with Lynne and Leslie

Toddler PR

by SweetMidlife

2014-08-13 06.41.50

Lynne here!

I write a lot about my almost 2 year-old on Facebook, basically because he is hilarious. And also because sometimes he does things that are so nuts, writing about it seems to be a better option for me than yelling or crying. He is your typical toddler (according to other people who have had toddlers): He is independent, yet clingy at times; if he doesn’t get his way sometimes, he can go into tantrums, and hitting, and crying jags that make his face look like an explosion. But he is also really sweet. He gives the best hugs. He loves books as much as he loves his iPod. He soaks up new things like a sponge. He loves the drums and anything having to do with them. The kid is the bee’s knees. Again, like most humans, he has his pluses and minuses, because, well, he is human.

Recently, we had lunch at a dear friend’s house, and she was so gracious to my kid, who loved that she had made macaroni and cheese, and that she had windows that went to the floor so that he could look outside at the goings-on of her city street, and that she had a piano. There were a couple of times where things weren’t moving fast enough for him, and he pitched a mini-fit, but mostly, Β it was a delightful time. And as we were leaving, my friend said, “He is a sweet little boy.” And I said, “Today, he is.” And as the words left my mouth, I knew they were wrong.

Why, when people ask me how my son is doing, my first answer is “Crazy!”? Why does it seem that I am readier with the tantrum stories than the ones about what an amazing human being he is? I think I know: I don’t want people to hate to see me coming because they don’t want to hear me bragging. And I want to be honest about my struggles with him, because other people have been honest about THEIR parenting struggles, and it makes you see that these things are normal. Plus, some of the stories are downright funny when you back away from them. I see myself as being lighthearted. But what I don’t want, though, is for the struggles to overshadow the amazing. It’s like how people remember the bad experiences that they had at a restaurant (There was a hair in my food! It took them 30 minutes before they took my order! The soup tastes like soap!) and tell those stories more than the ones of the good service they had. So what people bring to mind are the negatives. I guess the bottom line is that I feel like I should be my kid’s first line of defense, his Public Relations agent. I can be upfront about his mistakes, but I should also want to present his upsides to the world. Enough people will pick him apart in this life. It is not my job to be one of those people. I can call him on his stuff and correct, but not drill into his head that he is a bad kid. I want people to see my whole kid, and that, despite the occasional crying, he is a wonderful person.

So after my friend gave my son that compliment, and after I sold him out briefly, I took a deep breath, and I said, “You know what? I shouldn’t have said that. What I should have said was thank you. He IS a sweet boy.”

Because he is.

10 Responses to “Toddler PR”

  1. maria_blake@comcast.net' Bestie Maria says:

    This is so wonderful, on so many levels. Love you Lynne, and your little boy too πŸ˜‰

  2. bride35 says:

    Thank you, sweet Maria. Your reply made me cry. Thank you.

  3. sheswrite9@gmail.com' ShesWrite says:

    Ha! I totally get it. I do the same thing, actually with both of my boys. I have a 3 year old and a 6 year old and I always make some sardonic comment, when really I should say yes, thank you.

    I don’t know if it’s because we don’t want to be one of THOSE parents who thinks that the sun shines out of their kid’s tails and thusly they can do no wrong or if it’s that we need a better avenue to vent our frustrations and so we look for any small opportunity to vent? Or maybe I’m just looking too much into it. I’ve been known to do that. πŸ™‚

    Visiting from SITS.

  4. Melaniehoodwilson@gmail.com' Melanie says:

    Is there a Like button on this blog? He really is delightlful. He is also a toddler. And there ain’t nothin wrong with that! I would truly love to spend more time with you guys. I LOVE toddlers, middle schoolers and teenagers. Who, by the way, are all just about the same with only slight differences in language acquisition and social skills. I would love to have more play dates with the two of you (Port Discovery, Aquarium, Patterson Park, etc.)

  5. I think we respond this way about our kids for the same reason we do about our cooking or writing or a good hair day – to set the low expectation.

    This way, if your son’s cranky side shows up next time, well, you called it. And if he’s golden again, then, wow! What a kid.

    Truth is, we’re all wonderful and awful, gracious and hellacious. And that’s a beautiful thing.

    • bride35 says:

      EXACTLY. EXACTLY. I just want him to know that I know we all have those days, but I know that he can do better. Thank you so much for writing.

  6. beyondmommying@gmail.com' Melissa Roy says:

    I do the same thing, always commenting on my children’s negative behaviors rather than touting their positive. But I do it because I don’t want people to be surprised when my “sweet, well behaved” children turn into the lunatics they are at home. Yes, my children are generally very well behaved when we are out and about BUT in the event that they do have age-appropriate moments, I don’t want people to be surprised!

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