A classic guilt trip
Allyso/ShutterstockWe were at the dinner table eating pizza when I asked my son Logan if I could use some of his blue cheese dressing to dip my crust. He obliged after a long deep sigh of annoyance. (These are the 11 things every parent needs to know about raising boys.) I was offended at this reaction and decided to remind him of the strenuous labor and delivery I had bringing his 9.9-pound body into this world—the old "I gave birth to you" guilt trip. His response: "Really Mom, how long are you gonna ride that scooter?”
At least he tried
Guy Bell/REX/ShutterstockAs educators, my husband and I encouraged our son, Kenny, to always try to do his best. One afternoon, his dad, his godmother, and I took him to view the Henri Matisse "Paper Cut Outs" exhibit. (Here's how to tell if you're raising a child genius.) Kenny was five years old at the time and looked a bit befuddled by the artwork. He mused for a bit and then, with his hands clasped behind his back, remarked, "Well, he tried his best!"
Inside voices only
Take-Photo/ShutterstockWe attend a small church in south Mississippi where small children usually sit with their parents during mass. I was so proud of our two year old that day because being quiet during the sermon. (These are the 13 things priests, rabbis, and ministers won't tell you.) Toward the end of the sermon the preacher—my dad—began raising his voice to accentuate his main points. Our little diva stood up and yelled, "Calm down Pawpaw!" Everyone in the church, including my dad, took a moment to laugh.
Stock-image/ShutterstockMy great-nephew is five years old and loves sports, yet he was amazed when he visited his friend's house and realized they were hunters. There he saw antlers, mounted deer heads, and shotguns. He came home all excited. "Mom, for Christmas I want a bow and arrow or a gun!" he said. "I’m sorry, buddy," his mom replied, “but we're just not hunting people." (Here's how to find a new hobby you'll love.) "Oh, I don't want to hunt people, Mom," he said. "I want to hunt animals."
In case of emergency, eat snacks
ViktorKeryPhotos/ShutterstockAfter moving to the country, my three-year-old daughter and I were often alone in our house. Because we lived in a rural area with no close neighbors, I wanted to make sure my daughter would be able to call 911 in the event that something happened to me. (This is what parents of young children wish you knew.) After instructing her, I decided to test her: "OK, what would you do if you found me on the floor and you couldn't wake me up?" I could see her little brain working. To my surprise she finally said, "I would go into the kitchen and eat anything I want."
Babysitting my two great-granddaughters, ages three and four, I read them stories and then, needing a break, I suggested they watch cartoons for a while. (These are the 11 reading habits to make kids love books.) As they were engrossed in their show, I decided to relax and finish a book I had been reading. The four-year-old kept looking over at me and finally asked, "Nana, what are you doing?" I told her I was reading my book. Looking puzzled, she said, "but you're not saying anything."
Not enough pixie dust
Halfpoint/ShutterstockI was outside pruning my roses when I heard a loud thump and a cry. I ran to find my four-year-old son, Alex, at the bottom of the stairs in the garage. I found out that he had jumped from the top of the stairs, trying to fly like Peter Pan. (These are the 16 best funny family movies.) After a long talk about reality versus make-believe, I walked away feeling I had gotten my point across. That was until I head my son whisper, "Must not have been enough pixie dust!”
Dropping the ball
i-am-way/ShutterstockA very close friend of ours, Bob, had passed away and we took our eight-year-old son to the gravesite service. He was in awe the entire time. After lowering the casket, Bob's grandchildren gave each person a golf ball. Bob was an avid golfer and his widow decided to drop golf balls into the grave instead of flowers. Everyone smiled and joked. (This is why you should always go to the funeral.) When we finished dropping the balls, our son, speaking in his outside voice had everyone laughing when he said, "Mom, it's a good thing your friend wasn't a bowler."
Don't tell Papa!
Lena-Dyomina/ShutterstockAfter having a brand-new car for one day, I came home from Black Friday shopping with a fender bender. I told my three-year-old granddaughter, Landree, not to tell Papa or he'd be upset. Pretty soon, here comes Papa and he looked in the garage. Not saying anything, he went back downstairs to his man cave. I asked Landree if she had told Papa. She emphatically said, "No, I didn't Gigi!” I said, “Well, what did you tell him?” She said, "I told him three times, ‘whatever you do, do NOT look in the garage!’”
The chain of command
Nares Soumsomboon/ShutterstockI was raised in an Irish Catholic family with a strict father, charming mother, and eight siblings. During Lent, it was common practice for our parish priest to visit our grade school classrooms and help us understand this religious observance. Father Lynch visited my youngest brother Danny’s first-grade class and asked, “Why did Jesus die on the cross?” My brother was first to raise his hand. His answer: “Because his dad told him he had to.” Clearly, Danny knew the chain of command with our family and with God.