Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Planning for the Future

It is all to often that I see parents doing everything shy of pulling their hair out, to keep their kids in check when out in public.  At this time, Grace is super easy to keep tabs on.  She's either perched up on my chest or peacefully lounging in her stroller.  But there is no fooling me, I know my time is coming.  Grace will be running circles around me, yelling "Mommy! Mommy! Look! Look! Can I have this!? Why?!? WHY!?"  While there is no avoiding this impending chaos, all I can hope for is that she is polite and well mannered while reeking havoc in public.  Although judging from the type of children Ryan and I were growing up, we're screwed.

Before I had Grace, I was guilty of "back seat parenting".  I would look at Moms and Dads out in public, with their children running a muck, screaming and knocking store displays over left and right. I would judge them, not harshly, but none the less - judge them.   I'd think to myself, "what the heck is wrong with them? are the oblivious to what is going on around them? Control those kids!!" Now, I see the error in my way.

While Grace isn't quite to the days of stumbling over cereal displays or grabbing every candy bar within five feet of the checkout, Grace isn't without "public challenges".  Previously, Grace was a baby on the move, able to travel light, and only needing periodic entertainment.  Those days will be missed.  Now an "almost sitter", Grace prefers to do baby crunches in her stroller, steadfastly attempting to sit up like a big girl - grunting every step of the way.  I should mention - these grunts aren't charming.  They are at best endearing from a far, from the innocent on lookers who are happy the aren't responsible for the ever so persistent irritant on four wheels.  I realize that I have no control.  Grace will do as she pleases, at least at this stage - only entertained by perhaps an even more irritating noise, coming from my mouth.  Queue Momma's specialty - public fart noises.

I'm giving the poor girl a bad rap. Grace is still a marvelous traveler, compared to the type of children my Mother was graced with.  Between her colicky baby who screamed 23 hours a day, her son who made a run for it every chance he got - the only clue of his escape being his bouncing ginger hair peeking from behind fences, an adorable stutterer - who made any trip last longer than intended, and me - the mischievous howler, who knew that if I made a big enough scene in public, my Mom would let me run the show.  According to the genetic lineup I came from - I hit the jackpot.  I'll settle for some grunting.

Needless to say, parenting brings a number of new emotions to light.  Clarity, understanding, and acceptance being three of the biggies.  No matter how hard you try, there are going to be things you cannot control.  The twenty-something know-it-all I once was, looking at others and thinking of how I would do things different - is gone. As my Dad always said, "hope for the best but prepare for the worst".  I will be hoping Grace peaks with grunting, but brace myself for reality!

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