Yeah that’s right. You heard me.
As of last night, I am such an awesome mom that Michelle Obama is going to start calling herself “Second Mom” instead of “First Mom.” So awesome that “Parenting” Magazine is going to change its name to “Jane Roper Magazine.” So amazingly incredibly awesome that the editors of TIME magazine called me to personally apologize for even suggesting that I wasn’t “mom enough” on their recent cover. (“I hope you know we intended the question for everyone but you!” they said. And offered me a free year’s subscription; I declined.)
OK. Perhaps I am exaggerating a little.
OK, OK, I’m exaggerating *completely.* But do you ever have one of those moments when you feel like, damn, I rock at this parenting thing? When you feel like you’re in complete control and handling things exactly right? I’ve had approximately four of those moments since my children were born five years ago. And they’ve all been lovely.
The most recent one, which happened last night, went like this:
It was dinnertime, and the girls were setting the table. Now, the place mats and silverware are Elsa’s turf, and napkin folding is Clio’s. And apparently Elsa dared to do something with a napkin, and Clio got all bent out of shape and screamed at her, causing Elsa to burst into tears. (They were both, obviously, in a rather fragile state.)
We put Clio on a time-out, and I had a little talk with her, complete with hugs and empathy just like in that “Talk so kids will listen / listen so they’ll talk book” (“You’re pretty angry, huh?”) then left her to calm herself down a bit more on her own.
But when she came back, she started freaking out because Elsa had gone ahead and folded her napkin while she was gone (noooooo!!) and we told her she needed to go back on time out until she was ready to be calm and nice and stop acting like a complete a-hole.* (*We might not have actually put it that way.)
She did various kinds of screaming, grunting and stomping while she was sitting on the stairs, and was then relegated to her room. When she came back down she announced, poutily, that she didn’t want to eat dinner. I said — with utter calm — that was her choice, but she still needed to sit at the table with us. And if she didn’t want to do that (which, of course, she didn’t) she could go upstairs and get on her PJs and wait for bedtime. (At this point, it was all I could do not to stand up and applaud for myself. Seriously.)
She did put her her PJs on, then decided it was sort of lonely in her room and decided to come down and, grudgingly, sit with us at the table. (Yess!! Score!!) Then she freaked out again when we she realized (well, duh…) she wasn’t going to get any dessert. She told us if we didn’t give her dessert then she wouldn’t like us anymore. (Gasp!!) But we held firm. Oh ho ho, did we hold firm.
And let me interject here to say that Clio is a fierce tantrum-er when things don’t go exactly according to her own, internal logic. Long-time readers will recall my sordid tales of woe from when she was two years old, and would have interminable fits of extreme rage if, say, you said “yeah” in answer to a question when she wanted you to say “OK.” Like, hour-long screaming jags. She doesn’t pull that kind of thing anymore, but nevertheless, she is an intense kid when she’s angry.
The next hour or so proceeded in the same vein, and she levied all kinds of threats along the way: She wouldn’t let me floss her teeth unless I gave her something to eat. She wouldn’t get on her PJs unless I read her books by herself, not with Elsa.
But at every turn, my friends, I was completely calm, collected and in control. I was empathetic, but firm. I laid out the choices and enforced the consequences. I never once wavered. I was on, baby. I was in the f-ing zone! It was beautiful.
By the end of the night, books read, backs rubs, kisses given, Clio was still a little pouty, but cuddly. She let me smother her cheeks in kisses, as I love to do. And I think she was asleep before I’d even left the room.
Thank you, thank you. No, sit down, please. Please — I beg you. No? Oh, thank you. You’re so kind. Thank you. Thank you. (Makes “quiet down” gesture with hands)
Now. I turn it over to you. Have you ever had an I AM THE WORLD’S BEST PARENT moment you’d like to share and brag about in an absurd and completely inappropriate manner as I have done here? Or would you just like to make a comment on how awesome I am? Please, be my guest.
My book: DOUBLE TIME, my memoir of parenting twins, battling depression and chasing that ever-elusive work/home balance.
More from Jane on Baby Squared