Suburban Snapshots

Picking Battles

Monday, July 19, 2010

I slip in comments here all the time about what slacker parents we are, how Anna's covered in bruises or ear wax most of the time, snacks daily on fistfuls of dog food (and not even the good kind) and, in the past two years, has slowly built a candy shell over what used to be my couch.

If I'm being fair to us, Steve and me, we're not really lazy parents. As anyone with a kid knows, there are just so. many. damn. battles. that if we didn't choose the really important ones (the Dog Kicking Conflict, or the Fingers in the Fan Fracas, for example) we'd be perpetually frustrated with mouths stiffly frozen in the "No" position.

When Anna started stomping around at 5:30 a.m. demanding popsicles, I decided to make my own out of apricot nectar. I call them breakfast popsicles. She thinks it's a super treat, I pretend juice isn't rotting her teeth as she opens the freezer (bottom freezers — brilliant idea, childless engineers) to retrieve her 4th one before 7 a.m. Win-win.

We have a very lax policy on nudity, with the application of undergarments required only in public and at the dinner table. It's easier for me to throw a sheet over the couch than maintain patience through 15 minutes of "I want to do it myself," sitting on my hands to keep them from grabbing her skinny ankles and shoving them through the right holes — that's ONE leg in each hole — and pulling them up over a wiggling, protesting rear-end.

The hardwood floors in my dining room boast a CSI-worthy splatter pattern of washable paints, because she works so intently at her easel we get at least 15 good minutes of quiet time. So when she sits on the floor with a loaded brush and tells me she's putting on sunblock, I walk calmly to the bathroom (after snapping a pic for Facebook, natch) and run a bath.

So should you ever visit my house, you may not want to sit on my couch or eat anything Anna offers, but you'll meet a happy, paint-spattered naked kid with all ten fingers intact and feet that she usually keeps to herself.

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