I used to be smart, or at least, somewhat intelligent, but being a mom has really taken my intelligence and stomped on it. I mean, I was no Albert Einstein by any means, but I used to pride myself on having a vast vocabulary, and an interest in expanding my vernacular.
If I were to have a word count, I believe it would stop at five words a day. Those words are currently "Stop", "NO", "Don't", " (Be) Careful"...strike that, I only use four words a day...my word count would stop at four words.
If I could catch a glimpse of my former self, she would be dry-heaving at the stupidity level of the four word count. I feel like former Jess had way different expectations of this whole parenting thing. Former Jess was a stud daycare teacher that really built her reputation on effective communication with toddlers. Former Jess could have probably been a terrorist negotiator for the United Nations, because she could talk down a two year old, and let's face it...two year olds have a terrorist mentality. Former Jess thought that this whole parenting thing would be a summers breeze with a rainbow and a singing bird that would land on her finger (need I mention the expectation of woodland creatures coming to hep with household chores... I blame Disney).
If I could go back in time, I would give former Jess a massive wedgie, for having the guts to assume such lies.
It's totally different with your own kids. Unlike daycare, where you can send the kids home and blame their parents if they grow up to be a lunatic, I am the only source of blame. I have the added pressure to not only keep my kids healthy, happy and clean throughout the day, I have that bear on my back making sure that my children turn into a fine upstanding citizens. Which seemed easy enough until the age of two.
As a social experiment, I tried to eliminate the word "NO" from my vocabulary this morning. It's only been 4 hours and I'm waving my white flag and putting the kibosh on this experiment. By 11:00 this morning we have watched 3 mickey mouse clubhouse episodes, skipped library time and had a tootsie pop for breakfast. After using word after word trying to explain my disdain for all of these situations, I ended up giving in. It's tough to negotiate with terrorists without any ammo (the word no). It's crazy to me that there are religions that allow children to make their own decisions. Sure it would be great to live in a tootsie pop flavored world, but that's not reality. The reality is that Theo and Elliot are going to hear the word "NO" a lot in their lives, and not only from me. They'll hear it in school, work, from girlfriends, in friendships, all throughout their lives, and it won't be easy. But life's not easy, and really, I think that's the best lesson I can teach them.
As for me, I'll be hiding in the closet, alternating reading novels centered around negotiation tactics and my thesaurus.