Sidewalk Talk…

There has been a great deal of blogging going on…. inside my head. 

I started thinking that maybe I should drain some of it out so that it doesn’t keep distracting me from important things like… I don’t know… Paying taxes or something.

I was recently thinking about how often I mess up this whole parenting thing, and marveled about how my kids manage awesome despite me.  This realization took a great deal of pressure off of me.  Hooray for resilient and adaptable kids!

Case in point:

We spend a great deal of time talking about how important it is to be kind to the earth and all of its inhabitants.  We recycle, talk about conserving water, reducing waste and so on and so on. Nauseous yet?

When we come upon some litter on the sidewalk, they immediately point it out to me.

Bear: Mommy! Somebody litter!!! (jumping up and down pointing)

Me: I see that.  We shouldn’t litter.

Buddy: Pick it up, mom.

(Bear reaches down to get it)

Me: No! Don’t touch that! It’s germy.

Goose: We can’t leave it there, mom. It’s litter.

Buddy: We should be kind to the earth.

(Three kids lined up on the sidewalk staring at me wide-eyed.  And one mommy that wanted to pretend she couldn’t see the litter because it’s gross and well… yuck.)

Here’s that terrible moment when the parent has to back up her words with actual action, or become a flaming hypocrite.  I don’t like it much when my kids are right… about a point that I taught them… when I really don’t want to be the responsible adult… but there they were, waiting…

Me: *sigh* Well… oh, well… ok.  Ummmm…. ok. Let’s just… we’ll just…. lemme see if I can find some sort of plastic barrier to put between my hand and the litter so that I can pick it up without actually making contact… Yes, there.  In a bag.  Didn’t touch it.

Buddy: Good job, mom.

It wasn’t a big deal.  It shouldn’t have been a big deal.  The truth? They noticed it for the first time that day.  I walked by it at least 3 different times and succeeded in my “I can’t see it, someone else will get it” thinking, and yet, my kids…. my squirrely little kids, had to show me how play the role of a grown up… again, and how to live the way I tell them they should.  They’ve gotten the message, even though I screwed it up in practice.

And the whole plastic barrier scene?  Repeated weekly in the produce aisle of the supermarket. I just don’t like touching stuff of questionable background or texture.  Would it freak anyone out if I just kept latex gloves on all of the time?

Yeah… that’s what I thought.


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