Parenthood is just a constant game of figuring it out...

How to get them to eat certain things.

How to make them feel loved, safe & happy.

How to get them bleeping-beeping-bloody to sleep. 

How to still feel fulfilled in the grind of everyday moments. Making lunches, picking up toys, listing to annoying Youtube videos of weird men opening up Kinder Eggs. Like what the what?

A few nights ago, my five-sorry-five-and-a-half-year-old and I were having our bedtime chat. We were lying cheek to cheek, his lantern that shoots stars across the ceiling was on, his pillow-I-mean-pet at his beck & call & the most uncomfortable toys that he loves buried in pillows, under sheets, taking up the space of one-whole-human-being. It's the one guaranteed moment in time, where I'm fully his, no interruptions from his siblings, where we talk, laugh & giggle & I try to boost & uplift who is he. He tells me about his day, a moment he was kind or something funny that makes us both genuinely laugh. It's his time to tell me about a new song from school or a new fact he has learn, like "Did I know, the elbow really has 3 bones?". It's his time to put all he's seen, heard & thought into the most bizarre of questions, like:

"Momma, how does Jesus talk?" - 
"Hmmm, what now?" - 
"Like, if he's a baby, like Theo, how can he talk?".

Ahhh, Catholic School...

I learned about Jesus & the bible via Sunday school at a church, however my kids are learning it through the school system. We chose that route because not only do we have to re-group from the arse-whipping-of-a-week by having a day to chill in pjs all morning, maybe if we're ambitious hit up a pumpkin patch or make it to swimming on Sundays.

But, I don't know if how I learned about God, is the right way to teach my own kids - Because God to me, is so very different now

And that's okay. I think it's good. If I somehow found a space, where I feel peace, I feel faith and I feel me, that's what really matters & that's what I'll pass down to my kids. 

That some find all of that in God. In a church. In a ritual. In a prayer. Some in music, some in art. Some in people and connections and moments that make up their life. 

That for me, I've found God in hospital chapels. In baby baptism's. In other's kindness. Or even in operating rooms where I'm singing my little girl to sleep

So, he talked it out, "I think then Jesus, stays a baby forever. And God, is his dad but does all the talking, because babies can't talk. But, mom why do they say Jesus said then? Cause then does he talk baby talk in that book?" 

All good questions indeed. And of course right away, as I tried to think up an answer that made sense to us both, I thought of Will Ferrell praying to Dear Lord Baby Jesus

But again, it swims back to the very idea - That every moment of being a parent, is how to figure out making it all work. How you'll answer questions, how they'll see & form relationships, how they'll view the world, how they'll live & who they'll be or want to become. That's all on YOU. On how you raise them, the love you rise within them, the confidence you instill & the positivity in encouraging them to be themselves. It's in how much kindness you share, how much respect you value in others, how acceptable you are to differences and challenges & something outside the norm. It's such a responsibility - I mean what a huge thing to even comprehend, let alone try to decide how to do things that best fit who they are. 

For example, how Pip puts on her outfit for school & brushes her teeth is completely different then how Noal wants to accomplish the exact same thing. And I find when I get frustrated or lose my patience the most, it's because I"m trying to rush them and get them to do it not in their own way.

Pip pretends to want to pee, her eyes twinkling, as she yips out "eeeeeeee" - She knows damn well, she's just teasing. Yet we go through the routine of her sitting there, batting at the toilet paper like a freaking cat & signing asking for music over & over. I normally oblige & sing a few jigs, she kinda bounces up or down or does her Adele Hands. Then I brush her teeth as she splashes water up on my newly wallpapered walls. She then truts to the bottom of the stairs waiting for tickles & kisses as I give her a brave-fist-pounce as she points to her Dexcom & we acknowledge her incredible courage. We then practice balance as she works hard on one foot as we get socks, leggings, or tights on. I usually get frustrated at this point and rush her through one side - cause come on - hussle up already. Then she tries to get her coat on, picks out her yellow rubber boots EVERY morning, has a little tanti as I put something else on her tootsies and we scoot to the bus just in time.

Where as,

Noal brushes his teeth, while I do his hair, he normally directs me how he'd like it to look. Yesterday he reminded me he wanted ponies, with green-blue-and-pink elastics and I obviously oblige, because I always want him to be him and have a voice. But I find that there is this balance to figure out as well. And that's the tough part in parenting. Wanting to protect, yet wanting them to figure it out too.

I want him to be him, but it breaks me to think of anyone teasing him, being mean or chipping away at his confidence because he is so proudly himself. So, I wanted to poach the subject, so he wasn't caught off guard, so I ask if he was sure & what if his bigger friends at recess said something about them. And he said, "Oh, they will but that's okay, I think it's cool, don't forget pink one in the middle momma." 

And that was that, he thumbs-upped the mirror, hopped off the stool & gave me a grin as he put on his backpack.

When he came home from school, his smile was still plastered on his face, he gifted me with a bag of wet soggy leaves and I noticed right away, he only had 1 of the 3 ponies left in his hair.

"How cool were your ponies today babe? I see one still survived." - 

"Well some boys said they weren't cool. One boy tried to rip out the blue one, you know the one at the very top? So, I just kept the green one & told them, anyone can have long hair, or short hair or ponies. Right momma?" -

"Totally right dude. What did they say?" -

"They said who said that. And I said you did. Then they said their moms never told them that. How come momma?" - 

"Good question kid. I don't know. Maybe I'll ask their mommas to please tell them." -  

So, here it is, here's my plea - Please tell your kids.

  • Anyone can have long hair, short hair, purple hair, no hair or rock ponies whenever they want. 
  • Anyone can wear pink stripped socks, blue plaid shirts & play with dolls or little toy cars. 
  • Anyone can paint or create, or play sports or learn piano.
  • Anyone can believe in a faith that brings them peace, love whom makes their heart happy & look different because of so many things.
  • Anyone can be anything they want.

And that being YOU is one of the coolest parts about life. That we are all DIFFERENT and unique and that's what makes us all so extraordinary.

There is so much to figure out, to this wild ride we call parenting. But it's so important to teach your kids to be themselves and to freely allow others the same.