I Knew It All…Before I Became A Parent

Posted on October 13, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I’m sitting at my computer listening to 94.7 The Wave. The time is exactly 9:04 a.m. I’m listening to Sade’s sultry voice sing, Smooth Operator. Normally, this songs sends me on a daydream to an island, my feet are buried in the sand, I’m sipping on something sweet and I’m feeling just as sultry as Sade’s voice…NOT TODAY! Today this song makes me chuckle and I remember when I felt like I was the smooth operator. I remember when I thought I knew everything about what it was going to be like to be a parent, of course at this point I didn’t have a child yet. Isn’t that funny? We know so much until we have a child and then suddenly we know nothing.  I distinctly remember having a conversation with a girlfriend. (Random thought…remember when you could call  your friend your girlfriend and it really meant that she was a good friend of yours and not your actual girlfriend?) Now back to my conversation with my girlfriend, I remember telling her one of the things I would NEVER do as a parent is push my children into doing something that I love to do.  I’d never lose my smoothness and get all crazy like I’d witness my mom and aunts get with us.  I would always be patient and try reasoning with my little one. Ha-ha, are you chuckling now? Clearly I had a tiny bit of arrogance within, I was definitely confident and knew it all.Aah, the beautiful ignorance of youth.

Well, one of the many things I learned after having my first child is that the singer, Seal, sang the absolute truth (I’m still listening to The Wave). We’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy! So when my toddler takes off all of her clothes in the middle of the living room and purposely urinates in the new Halloween tin can I just purchased for her to use in a few weeks, I’m liable to get a little crazy. Or, how about the vanilla air fresheners I thought I misplaced, only to drive my son to school one morning and notice him smelling incredibly good. He smelled like vanilla. I happen to look over at him and notice one of the air fresheners tied to his jeans, another one tied to his book bag and he confessed to having one in his backpack in case the other two should lose fragrance during the day.  I begin to ask why… and couldn’t even bring myself to ask a question I already knew the answer to. I glanced at him one more time and he winked at me and said, “I smell good, don’t I? Just call me chocolate truffle.”  Now, what would be my point in trying to reason with a 15 year old who just told me, his mother, to call him “chocolate truffle“. What exactly is the correlation between a vanilla air freshener and a chocolate truffle? Who in their right mind hangs air freshener on their clothes in hopes of  it taking the place of cologne?  Am I really supposed to reason with this? Better question, how do you reason with that, when in fact, he did smell good.

Remember how I would NEVER force my children into doing anything just because I love it? Well, let me confess now that I have a love affair with languages. I don’t fluently speak anything other then English but I have taken French classes and I do know a bit of Spanglish. Oh, I also know many words in Hebrew. In my mind, one of my many talents is being a linguist. I speak other languages to but they’re mostly made up. Let’s not forget, I can communicate with dolphins.

Could that be the reason I sent my son to a French immersion school for a year? hmmm…I was thrilled with the school and beyond elated that he would learn French fluently. It didn’t occur to me that this could be overwhelming for a child that hadn’t started out speaking French prior to him being 10 years old.  It didn’t occur to me that I would only be able to help him with his homework during the alphabet, numbers and greeting intros. He was teaching me after that. It also didn’t occur to me that I was actually the one overwhelmed. He expressed the school being a challenge but said he loved it. He fit in. I however, struggled during the PTA meetings that I thought were being held in Los Feliz, California, only to get in the room and realize “I’ve arrived in France.” When the topics became a debate, the immersion kicked in and the whole conversation switched from English to French. I was lost in translation without a map. Luckily, after the third meeting a woman befriended me and became my translator. Where was she  on the day I lost my smoothness? My son began playing football for the school team. His coach greeted me with a kiss on both sides of my cheek one day after practice (Ouu la la, the coach was gorgeous!) He excitedly began saying “Bon jour, bon jour Je suis.” After “Je suis”, I lost him. I had no idea of what this gorgeous man was saying to me and he kept going on and on. I was too embarrassed to stop him. What ever the hell he was saying, he was driven and passionate about it. I loved the passionate part and wanted to be part of it so I just stood there with a frozen smile on my face blinking nervously. We were interrupted by a real linguist, a pint- sized Olive Oil look -alike who, I’m told, spoke four languages.  She, of course, noticed the nervous blinking and began “Monsieur, Monsieur” (you know that’s all I understood). I’m guessing she told him that I was lost in his eyes and caught in the passionate rhythm of his French native tongue  or she simply said, “She doesn’t speak French and she’s lost. Who blinks that much?” Either way, he graciously grabbed my hands and held them in his own and slowly said “Madame, forgive me. I am not aware that you do not speak French.”  The passion in his voice deflated and I no longer felt like a smooth operator, this was no place for beginners.

You’d think I’d learned my lesson from the french immersion school with my son, right? I didn’t. I love traveling, therefore I love languages.  My daughter started nursery school at sixteen months old.  She’ll be three in November. She speaks English incredibly clear. I’m guessing she speaks Hebrew incredibly clear too. I fell in love with the patience, tenacity and guidance of her teacher and  the owner of a Hebrew nursery school…Shabbat Shalom, HEY!!! and so it is. I couldn’t tell you what the hell she’s saying to me most days, but I sing the songs with her and she corrects me when I don’t sing the right words. At PTA meetings instead of being in France, I’m now in Israel and not ashamed or embarrassed to raise my hand and say, “I need you to say that in English, please.”  I guess I have learned some lessons.

What I realized is 1). Never say never, 2). Parenting is so individually unique, 3). Sometimes there is no reason in reasoning,  4). It’s okay to be a little crazy and 5).  It’s necessary to let your hair down and laugh.

The Wave is still on and Corrine Bailey Rae is playing, what an appropriate song to share. Enjoy!

xoxo Journey xoxo

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14 Responses to “I Knew It All…Before I Became A Parent”

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I feel like I’ll be coming here for refreshers on how to REALLY parent when Anthony and I are blessed with a child…. you are just too great 🙂 xoxoxoxo, Allison

I am listening! Loved it, soooooo true.

Crystal you make me laugh, wonder and reflect with everything you write. I’ll remember this when my child is born next year. Thanks for the blog!

I too used to say “l’ll never do this and that when I’m a parent” and now as a parent of two beautiful girls, I often pause and reflect on how difficult it is to be a good parent. I commend every parent out there who is doing their absolute best for their children.
Children can drive you crazy sometimes but what I’ve learned and Crystal mentioned is that it is OK to be a little crazy sometimes.
Thanks for sharing Crystal

great thoughts and post! I am so different to what I thought I was going to be as a mother – boy how I have changed! some things for good and some for bad – but it is a learning process and we can just do the best we can. Naomi

Fabulous post, It reminds me of this post about the same thing…Know it all… September 22, 2010 The older I get, the less I understand..:)

Chicago, we were all so wise before we had children…lol I laugh at myself daily thinking of all the foolish things I said prior to becoming a mom? I’ve also eaten a lot of crow because of those ideas..lol. Love love the blog keep up the good work!

Chocolate truffle- so funny!

-Heidi Ferrer (www.GirltoMom.com)

Interesting facts, I have to remember if I’m on “Jeopardy” lol! Naw, this just goes to show when were “wet behind the ears” (we didn’t think so) but we knew nothing!!! it’s all a process. I’m loving it….

oh chance oh chance, what will we do with him
your so funny and you say it with such great diction
im glad my mom told me about here

what a great read Cryatal! HILARIOUS! We haven’t seen each other since our teenage years and it’s wonderful to see how you have evolved into an incredible woman and mother. Keep up the excellent work and thank you for sharing your world.

Great article. I will keep reading future posts!!

I like this Crystal, so true

OMG…not to long ago my mom busted me out to my kids, saying “I thought you said you would never do that to your kids”. Remember when as kids we were the remote control to the TV? I could be outside playing and my parents would call me into the house to turn the TV or get them a glass of water. And in fact I replied, “i’m never gonna do that to my kids”. Well I call my kids to find the remote, bring me some water, take my glass back in the kitchen…and just like me they say “I will never do that to my kids”. Just wait and see I said…I can so relate to this I to had a parenting philosophy pre-children and have kept to maybe 35% of it. When in reality live and learn is the only true philosophy when it comes to raising children.LOL!! Good job lady, keep up the good work!


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