A wise mother once told me that the early years of raising children has the longest days and the shortest weeks.
When my oldest boys were about 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 my husband went on a two-week-long work trip. Being the dead of winter and hovering below ten degrees most days, my boys and I were pretty much confined to our house. On one particular day during those two weeks, I remember my patience had been exhausted and my creative juices had completely run dry. Knowing it was a little early, but not quite sure how much, I started our bedtime routine. Fed, bathed, teeth brushed, stories read, I was just about to tuck them in to their warm covers when I glanced at the clock. 4:30. 4:30?? I can’t remember for sure, but I just might have cried.
That cold, long, winter afternoon seems like just yesterday. Six short years ago this week I became a mother. Holding that sweet little miracle in my arms I remember feeling an overwhelming responsibility to teach him as he grew up. To help him reach his potential, to be a kind, considerate, healthy, smart person who went out in the world humble yet confident. Who could make a difference for the better. Every long day, every short week, every year that flies by I still feel that overwhelming responsibility and I question if I have done a good enough job. I imagine that feeling never really goes away. Feeding on that desire to teach my children and help them as they navigate this crazy life, six months ago I started this blog. I started it with the intention to write about the life lessons I hope my three sons will learn. My hope was that by writing them down, I could organize my thoughts and record stories that have shaped our lives. Maybe even someday my boys will care to read them and see the vision and faith I had in them and who they could become. Or just roll their eyes at their bizarre mother and all her ridiculousness.
In honor of our oldest’s birthday this week and our next one’s coming up this month too, plus Catching Crawfish’s half-birthday, over the past four days my husband and I have kept a list of some of the more (what we thought to be) common sense life lessons we hope our sons will learn. Here are the top 17 things we’ve caught ourselves saying to our sons in desperate hopes that they will learn… And honestly, I hope they learn them FAST!
1. I try to feed you well. You really don’t have to sample the worms in our garden.
2. You’re supposed to pull your pants down when you get TO the bathroom, not on the way THERE!
3. Straws go in your mouth, not your nose.
4. Please don’t lick my hair.
5. I’m sorry, we don’t eat ice cream for breakfast.
6. Wipe, flush, dress, wash.
7. Did you remember to flush?
8. If you wear your underpants backwards you’ll get a wedgie. Yep, wedgies aren’t much fun, are they?
9. Really? A huge spider with your bare hands?! No thanks, I wouldn’t care to hold it.
10. Ahh! Don’t drink the nasty pond water!
11. It’s called a hitch, not a “hooker.” Especially when you loudly request Dad to draw one during a silent moment at church. A HITCH.
12. Please use a tissue.
13. Peas go in your mouth, not your nose.
14. Sucking on your toe was cute when you were 3 months old. It lost it’s cuteness long ago.
15. You can pick your friends, you can pick your boogers (though I’d really prefer you didn’t), but you just can’t pick your friend’s (or your baby brother’s) boogers. It’s gross.
16. Singing “Old MacDonald” at the top of your lungs while you use the bathroom is totally fine at home. But maybe hold off when we’re in the Target restroom with a dozen other people. Or at least whisper it.
17. Sure, it works to play the recorder with your nose. But it’s kinda gross and I’d really rather you don’t try. Especially when you have a stuffy nose.
I have high hopes that my boys will grow up to be gentlemen. That they say please, thank you, are kind, considerate, conscientious, patient, smart, and healthy. And that they don’t eat their boogers or worms, use utensils the correct way with the correct body parts, and learn the correct vocabulary lest they embarrass themselves. And/or their parents. Is that too much to ask? Maybe. We shall see! What common sense life lessons do you catch yourself reminding your kids of in hopes they’ll figure it out sooner rather than later?