Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No Buddy

One of my best friends in high school (okay, my bff) and her family had a little toy poodle. Actually, truth be told, it was her mom's toy poodle, and honestly, toy poodle is a bit of a stretch. The reality is he was this little scruffy, and sometimes mangy looking dog, who was sweet as could be - but not the best behaved animal.

As a result, D and her family (and myself included - because I felt like just another member of her family when I was at her house) used to try to discipline that little dog (whose name was Buddy.) "No Buddy - don't chew on the table." "No Buddy - don't jump on the couch." "No Buddy - insert behavior here." As a result, we joked that Buddy thought is name was "Nobody."

I wonder sometimes if my kids think their names are "NoJames" and "NoAnna." It seems like I'm forever telling them "no" "stop that" "don't do that" and "quit that." I know it's a natural part of parenting, teaching them right from wrong, I just wonder sometimes what the threshold is between parenting and letting kids be kids.

I suppose it should be when danger is involved - as in, don't jump from couch to ottoman to love seat (a.k.a. couch-diving in the Long house) because you are dangerously close to the brick hearth on the fireplace. Or, don't run around with newly sharpened colored pencils in your hand, because if you trip on one of the fourteen-thousand toys scattered throughout the house, you'll impale yourself.

I want the kids to grow up having fun, doing silly things, playing and giggling all the while. I also want them to grow up to be respectful, mindful, and - yes - obedient to those in charge. As Deonne told me long ago, before we ever had kids, 'my kids may not like me - but they'll respect me - and we can be friends later in life when they're grown up.'

I agree - but struggle at times to find the balance between being a good parent and a great one.

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