Saturday, March 14, 2009


I never imagined what spending my days with a three year old would be like, let alone one who is dangerously observant.  I love Violet's company, but every once in a while she does something I hate: she behaves like me.  Sam did this too -- "Mommy, if you don't do this, then you will be in time out!" but from him it was cute and obvious. Violet is more subtle. I recently have been hugely frustrated with the molasses-in-January-like response to morning promptings to get up, dressed, fed, and out the door. My (unfortunate) response has been to get much louder (and, dare I say it? meaner) about the whole thing. Lo-and-behold! Violet has recently been expressing her anger by yelling.  Her childish temper tantrums have evolved into more grown-up temper tantrums. Her play also mirrors my behavior. She has found a compact mirror and uses it as a telephone while she "works" around the house on her (toy) computer or, even worse, she feels the need to clean the floors and has even put off going somewhere or doing something with me because she needs to finish cleaning.  What am I teaching this child?

Complicating matters is my desire that both children see past the very 1950s life we have right now (Dad working, Mom cooking, cleaning, and caring for the family) to understand that all household jobs can be done by everyone in the family regardless of gender. I save basic repairs (tightening loose screws on chairs, minor plumbing, fixing broken toys) for myself to do in front of the kids, and I believe everyone in our family needs to learn the basics of "homemaking". Sam is well on his way with cooking; he makes our scrambled eggs many mornings, both kids are great help with baking projects, and both have chores. Will obliges when I insist that he clear his own plate and occasionally vacuum, do dishes, and help fold laundry.  Yet I won't let Violet help clean the toilets.  So far I have put her off with explanations of the danger of the chemicals I am using, but really it's the fact that I don't want her to grow up feeling that it's a GIRLS job.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the kids a disservice by staying home with them.  They do get healthy meals and have incredible opportunities (especially summers in Vermont and whole weeks at my family cabin) and I get to spend a great deal of time with them.  But they don't always appreciate what, and who, they do have.  Perhaps I would make better use of my time with them if I had less of it, instead of wandering the internet aimlessly while they make mud pies in the back yard.  Plus, I could afford a maid . . .  

There's no real way to know if we're on the right path. In the meantime, I do occasionally get a good laugh out of my mini-mirror. This morning as we got dressed, Violet came into my bathroom with a light-blue oval block.  She raised her left arm, and sliding the block up and down her armpit, earnestly told me that it was, "What do you call it, Mommy? Deodorant for tree-years old".  She doesn't miss a thing.  Except the other armpit.

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