My Little Indian–er, Native American–Giver

Posted: March 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Manners, Other Mothers, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Parenting | 1 Comment »

Pre-kids, in our swank San Francisco apartment, Mark and I had a butcher block island in the kitchen. On the lower shelf we kept bulky seldom-used cooking appliances.

One day a friend was visiting with her toddler, and in the midst of an otherwise mellow wine-glass-in-hand hangin’ in the kitchen chat, Mark suddenly gasped and lunged across the room to pluck a large food processor blade out of curious Elias’ wee little hands.

Turns out we weren’t too hip on the concept of childproofing.

Which isn’t surprising since there’s a great divide—nay, a vast wide-open abyss—between observing your friends parenting, and taking a crack at it yourself. The things you’re certain you’ll never do–drink wine during pregnancy, hang charts around the house that show off potty-pooping performance, wipe a baby’s nose with a sock then put it back on her—you may eventually discover you succumb to. Or at least I have.

I’ve long disdained the word “silly.” As a parent I hear myself say it no less than five times a day. I’ve also surprised myself by letting a baby cry herself to sleep, cooking different food for the kids than the adults, (then cooking something else when that other thing didn’t work), licking a finger to spot wash a child’s face, using ice cream to bribe good behavior, and bellowing at the top of my voice, “BECAUSE I SAID SO!”

Oh I’m not proud of these things. In my pre-motherhood days, back when I was naïve enough to think hemorrhoids only afflicted the elderly, I’d sometimes see a parent do something or other and would tell Mark—close witness to this character atrocity, amongst others—how different I’d be when I became a Mom.


“Did you notice,” I’d ask him at the end of an evening, a toothbrush sticking out of my mouth, “that they put Devon in a Time Out for throwing food? I mean, I don’t know about those… Is that really the best way to handle a situation like that?”

Ah, hindsight.

The thing is, tragic as it is to admit, even when you’re quite certain there’s a better way to do something as a parent, hell if you can figure out what it is. And since the not-best way may be readily available, in the clutch you sometimes find yourself resorting to it.

One thing I vowed I’d never do was eat a sucked-upon mushy half-masticated food item that my child—no matter how darling the little cherub—offered to me. Again and again I’ve softly gagged witnessing a mother eat a proffered spit-strewn mac ‘n cheese noodle. Something I’d rather be waterboarded than have to choke down myself. And invariably—oddly—it’s lapped up by the recipient with such overly dramatic glee, I can’t imagine what’d possess them to risk reinforcing the behavior in the child.

It’s baffling.

Since Kate’s infancy apparently swept by Mark and I while we suffered a sleep-deprivation-induced blackout—we can barely remember celebrating her first birthday–I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure she never did the “Here eat this, Mom” thing.  And blessedly, nor has Paige.

Well, that’s not altogether true. Generous soul that she is, Paige has recently taken to holding out a singular black bean offering. She’ll drop it into your hand, but then immediately pluck it back up—going back and forth with this process sometimes up to five times before ending the game by popping the filthy smushed bean into her own wee bouche.

An alternate version of this game involves her taking a, say, broccoli floret, and holding it out to you, but never releasing her grasp on it. She just sort of taps it into your hand, smiles coyly, then retracts it.

I’m not sure how Emily Post (or the Countess deLesseps for that matter) would regard this. It no doubt flies in the face of proper gift-giving procedure. But be that as it may, I’m just happy that with this one thing I said I’d never do as a parent, Paige has not made a liar out of me.

1 Comment »

One Comment on “My Little Indian–er, Native American–Giver”

  1. 1 Andrea said at 12:06 pm on March 25th, 2009:

    Tell me you’re not as addicted to those horrific trainwreck NYC housewives as I – I don’t wanna watch, but I can’t look away! And Richard on Gawker does the VERY best recaps.

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