During my six years as a teacher, one issue I’ve run into fairly often is the child whose parents are utterly convinced that their son or daughter is incapable of being mean, lazy, disrespectful, or inattentive. If they make a grade below an A, it must be the teacher’s fault. This is the child who fails to take responsibility for forgetting to complete an assignment and who responds, “Well, I wasn’t the only one talking,” when you ask him or her to be quiet. Naturally, most teachers blame this student’s shortcomings on the parents’ belief that their child can do no wrong. At some point, a parent has to do society a favor and realize that no one, not even their sweet little reason for existing, is perfect. They need to stop being their child’s number-one fan and start taking on the role of coach, which has its share of high-fives but can also get downright ugly at times. With that said…
Now that I’m a parent, I can almost see where these people are coming from. I think Maggie is God’s most amazing creation. She is hilarious, beautiful, a budding genius. 90% of the time when I’m not with her, I want to be talking about her. I’ve taken thousands of pictures, hours of video, and I don’t really ever get sick of looking at or watching them.
I love that she doesn’t known how to lie to me yet. Here’s one exchange that occurred a couple of months ago when I picked her up from daycare:
Me: “What did you do today?”
Maggie: “Went to Ann’s office.” (Ann is the director of the daycare.)
Me: “Why did you go to Ann’s office?”
Maggie: “I bite people.”
Another example, this one from her “art show” at daycare:
Me: “Is that your firetruck? Did you make it?”
Maggie: “Betty made it.” (Betty is her teacher.)
Me: “But you helped, right?”
Maggie: “Not really…”
I love the way she pronounces “music” moogit. I love when she gets our attention by saying, “my mama” or “my daddy” instead of just mama or daddy. I love that everywhere she goes – Sunday school, the Y, daycare, the library – people comment on how much she loves books. I love how she picks up phrases she hears around her and surprises us with them, like examining my earrings and asking me, “They from Target?” I love how excited she is to be a big sister. It completely melted my heart when she was sitting on my lap reading stories one night. “Do you feel the baby kicking you?” I asked. “It not kicking me,” she said. “It giving me a hug!”
I admit it: I am obsessed with my daughter. And I have no doubt that I will be equally obsessed with the new baby as soon as he or she arrives (two weeks, people!). So I kind of get it. For most parents, kids are the best thing that ever happened to them. They seem to undo all the dumb things we’ve done in our lives and give us something pure to focus our energy on. But just because my babies are perfect to me, does that mean they’ll never have anything to learn? Or never say something nasty that they shouldn’t say? Or never “bite people”? Adoring my daughter is important, but the time is approaching even now when it will be even more important to teach her that she is not the only person in the world, not more special or deserving than anyone else– even if my warped parental sensibilities are screaming the opposite every step of the way.