Did you ever say, "My kid is never going to act like that!" And did you ever realize that once you had a child that, yes, sometimes your child does act like that?
My husband and I frequently stated pre-baby that our child was going to be well-behaved and we would never give them our (fill in the blank with cell phone, remote, etc.) to play with simply because they demanded it. As first-time parents, we naively believed our statements to be true.
First-time parents-to-be have many lofty goals in mind for their unborn baby. They still have stars in their eyes and are void of the dark circles under their eyes from frequent sleep deprivation. And they think their child is going to be a little obedient soldier that follows marching orders. First-time parents also believe that they will "do things different" and not make the "same mistakes" that others make.
Let me tell you first hand, that is not true. I found my self thinking of all the thinks my hubby and I said that we would never do the other night when my daughter was having a particularly fussy night and within a matter of 20 minutes, she had played with our cell phone, iPod, and tv remote.
All things we poo-pooed when we observed other parents use these adult essentials as pacifiers for cranky kids. I particularly remember a parent giving her child her cell phone to play with, only to repeatedly yell at the kid for playing with it. Our daughter has not called china or ordered x-rated movies on-demand, but there will be a day when she becomes more agile with her hand movements that we may find ourselves paying for our actions-literally and figuratively.
I also remember a friend's baby that was frequently whiny and demanding (uncommon, right?) and would throw multiple tantrums on any given night. My husband and I were surprised that this particular friend who was always upbeat and never complained would have a child that was, well, the opposite. Of course, our baby would never do that. Guess what? Our little one has perfected tantrums and screams when she does not get her way. From our perspective, because she is our lovely little sweetheart, we sometimes find her little tantrums cute and can't help but laugh. I am sure to the rest of the lucky audience the ear-piercing squeal is anything but cute, so we try to curtail the behavior as best we can so we don't create a little monster.
Speaking of little monsters, there is one type of behavior that we absolutely will stand our ground on and it is gross misbehavior when we are a guest in someone's house. We went to two parties this weekend, and at one party, the children were wonderful.They said "please" and "thank you", and most importantly to my husband and I, they were gentle around our baby since she was much younger than they were. And then there was the second party. At this party, the children acted as though they were wild monkeys escaped from the zoo - running around the house, jumping on the furniture, and basically had a blatant disregard for any type of acceptable indoor behavior. Although the kids were slightly older, I couldn't really blame the kids for pushing their limits to see what they could get away with. It was the parents I glared and grimaced at because they would not "parent" their kids. A few comments were made by other parents here and there, ("Billy, that's not nice. Bobby, no running in the house.") but without the children's own parents to back up the discipline, the reprimands were in vain. After my daughter, who was with us on the sidelines, got knocked over for the third time and almost kicked in the faced, we left the "fun" house.
On the way home, my husband and I discussed what we felt was acceptable behavior for our child both at someone else's house and in our own home. We did not yet have any specific house rules set since our daughter is still so young, but we realized that we needed to set guidelines now to provide an acceptable behavioral model for the future. After all, dirty footprints are not an attractive accessory on anyone's furniture.