Culinary Gizmodo

Cookin’ and Smiling

My Kids Are Not Bad – They Are Just ACTIVE

You may not realize it…but it’s almost impossible to tell whether a high-pitched scream came from a 5 year old boy or a 4 year old girl. When I am untimely summoned into a room by something that sounds like someone’s just lost an eyeball, and find there’s nothing apparently wrong, my face involuntarily shape-shifts into something that tells my kids that someone’s in big trouble, so they both deny having screamed-quickly realize that this strategy will not work – and quickly turn on each other and blame the other one. I usually have to resort to looking for physical evidence…bite marks, fresh red ‘slap’ marks – anything – and when I find it, lay blame on the other one by default. Because SOMEBODY is going to their room. If I can’t find anything for proof, then BOTH of them are going. This is not a scientific method by any means, but it’s the best thing I’ve come up with so far. Surveillance cameras are very expensive, but haven’t been completely ruled out as an option here. I could get one of those set ups like they use on Ghost Hunters, with the DVR with six separate channels and infrared and thermal imaging cameras. But what would that really prove? That my kids are bad? I already know that.

You’re not supposed to say things like that outloud. “My kids are bad.” People frown when you say it. There’s a lady at my church who does not get my sense of humor, I suspect. We were talking about my kids. I made a comment about how Ethan (15) was so cute and sweet when he was little, and how he’s all “big and stupid” now. I wasn’t insulting his intelligence. He’s one of the smartest people I know. I was simply pointing out how the change in his height was directly proportional to the decline in his cuteness and sweetness. And also his attitude stinks sometimes. That’s all I meant. She literally frowned. Rather than try to explain this to her, I just said, “I’m just KIDDING!” But I wasn’t kidding. I was serious. And when I say that my two little ones are bad, it’s not that I am pounding negative thoughts into their heads all day like “You are stupid. You are bad. Keep being bad because that’s all I expect of you anyway. You bad bad kids.” No. I’m telling YOU that they are bad, because, in fact, they are. The only thing worse than a couple of bad kids, is a couple of bad kids with a mother who says things like, “They’re not bad…they are just ACTIVE.” All the while, the kids are in the background scene lighting a dog on fire. My kids don’t do that, by the way. Well, they haven’t yet. But, they do things like steal the sugar bowl off the counter and then hide in a corner and eat it and spill it on the floor. They wrote all over my kitchen cabinets with a black sharpie one day. They painted the green walls in the living room a beautiful shade of “hot pink toe nail” and they regularly run around and scream like banshees. And, while I’m not perfect, none of this is MY fault. I spank. I punish. I become displeased and they know it by my shape-shifting face. I do not condone. I do not give in. I do not say that they are just “ACTIVE.” They are bad. They feed off of one another’s energy and the reverberations vibrate my windows. They make us all very very tired and irritable. But I love them immensely.

On to the good stuff, so that you will understand how I can say that I love them following those last lines.

Ana (age 4): “Mom? Did you know that Jejus (Jesus, to you and me, but he’s Jejus to Ana) is in my heart?

Me: “Awww. Yes, baby, he is.” Ana: “Well…I want him outta there!”

Ben (age 5) got in trouble at school one day for hitting “friends”. (His pre-k teacher insisted on calling them “friends” whenever she called to complain about his hitting at school. I kind of thought after a few days those who might have been his friends should have stopped, but that’s just me.) This had gone on for weeks, not just this one day, but finally, enough was enough. We were called to come to the school to deal with the situation. Ben had been placed in a corner of the cafeteria to eat alone and await our arrival. When we (The Heavys) walked into the room…he looked up, smiled a big smile, and said, “HEY MOM! HEY DAD! WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING HERE?!” We sat down and told him that we were called to come because he’d gotten in trouble for hitting his friends again. We talked to him for about 10 minutes while he ate, saying all the things we’d already said so many nights before about how hitting was wrong and he couldn’t do it anymore. We told him he couldn’t watch tv when he got home from school again. We told him that if he didn’t know how to act at big school, he’d have to go back to baby school until he could behave. We walked him to his class, gave him one more stern reminder about how he was supposed to be acting, and asked him if he wanted us to have to come to school again. He looked up, smiled, and said “SURE!”

A couple of weeks ago, Ana asked me for a treat. I gave her a piece of cake. She loves cake. She asked me for another one when she was done. I told her that she couldn’t have another piece of cake, but she whined and begged and pleaded for it anyway. I explained that she would get a tummy ache if she ate another piece of cake. She reasoned that she liked tummy aches, and again asked me to give her some cake. I told her no, that was final, and to stop asking for the cake. She asked again. I sent her to her room. She came back 10 minutes later, promising to be good and not to ask for anymore cake. I let her come out. She sat next to me and, almost immediately, asked me for a piece of cake. My shape-shifter face appeared. She knew she’d screwed up. She looked down quickly, looked back up and said, “That wasn’t me that said that. That was, um, The Voice.” “The Voice?!” I asked. “Um, yeah,” she said, “He likes cake too.”

So, they are bad. But I love them anyway. Their cuteness keeps them alive. That…and Magic Erasers.

Charlette M. Paulk
Author, Zohrbak’s Blog

Author: Charlette Paulk
Article Source:

Thu, January 13 2011 » Random

One Response

  1. Clay Boggess January 13 2011 @ 7:58 am

    We have become so concerned about negatively affecting self-esteem that we even justify lying to or about our children instead. Just tell it the way that it is. If we have done a good job as parents our children already know that we love them unconditionally anyway. They should be able to take the truth.