The Ginger Gent
Ginger See Ginger Do
Modelling good behavior, ugh. As a parent this has been my biggest lesson. The sleepless nights are killer, dishes and laundry stack up and personal hygiene sometimes goes out the window in the face of tantrums. When The Menace was little we rocked him for hours and as soon as we put him in the crib he popped right up and did crawling or running laps. When we were graced with the red headed, Irish, Aries boy it became very hard to maintain the patience for “good” so we settled for “passable.”
For instance, I may forget to brush my teeth on occasion as we hurtle out the door to daycare, but really how do I expect him to do it if I don’t expend the energy insisting he joins me? And once more if I don’t then he won’t even take my request seriously. I may hear the chocolate muffin calling me but I can only justify sneaking a bite behind a kitchen cupboard for so long, before I realize I am going to get caught. It’s actually easier to have a ready supply of carrots, and apples and pita bread wedges with hummus and guacamole (Recipe from www.closetcooking.com) that we both enjoy. Making rules and sticking to them as a general goal requires energy I never knew I had, but along the line I accepted that a parent’s job is to cultivate patience and be tired. Here is another recipe from this site for a delicious looking Guacamole BLT, with a side of irony that a lesbian is reposting this on a queer parenting blog. Cook Kevin Lynch (cooking in a closet sized kitchen) also makes a Piña Colada Guacamole that looks perfect after an exhausting bedtime marathon!
I know he is learning every day, not just his name and what a cow sounds like, but how to take care of himself. I had pre parent intentions of teaching him many things by example, but post parent realities test your conviction! I was tested even more after Kara died, as established sleep and eating habits were blown out of the water. As I “rebuilt the dyke” we both coped until I could model any kind of behavior at all. Around the five month mark I recall joining a game and realized I was playing with him, not just to entertain him but justifiably enjoying it. The key is to have fun the way your child is modelling it, parenting is not just about their needs. Mommy see Mommy do! This helped me remember the opportunity I had not just to expect certain things for my son, but the opportunity to expect certain things for myself. Health, joy, happiness, love and healing. To be honest, after losing my spouce, I think I would still be on the couch if I wasn’t a parent.
About the Author
Kelly Wilk is a freelance writer and single mom to a six-year-old, red-headed, Irish, Aries boy who is growing up way too fast. Follow them on PinkPlayMags’ parenting blog “The Ginger Gent” (www.pinkplaymags.com). Also, find Kelly on her own website and blog, Brave. Creative. Me at www.kellywilk.ca.