Piece of CakeNovember 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Lollipop | 22 Comments
Tags: Challenges, Children, Fatherhood, Food, Life, Milestones, Motherhood, Pancakes, Parenting, Perspectives
Last night I made pancakes for dinner — delicious, healthy, and whole-wheat, with a dash of cinnamon. My kids will eat platefuls of them.
Since that right there is a miracle, I could end this post here. But there’s more.
As Lollipop was asking for her third or fifth or eighth pancake (I sort of lost track), she said, “Could you tear it in bites for me please, Mom?”
So I did. I didn’t think about it. I just did it. It registered that she had “asked nicely,” as we call it, so I complimented her on her manners. And then tore up her pancake in bite-sized pieces and went about the business of dinnertime — refilling cups, wiping syrup spills, shoving bites into my own mouth, pre-bussing empty plates, shooing away the dogs, and on and on.
Flash forward six or seven pancakes. She asked my husband the same thing. And he declined.
Some amusing banter ensued, with the four-year-old trying to coerce her father into tearing up her pancake, but he held fast. He explained that she was a big girl, she could eat her pancake like it was, or if she really wanted it in bites, she could tear it up herself. After a few last-resort tears, she did.
I watched quietly. And in between stuffing spoons of carrot in the baby’s cheek (and wiping them off his eyebrows), I got to thinking. Is that the role we all play — Mother the Nurturer, Father the Challenger?
Do I push my children? Do I encourage them to do things for themselves? Do I help them learn to be independent?
Not really. I tie their shoes. I make their beds. I fold their laundry. I pick their noses. (Come on, you know you do, too.) And I tear up their pancakes. I do it because I’ve always done it. I do it because, at one time, they needed me to.
When did that time pass? And why didn’t I notice?
Somehow, though, it all works itself out. Because, surely, by the time my kids are in college, they will have figured out how to pick their own noses. Right?
Are you a Nurturer or a Challenger? Is your partner the same or opposite? Do you think children need both in their lives?