For the past week, I’ve been having a very intense and protracted conversation with my son Erik, who is three.
“Yes, I think you can handle the Spiderman underwear,” I assure him lovingly.
“But of course! You’re a big boy, and big boys poo in the toilet,” I respond when he questions his ability to use the commode rather than the PullUp.
“I know that all of your friends are wearing underwear, but don’t worry! You can wear underwear, too! You can do it! You really can!”
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
I hear myself almost as a third party, looking onward as mother and son discuss the various pros and cons of elimination in underwear vs. a diaper-like contraption. It’s come down to this, I tell myself.
The inanities of conversation are particularly acute when one factors in the following:
1) A child in the throes of toilet training
2) A parent who is desperate, and who will do or say anything to resolve the situation
3) A mother or father who is so frazzled and exhausted with a particular scenario that they’ve relinquished any sense of dignity in order for peace, quiet and/or some resolution to a nagging and persistent ailment (toilet training notwithstanding, there are many instances where we throw our dignity out the window and say what has to be said in order to get the job done).
Upon uttering the above-noted conversation, I realized that not only had I become a cliche: one of those irritating mothers who, with a saccharinly-sweet delivery, told their child whatever needed to be said to quickly and efficiently resolve the ridiculous situation at hand, but I did it with particular aplomb at that.
I was too good at this and for this reason, some part of me did cling to that shred of dignity that was once quite prominent, making me ashamed.
The inanities – no, the indignities of conversation were a benchmark to how my life had changed in oh, so many ways. At least there was comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone.
Parenting is, for the most part, an exercise in persistence.
We persist in trying to teach our children oh, so many lessons.
Whether it be toilet training, sharing, or being kind to others, the messages are important and, accordingly, fraught with expectations.
We want our children to succeed; it doesn’t matter if it’s pee or Plato that we’re talking about. It’s almost irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that we’ll do anything to get our child where they need to be. Hence, the inanities of conversation.
On a recent trip to the park with my boys, I overheard a similarly frazzled father speaking to his son:
“Sure! You can have a candy if you stop throwing sand at that nice little girl. It bothers her when you throw sand in her eyes.”
And so it continues. Because with all of the differences that we so easily see amongst each other, we really are all the same, at least when it comes to parenting:
We do what we need to do and say what we need to say in order to get the job done – pee, PullUps and all.
Have you recently been involved in an inane conversation with your child? Have you overheard a ridiculous discourse at the park, grocery store, schoolyard or otherwise? Tell me about it, because misery loves company