Being a self-professed scrounger/thrift shop goddess, I am accustomed to things coming my way sans manual or instruction sheet. Even when things come from a real retail store, and you don't actually get around to reading the enclosed booklet, its still reassuring to know that you have it.
Not so with offspring.
I was reading Heather's post this morning, and nodding my head vigorously. ("fumbling for words", friggin hyperlink won't cooperate) We make zillions of decisions daily affecting our childrens' present and future. Should we work more hours so they can have some half decent clothes and take a few lessons? or does that mean we've bought into a Western notion of child rearing, and we're totally missing the point? Should I insist that the children eat what I cook, or focus on making meal times pleasant and turn a blind eye about fifty five times a day? Will they grow up unhealthy? But if I turn it into a power struggle will they grow up to be neurotic, hating their bodies, obsessing about their sizes?
Children do not come with instructions. Complicate that with the fact that no matter how many times you procreate, every single child will break the previous mold. What "works" for one may be damaging to the other. Complicate it further with the fact that no matter how "grown up" we mommies and daddies appear, we are all still growing. We don't hold all the answers. We make mistakes. Every. day.
I started apologizing to my firstborn when she was a wee babe in the crib. I knew enough to recognize that humility would be a key ingredient. Still, I've been at it for over 12 years now, and I can't tell you how many times I've shouted out--
"Isn't it about time for a mid-term exam or an evaluation, or SOMETHING?!"
Its at this point that my brother-in-law calmly advises me to simply put an extra $100.00 in the kids therapy fund. This only exacerbates the angst. FUNDS? Holy macaroli! Another area of FAILURE!
If you are hoping I am going to wrap this up with some really touchy feely advice about living in the moment, just doing your best, or my favourite: "Just ENJOY them, they grow up so FAST"! I'm sorry that I will have to disappoint you. Sure they grow up fast. That's the point, isn't it? By the time I figure out a few things about parenting, they'll be horizontal on the proverbial couch of overpriced counsel.
Yup, I've had lots of experience with missing manuals. With the bread machine, I did my best guessing with flour and yeast,a bit of hydro and a splash of milk. Even the cats looked frightened. After dark I reluctantly slunk back to the charity shop (that's what they call it in the UK, and I just think its adorable, so humour me) and dumped the instruction-free thing back into the donation box.
I've tried it with the kids, but they keep following me home.