How To Turn A Caveman Into A Refined Human Being In 18 Years (More Or Less)

I have three cavemen living in my house. They use the floor as their toilet. They prefer running naked. They steal each other’s food. They have no empathy. Their only creed is survival of the fittest. It’s as though humanity’s entire existence is reduced to the microcosm of childhood, and it’s up to parents to direct their little creatures’ evolution into a refined, empathetic, functioning adult within 20 years. Wow. No one told me how hard that part of the job description would be when I signed up!

I thought we were doing pretty good with the eldest, as far as teaching manners and the rules of the house. However, on her third birthday, she forgot all of it. And then I caught Miss Twin hitting Miss Toddler the other day and realized we have to teach it all again. Twice. At the same time. Just so they can forget it on their third birthday too. I know that consistency is the key, and if Daddy and I don’t let them off the hook, someday they’ll all be polite, well-mannered children who will be welcomed to their friends’ homes. However, the path between this day and that looks, from here, to be a daunting climb.

The funny thing is that I don’t feel much different inside from when I was a kid. A little wiser, yes, but my emotions are much the same. Now, I look around for someone in charge, and find out it’s me! What credentials do I have to raise these three kiddos to be productive members of society? What if I screw up? Will they need counseling someday because of my failings? There are moments, especially at the end of a long day, when my inner cavewoman roars out her existence, and I wonder if I’ve really come so far myself. We’ve all seen adults who haven’t progressed beyond seventh grade. (I haven’t had this experience yet, but I’m expecting to see a few at my kids’ sporting events.) Yet, somehow, their kids usually grow up to be reasonable adults, which just proves how resilient and wise children can be.

Maybe the moral here is that I’m expecting too much of my babies and toddler. They have a long way to go before they need to be mature, and until then, my consistency in guiding them and Time will smooth out the rough spots. Too often, I’m tempted to say, “Just wait until you’re older, THEN you’ll understand.” I’m learning that Time is unrelenting and, too soon, they will be older. Let’s not invalidate the childish stages our kids are at, because each one is a building block for future maturity.

The other moral, of course, is that I’m the adult now and maturity is demanded. The world doesn’t revolve around me anymore. No one told me that when I signed up either, but I’m relieved to learn it now. I have enough responsibility raising three kids, much less controlling a planet.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynda Olsen
    Jun 19, 2010 @ 18:47:03

    Abby,

    You are SO ‘right on’ with your commentary on children and trying to control them and teach them the many, many things they will need to know as they grow and mature. I enjoy your insights and great comments as you observe your beautiful children.

    Keep up the good work, it is so much fun to read your blog!
    Lynda

    Reply

  2. bethy
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 12:47:55

    Abby,

    There is nothing you can do to prevent your kids from needing therapy….that is if they have their Auntie B’s genetics. Send them now so you won’t have to blame yourself later. Just kidding of course. Just keep Miss Emily (and Miss Sarah) away from the toaster.

    Reply

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