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    Thursday, March 5, 2009


    You know that mythical parenting handbook everybody wishes came standard with a baby?

    Doctor: “Congratulations, Mrs. Denmark. It’s a boy. And here’s your handbook. I’m sorry, the one for boys is so much heavier than the one for girls.”

    Yeah, maybe it’s a good thing the handbooks don’t accompany the babies. But if they did, I’d be especially interested in the chapter on dealing with conflict. Ever notice how the old standbys only work in theory?

    Share. Take turns. Be nice. Don’t flush your brother’s Legos down the toilet. All these admonitions make sense, yet, for all intents and purposes, might as well be in Martian.

    If you’re a parent of multiple children, or of one child with grandiose ideas about the location of the center of the universe, you’re going to have to deal with conflict. It’s inescapable. No matter how strong your resemblance to an ostrich. Mine is striking, in case you’re wondering.

    God, with His infinite sense of humor, blessed me with Monkey the Immovable and Chunky the Irish-Tempered Bowling Ball. These two shake the earth when they get in a tizzy. I’ve learned that those old standbys must be modified if I’m going to have any hope of getting through to my boys.

    Share, or else. Take turns, or lose yours. Be nice, or so help me ... . Don’t flush your brother’s Legos down the toilet, or I’ll flush yours.

    It’s true I haven’t always been the best referee. That’s why I was surprised when I received an email from Monkey’s teacher saying he’d successfully mediated a girl fight on the playground. He negotiated apologies and arranged a play schedule both parties accepted.

    My husband and I were so pleased. We’ve long assumed that Monkey had a future as an interrogator because of his propensity to ask “Why” until the stars fade. We’ve joked that criminals will confess to things they didn’t do just to get him to stop. Now it seems we can add another career possibility. Ombudsman.

    We’re so proud.


    Jenny B. Jones said...

    You should be so proud of your son. As a teacher, I can tell you, girl fights are the WORST!!! So he's to be commended for his valor and skill.

    Also 29 forever,

    Evangeline Denmark said...

    Hey Jenny,
    Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, we are very proud of him. He never ceases to amaze.

    Anonymous said...

    "...or I'll flush yours." I had to laugh, but it is so true. (I have three children) But isn't it wonderful to get comments like that. You know you are doing something right when they do well in public and with their peers.

    MangyCat said...

    That's wonderful! It's moments like that that keep us going and looking forward to the next one.

    Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

    What a neat blessing!

    I have a couple ladies who seem ready to line up praise for my mothering just as a way to affirm me, and on my *off* days I'm so ready to tell them I enjoy I-love-yous but lay off the unfounded praise-- it just rubs in what I'm *not*.

    Then my kid(s) do something absolutely perfect or charming in front of them and all my defensive protestations just look like I'm trying too hard to be humble.

    Life's not fair.

    Oh, right. That's not news.

    Happy UBP '09