My mother is here visiting me. She has been here for about 3 days now and I have enjoyed her company. I always find it interesting to watch her watch me as a parent. I can only imagine what it must feel like for her and it makes my heart smile that I often see pride in her eyes. Of course, my children were angels for the first 2 days. They were polite and respectful. They were concerned about her and wanted to make sure she was included in all our family activities. The first 2 days made me feel like moving to California was the best thing that ever happened to us because now they get to have a real relationship with my mother, their grandmother. It was all great until…today.
My children woke up in rare form this morning. “The boy” wanted to be held all morning and “the girl” just seemed overly emotional. I got my children to calm down and started to prepare their clothes and lunches for the day while they played in the play room. Well, the emotional roller coaster they were on this morning started back up quite quickly when “someone” spilled milk everywhere. I asked who did it, and first there was silence and then there was the blame game. I don’t get mad for accidents, but I think it is important that they learn to clean up their own messes, so I gave them both rags to clean up the mess and I don’t know what I was thinking because “the boy” fell on the ground acting like he was having a seizure and “the girl” started stomping all over the floor as if there were ants on the ground to be killed. Instead of me freaking out and yelling at these lovely gifts that I have been given, I told them to sit in “time out” until I was done cleaning up the milk mess that was slowly spreading all over everything. I don’t know why I sent them to time out considering that time out is right across from the guest room in my home, which is where my mother sleeps.
Obviously, my mother woke up and she was not too happy about the whole thing. I really didn’t want to make eye contact with her because although my mother may have spanked me once or twice in my life, I know she is not a fan of “time out”. She looked at “the boy” and “the girl” on the steps and told them that they needed to be more appreciative of all that their parents do for them. She went on to tell them that when she was growing up, she didn’t have a play room, park, or toys to play with and that she had to make her own toys. What I took away from her lecture were a few sentences that I had never heard her say in my life, which were:
“When I was growing up, we couldn’t go to the regular park. We had to go to the Black park and it was not nice. My mother didn’t have money for toys, so outside was our toy”
The funny thing is that my mother never spoke about segregation or Jim Crow to me. Of course, she had to have gone through it because she is from New Orleans, LA and was born in 1945. I thought about what she must think about this whole room I have in my house that is totally dedicated to toys and the children having fun. It must seem absurd, right?!? A whole room full of toys…
Never mind how I discipline my children because after everything was said and done, my mother told me that she was proud I didn’t just hit them because it teaches them to think. I was kind of shocked by that, but I wanted to ask her more about what it was like for her as a little girl and if she thought that play room was absurd. I didn’t ask, but I might ask tomorrow.