I have been wanting to write an article about this for a while, and today I had a trigger that prompted me to go ahead and get it written down and out of my head. What was the prompt, you might ask… well it was a large cup of soda and ice spilled all over my lap at Ikea. But let’s back up and I’ll return to the cold, sticky lunch time debacle in a minute.
When you are the parent of a small child, you see the world in a different way. Normal objects like markers, pens, knives, and scissors call out to you, and beg to be put out of reach. All of you non-parents out there that read this blog know what I’m talking about (yes, I know you’re out there, and I appreciate you!)… you notice how every parent you know that has a toddler automatically moves all of the drinks the waiter places on the table out of reach. You observe that whenever someone with small kids comes over to your house, they move all of the small breakables off of your coffee table and onto something high. Parents out there also know what I’m talking about. We take one look at a permanent marker and think about how it could equal a black mustache on our kid that will take several days to go away.
Parents are like secret agents… we enter a place, take a look around, and discern what needs to get put up, what potential dangers there are, and what damage could occur in the next few minutes. When you are a parent, you no longer look at reality, you look at perceived reality, a reality that could be if you were to simply put your child down and let things play out without interfering. And you have to do all of these things while seeming normal, and relaxed, so your friends won’t think you are a total freak. After a while it just becomes a reflex and you don’t even think about it.
Today, my reflex failed me. Travis was totally on top of things, but Kati’s arms have gotten longer as she’s grown, and he didn’t quite make it as he said, “No, Kati!” and attempted to keep her from dumping a full glass of cold soda all over me.
But, when our worst perceived reality becomes our reality, what do we do? Well, I walked around Ikea looking like I peed my pants and feeling sticky (exacerbated by the fact I’m 6 months pregnant) and I couldn’t help but laugh about it! Come on, go ahead and laugh at my expense, it’s funny, and I couldn’t care in the least. When things go wrong and accidents happen, have a good attitude about it. If your child breaks something, apologize, address it with your child (without overdoing it, they are just a kid after all), and do your best to replace it. But don’t let the little mistakes in life drag you down. And if you end up like me, looking like your pregnant bladder finally got the best of you, embrace it and enjoy the humor. Humor is part of humility after all.