Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In which I do what I said I'd never do

When it comes to my child-rearing philosophy, I've always said that I'd like to do things almost exactly like my parents. After all, they raised two functional, interesting, and, most importantly, HAPPY, individuals who still enjoy the company of their mom and dad -- especially around a dinner table laden with homemade Cuban food. In 25 years, if all it takes for Luki to want to hang out with me is fried plantains, I'll consider myself an award winning mom.

However, there is one thing my mother would occasionally do that I vowed to never subject my children to: Under no circumstances would I compare my kids to those of others.

Nothing bothered me more as a teenager than hearing Big E say, "Did you see so and so's room? She didn't have a single item of clothing strewn on the floor"; "Whatchamacallit doesn't walk around in her pajamas with a tangled mass of curls on top of her head all day;" or "I see you got a C in AP Calculus, what did what's her face get?"

And when I would counter with something like "You know who's mom lets her stay out until 1:00," she would just roll her eyes and answer, "Good for her! You better be back by 10."

Nope, I was resolved to never put my child through that. I was not going to use others as the standard by which to measure my offspring.

And then...a bunch of my friends got pregnant at around the same time as I did, and they ALL had the best behaved, quietest, most laid back babies I've ever seen.

At a get together last weekend, the unthinkable happened. I sat a SCREAMING Luki next to one of these angelic children and said to my son, "WHY CAN'T YOU BE MORE LIKE HIM??" He got quiet for a second, looked at me defiantly, and started wailing louder, as if to say, "MAYBE BECAUSE HIS MOTHER DOESN'T TEASE HIM WITH A GUITAR FOR THE SAKE OF AN ENTERTAINING YOUTUBE VIDEO!"

Ok, point taken.

Still, when Luki had his fourth month appointment a few days ago and delighted the entire pediatrician's office with his rendition of "You better keep bouncing me and don't even think about sitting down," it happened again. I had to ask, "Is it normal for him to act this way?...because all our friends have really chill babies."

The Dr. assured us that he's fine and suggested we get ready for the next eighteen years of dealing with his spirited personality. A personality that makes him unique and shouldn't be likened to anyone else's.

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