as we have come to call it) addiction that Alec has. He only uses it at night and for nap/quiet time, but we're questioning whether he really "needs" it anymore. He'll be three at the end of January, and it seems to us that by then he should be biffy-free. On the other hand, I don't think it's hurting anything for him to use it, and I don't think he'll be 21 and still sleeping with his biffy (and if he is then it's his problem to deal with at that point!).

So hypothetically let's say that we want to take his biffy away for good. How should we go about doing this? I've heard several suggestions, from using the pacifier to "pay" for a new toy, to quitting cold turkey, or as my mom did with me, telling him that a mommy squirrel needs it for her baby. These are all good suggestions; however, I don't think any of them are right for Alec. Knowing the kind of kid he is, my mommy voice is telling me to just tell Alec one day that we can't find his biffy. But this leads me to my real inner dilemma... How much is it ok to lie to your children?

Everyone tells their kids lies at some point, and if you say that you don't, I'm pretty sure that you're lying. Take Santa Claus for example. That's not even a little white lie. That's a whopper of a lie. But for most families who celebrate Christmas, Santa is a big part of their lives for at least a few years. Why do we tell our kids about Santa? Maybe it's because we want to create a little bit of magic for them. Maybe it's because we need another incentive to encourage them to be on their best behavior. Maybe it was a part of our past and we want to continue the tradition. Whatever the reason, Santa is a complete lie. Yet most of us don't think twice about mentioning the jolly old man in a red suit and his reindeer to our kids every year.

Then there are all the other little white lies that we tell our kids... "Mommy's eating a carrot honey" (yeah, a carrot named Twix); "if you keep making that face it will get stuck that way;" "the pool water turns green if you pee in it;" and the list goes on. In fact, just yesterday I told Alec that I had to go upstairs to take a nap too, in hopes of convincing him to take a nap of his own (ok, so this really wouldn't be a lie if I had the time to take a nap!).

Again, I question why we feel the need to tell these lies. My assumption is that we lie to our kids because we think it is in their best interest. And most of the time it probably is. It's not hurting anything, and they'll never know the difference anyway.

So that brings me back to my original question... How should Chad and I remove the biffy from Alec's life? I have no guilt about telling our kids about Santa Claus, but for some reason my conscience is kicking in about telling Alec that we can't find his biffy. Why should I tell him we can't find it when the truth is that we just don't want him to have it anymore? Why can't I just tell him that if he wants a new stuffed animal that he needs to give up his biffy? Probably because that would be doing it the hard way. It comes down to a few nights of crying and whining versus possibly weeks of screaming tantrums. I know which situation I'd rather be in!

I think in this case I'm going to need to listen to the little mommy voice and just tell him that we can't find it. Yes, it's a lie. Yes, it's the easy way out. And yes, I will have a guilty conscience for a split second. But in this case I think that yes, it is in his best interest. And someday I'll tell him the truth, so that makes this one little lie ok. Right?

My next Mommy's Always Write topic: I've become THAT mom!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Absence Makes the Kids Grow Cuter

A friend recently gave me a good piece of advice. She said that everything your kids do to annoy you today will, at some point, be amusing. I couldn't agree with her more.

A few weeks ago, Alec was in a phase where he would randomly say "Mommy" and then not have anything to tell or ask me. It would go something like this:

Alec: Mommy?
Me: Yes Alec?
Alec: Mommy?
Me: Yes Alec?
Alec: Mommy?
Me: Yes Alec? 

I think you get the point... And to answer your next question, when I didn't answer him, he would just repeat "Mommy" over and over. I'm sure you can imagine how annoying this routine became. But now I find myself looking back and laughing at it.

Little innocent Chase isn't excluded from these annoying phases either. Right now he is in a "squealing" phase. And by squealing, I don't mean happy squeals. I mean warning squeals, as in "somebody better pick me up before I have a serious meltdown" squeals. And the longer I let him go, the louder and more high-pitched the squeals become. As annoying as these squeals are, I know that in a few weeks, or maybe months, I'll look back and say to Chad, "remember those cute squeals that Chase used to do when he was getting tired of something?"

I find that this same advice applies to times when I'm not around my kids. I can have the most frustrating day with them, only to be out to dinner with a friend that night laughing about it. Heck, I don't even need to be out of the house. It could be when I'm getting ready for bed. I don't know what it is, but the second I'm not around my kids they don't annoy me at all. In fact right now they're upstairs playing with Chad, and I'm finding it hard to remember why I was annoyed earlier today when for the 5,000th time, Alec went over and grabbed the toy that Chase was playing with and said "I want this." Isn't that just adorable? And isn't it great that I now have my "sharing" speech memorized since I've had to repeat it for all 5,000 times that this happened?

So what am I learning through all this? I guess you could say I'm learning some form of patience (I'm not a very patient person, as I'm sure Chad will verify). But I'm learning that every annoying phase is only as annoying as I make it, and it doesn't last forever. So whenever one (or both) of my kids is adding to my collection of gray hairs, I just take a step back and remember that some day I'll be able to laugh at their behavior. And sometimes I even turn my head to the side and let a small giggle escape right then.

My next Mommy's Always Write Topic: Liar Liar