I recently ran across a new favorite blog – Honest Toddler. I found it through one of my recent obsessions, Twitter.
So, our daughter is 4 going on “You’re not the boss of me” and we have one on the way. Most days I’m hoping and praying that this parenting thing doesn’t land Lola, myself or my husband in therapy for years on end. Other days, I think I’m all over this parenting thing only to realize that I it’s ever evolving and that things are not always what they seem. Which is exactly what I thought when I read the post below written from the perspective of an honest toddler.
I push the apology thing quite a bit with our daughter and I realized in reading this post that maybe it’s really not accomplishing the true remorse that will hopefully shape her character. Truth gleaned from humor – softens the blow of the lesson. Back to the parental drawing board.
A hobby enjoyed by big folks is making little folks do things. Unfortunately they have collectively decided that forced remorse is a morality building exercise. It’s a common misconception, lie, amongst adults that if you require someone to say “I’m sorry” enough times, they’ll eventually mean it.
They self-righteously drag you over to the kid whose giant head connected with your foot or whose eyes magnetically attracted the sand from your bucket and evil whisper, “Say you’re sorry!”
Or like a puppy being forced to face its stinking excrement, they’ll pull you to the site of your latest masterpiece, toilet paper extravaganza if you will, and require you to say “SORRY” to them, the wind, an unseen deity…who knows who this penance is being directed toward.
I know this isn’t effective because I’ve seen daddy apologize to mommy ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS without even knowing what he’s saying sorry for. It’s pathetic.
Daddy: I’m really sorry.
Mommy: Sorry for what? (pop quiz time, folks!)
Daddy: (stammering and giggling out of fear) Sorry because…uh-ah, what we talked about, I should have been more..been less…I’m very sorry. Chocolate cake?
In those sad exchanges, it’s clear to everyone in the room except my mother that what daddy means to say is:
Daddy: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’re crazy. I’m even more sorry that from time to time you draw me into your land of crazy increasing its population 1 to 2.
It’s no different for me. I’m not sorry I poured maple syrup into a brand new family-sized box of Corn Flakes. I was making science. I’m not sorry that I exploded a feather pillow with scissors. Pillows are family property and I’m part of this family. Why do we relax on feathers, anyway. Do you think geese go night night on human skin blankets?
Whether you’re holding my upper arm in a death grip or doing your in-public calm parent act at the store (“What do you say, honey bunny?”), know this: I’ll apologize so that life can go on, but I in no way feel any regret.
Below is a handy guide for translating my fake apologies.
When I Say “I’m Sorry” I really mean:
I’m sorry I got caught
I’m sorry you have enough energy to care
I’m sorry I didn’t run faster
I’m sorry I did that in front of you
I’m sorry I didn’t hit him/her hard enough to make them afraid to tattle
I’m sorry I didn’t eat the evidence
I’m sorry you have no sense of humor
I’m sorry you lack a spirit of adventure
I’m sorry you are obsessed with “clean”
I’m sorry kids can’t be kids
I’m sorry you have such high standards
I’m sorry your rules are too boring/complicated to follow
KIDS AT THE PARK
I’m sorry you’re no fun
I’m sorry you don’t know the difference between personal and communal property
I’m sorry your snack looked delicious and your reflexes are slow
I’m sorry you were in my way
I’m sorry I had to punish you
I’m sorry you are so slow
I’m sorry you thought sharing was for more than 30 seconds dummy give it back
So stranger, the next time I trip you with my body at the grocery store know this: I’m not sorry you almost fell. I’m sorry your walking skills and center of gravity haven’t advanced to the point where you’re able to successfully run errands. LOL.
Great post Honest Toddler…