Little Miss Sunshine is turning six in a couple of weeks, so we are planning birthday parties and cakes and gifts and she’s getting excited.
So the other day she says to me, “Remember last year, on my birthday, when it was my WORST DAY EVER?”
And I’m all like, “You mean, the day when we went swimming, and had presents, then spent the afternoon at the museum of your choosing, then went out to eat the restaurant of your choosing, then had cake AND ice cream? THAT worst day ever?”
And she’s all, “Oh, yeah. But remember, you yelled at me. On my birthday. It was the worst ever.”
What she is referring to is this: when we were going out to the Museum of Civilization after lunch, I asked all three kids to get ready to go. But they were all wound up and nutso, and when I was packed up and ready I found three kids with no shoes and who had not been to the bathroom. And yes, I yelled, and if you want to know the truth, I even sent all three to their individual rooms for a few minutes while I calmed down. Then I politely asked them all if they wanted to go to the museum, and if so, could they GET READY ALREADY, and after 15 minutes we were on our way.
Then we went to the museum and had a great time. See also: cake, ice cream, gifts, etc.
So of course, all she remembers of that day is that I yelled at her. This, THIS, is the very definition of parenting to me. The good, the good, the good, the good – I will always remember. The bad, the ugly – that’s what leaves the impression on young minds.
It annoys me, but I know that that’s the way these things go. I have faith that providing a general aura of comfort and love and yes, cake and ice cream, will somehow result in a general good feeling about childhood, and all those bad moments will someday be amusing anecdotes told over Thanksgiving dinner, or possibly to her therapist.
Of course, this year for her birthday I’m considering skipping all the frills and just staying home in our PJs, while the kids make their own cereal for dinner. It’ll probably be her BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. FIGURES.