Thursday, December 4, 2008

Worst. Mom. Ever.

The youngest of our three boys, "L", is one tough cookie. He is pummeled and pushed and whacked on a daily basis. This treatment comes mostly from his five-year-old brother who has impulse control problems. (The eight-year-old carries the rest of the blame.) I try my best to intervene but thankfully "L" has grown quite a thick skin.

As a parent you learn that your child's response to an injury directly correlates with your reaction to their tumble. It took me a little while but I have learned to keep a neutral face when my children fall or otherwise injure themselves. Ninety percent of the time, after checking your reaction, they jump up, dust themselves off, and go right back to what they are doing. It saves so much energy and emotional effort.

I took "L" to the mall to run some errands. As a treat for sitting patiently in the stroller, we stopped by the indoor playground to wreak havoc for a while. At the playground, there's a lot of screaming and running involved, and every imaginable surface is thoroughly padded. It's like a mental institution, minus the sedatives (although I can't speak for all the parents there.)

The kids must remove their shoes so you've got a bunch of stocking-footed munchkins tearing around the place like there's no tomorrow. On one side there's a 12-inch wide balance beam that is a favorite of the smaller kids. That lovely padded surface, though, is remarkably slick and leads to many a fall. I watched one child after another clamber on, stand up, and ::pffth!:: Down they go. It was mildly entertaining, until "L" came along.

He followed the drill but when he stood up he was just on the edge of the beam. His stocking feet slipped dramatically and he fell full-bodied onto the floor, his head slamming against the edge of the beam on the way down. I tried to school my expression as he lifted his head to see my face, but I failed. Instead, out burst

"Ha ha HA haha ha!"

Mine was a full belly laugh that came out of nowhere. I tried to check myself but it didn't work-- and then "L" hopped up and went right back to what he was doing. There! My lack of impulse control had a purpose! Except... I suddenly noticed that several moms within earshot were staring at me in horror. Yes, that's right! I am the worst mom ever because I laugh at my child. Gimme a break.

I turned away, hid my smile, and controlled the impulse to laugh at them.

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