In Her Words
It’s Time to Grow Up!
Setting a good example for kids isn’t always easy
Shortly after I put my son to bed, I did what I always do after my husband goes outside to get the trash bucket and I’m blissfully alone in the house.
I dug out the chocolate brownie ice cream from the freezer and ate straight from the carton, standing by the sink.
As I shoveled my third spoonful into my mouth, I was suddenly overcome by the chills – and it wasn’t from the ice cream. It was the realization that I was setting a very bad example for the young boy sleeping not 10 feet away from me, in the other room.
Let’s face it. If Alex were 10 years old and sneaking spoonfuls of ice cream directly from the container, I’d tell him to get a bowl and eat it properly at the table. Shameful as this is, sometimes I don’t just eat my forbidden snack in the kitchen. There are times when I’ve migrated to the couch and placed the carton on my lap. Once, there was spillage.
Seriously, I should be grounded. No reality T.V. shows for a week!
Transitioning into the strange new world of parenting is scary for many reasons, not just because you face the probability of someone throwing up on you, or worse, waiting up for them until 2 a.m. while they’re out drinking with friends – and you don’t know where they are.
Parenting forces you to become an adult, whether you want to or not.
Rather than grounding myself (sorry, I just can’t miss So You Think You Can Dance next week), I think I’m going to make a list of all the Peter Pan-ish habits I’m going to have to throw out the window, in order to become a proper role model for my 3-year-old.
So here goes:
1. No potty mouth. My husband and I don’t swear that much to begin with, but there are times when it’s very tempting, especially when the cereal falls all over the floor or I stub my toe. Since my son is at that age when he repeats everything he hears, I know that I can no longer afford to yell expletives whenever the bathroom scale doesn’t show me what I want to see. Eventually, he’s going to hear four-letter words somewhere in the universe – I just don’t want the source to come from our home.
2. No throwing tantrums. Alex is good at this one, but I shouldn’t be. If I start yelling every time the world throws me a lemon, then I won’t be setting a good example for him.
3. No sugary cereals for breakfast. If I ate Cocoa Puffs, Alex would want Cocoa Puffs, spurning all other healthy breakfast foods for all eternity! That said …
4. No eating ice cream on the couch in front of the T.V.
My husband and I both have to work at #4. Maybe if So You Think You Can Dance is on, we can make the occasional exception for this rule. And when my son gets older, we can make the occasional exception for him too. But only if the ice cream is in a bowl.
Jennifer Lubell is mom to Alex, two-and-a-half. They both enjoy an occasional ice cream – but only if each of them has had dinner first.