Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


You know that theory that your children are your parents' revenge for all the crap they had to put up with from you? Well, I wasn't particularly worried about that when Oscar and I decided to have a baby. I was always a pliable child. My parents had SUCH an easy time disciplining me. I was a goody-two-shoes, so I rarely did anything wrong, in the first place. And when I did do something that garnered their disapproval, all it took was a hairy eyeball from one of them to have me on my knees, begging forgiveness and asking how I could atone for my transgressions. My parents really didn't have very many complaints where I was concerned.

Oscar was also a delightful child. Aside from a colicky first few months, he was very well-behaved. McMama likes to tell stories about how inseparable she and little Oscar were when he was a boy. To hear her tell it, they were best buddies. And not only was she crazy about him, but everyone they knew was crazy about him. Whenever she would go someplace without Oscar, people would ask where he was and demand to know WHY she hadn't brought him. Everyone wanted to be around him, he was that much of a joy.

The way I looked at it, Oscar and I were both easy children to raise, and we were probably going to have a child with a similar temperament. So I wasn't worried about having children. I figured it was my brother's job to be worried. In contrast to the little angel I was, my brother was a hellion. He is every bit as smart as I am, but he used his intelligence to do mischief and find ways around my parents' rules. My parents would often tell me that if he had been born first, they never would have had me. I don't blame them. I love my brother, but he's a pain in the ass. So when HE had a baby, I smiled smugly to myself because I couldn't help but think "Payback is a bitch."

But the payback I expected has yet to materialize. My brother's son is a beautiful, sensitive child. He hates to disappoint people, particularly Papa Jo, and he will cry if you so much as raise your voice in his general direction. He follows rules and does what he is told. He is every bit as pliable as I once was. My brother was blessed with an angel in little boys' clothing.

My son, on the other hand, is a mischievous little imp. We can always tell when he's looking for a way to get around whatever limits we've just placed on him, because he gets a gleam in his eye, and we can see the wheels turning in his head. He is an independent, willful little thing who is not afraid to tell us "no." We have our hands full with him, because he is also incredibly intelligent and exceedingly good at problem solving, so he finds ways to get what he wants, despite our best intentions.

Mama Jo and I were discussing this the other day - the fact that we will need to pay particularly close attention to these kids as they grow up, because my son will likely be cooking up harebrained schemes and dragging his favorite cousin along for the ride. And when they bring about destruction and mayhem, Turtle's poor cousin will end up getting blamed because he's older and should know better than to listen to Turtle. And Turtle will turn his baby blues on us and get away scot-free, at which time he will run off, undoubtedly already in the process of planning up something bigger and badder than the thing that just got his cousin in trouble.

We were laughing about this, bemused at ourselves and our combined vision of the future, when Mama Jo paused thoughtfully. She then casually observed, "I just don't understand how you ended up with your brother's child while your brother ended up with yours." All of a sudden, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My son was a carbon copy of my brother at that age. I almost howled at the injustice. HOW is this FAIR?!?! I did what I was told! I ate my vegetables! I didn't touch the breakable things! I WAS A GOOD KID!!! WHY, then, was my parents' revenge foisted upon ME???? This should be my brother's fate! GAH!

Mama Jo, when she was done laughing at my outrage, pointed out that perhaps I ended up with the child I did because I have the patience to deal with him. I was hardly mollified by this observation. I feel so much more pressure now. I'm going to have to be as good a parent as, if not better than, Mama Jo if I have any hope of molding this child into a productive member of society. Particularly since he already seems to have Unabomber tendencies.

5-28-2006 6-47-33 PM

Pray for me. I have a feeling I'm going to need it.


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