Remember when your kids first started to acquire words, and it was all so terribly fascinating that you wrote them down, one by one, in their baby books?
Then there were words that your kids acquired that make you shudder in that micro-second before they actually said them, but when you knew they were going to. My least favorite is the “F” word. Not THE “F” word– I’d give my left nostril to hear one of my kids pop off an “oh fuck” instead of having to listen to how something isn’t FAIR.
It’s the new hot word in my house. That’s not fair is like a song lyric that my kids can’t get out of their heads. (Digression: Simon has taken to singing, at the top of his filled-to-capacity lungs, “My name is Elder Price / And I would like to share with you the most amazing book.” About 1/3 of this city now thinks I took my 2-year old to see a profane musical about the Mormon faith, when all I did was show him the Tony-award spoof on that song. Please consider: his favorite place to sing is at his Jewish day school. Someone please slip a chocolate-covered roofie in my drink before I die of shame.)
Just this evening Sadie sulked like a teenager asked to come home from prom at 8:30 PM. “It’s not fair, Mommy, I never get to stick a hair pin in the electric socket.” No, honey, you don’t. Naturally, her little brother mimics everything she does. So, he stomped his little foot and told me it wasn’t fair that I wouldn’t let him juggle with the carving knives.
Their lives are replete with unfairness.
And on these weeks when Jeff is traveling, and I have had two solo days back to back, I draw on every nano-second of meditation I’ve ever done to prevent my baser self from going off on them. You know, from matching their “F” word with my own “F” word– as in “shut the fuck up, you first-world ingrates.” Sometimes I want go all NPR on them and remind them that they can talk to me about unfairness when they end up in a hostage situation at a mall in Kenya. Or when they get conscripted into a guerrilla army. Or when the wake up one day and find that they no longer live within walking distance of a Target where they can purchase any bit of bullshit they want, including string cheese or a comforter.
Until then, they have been advised to reframe their arguments such that they strenuously avoid the use of the term “fair” as it relates to their perception of their current circumstances. Because I will be that mom that makes them do community service at a local orphanage or forces them to hang out with helicopter parents at the park so they will truly know how good they have it.
For more on fairness, check out my concerns about whether it’s fair that my son gets to nurse for 33 months (and counting), while my daughter only got 10 months of the nip. Click here for my latest post on Mom.Me.