The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Friday, October 07, 2005
My four sons
They say that having kids changes you forever. I can say that's definitely true. In some ways, you are changed for the better. In other ways, you are changed for the worse.

My mother warned me about having more than one child. She said that having two children wasn't twice the fun, it was half the fun. I have to disagree. It WAS twice the fun, but it was also twice the work. Imagine what my life was like with FOUR sons. It was a regular carnival side show - complete with oddities, oddballs, clowns, and juggling. Not for one moment could I relax. I understand now why lionesses are more dangerous than lions. They have kids to look after!

Having children is like having a mirror held up to yourself. They show you the best of what you are, and the worst. When a child has an accomplishment, you are so proud as a parent, because you think: they got that from me. But when a child fails or gets into trouble or has behavioral problems, you blame that on their father's side of the family. This way of dealing with a child's shortcomings has been handed down for generations, like a prized family recipe.

Junior is a talented artist or musician. Hey - he got that from ME!

Junior gets angry easily and lashes out at people with his short temper. Well... he obviously got that from his FATHER's side of the family.

This is how it works in many households.

My four sons the last time they were all together in the same room

There was never a dull moment, raising four sons. If one wasn't breaking a bone, another was in trouble at school. If one wasn't jumping off the neighbor's roof, another one was trying to paddle across the lake in the middle of a gale force storm. I thank the Powers that Be every day that they all made it to adulthood, even though our house was often like a zoo.

Everyone loves children when they're little - well, almost everyone (W C Fields being a notable exception). When children are little, parenthood is a breeze. Your children look up to you with admiration and awe. They depend on you for everything. It's easy to discipline them by removing toys from their play circle and demanding apologies on behalf of a sibling. Kisses can take the sting out of scrapes. They are eager to learn, and love your company.

Children are more difficult to love as they get older and start asserting their independence. They test everything you've ever taught them (sometimes with disastrous results.) They don't share their thoughts with you as often and do more things behind your back. They laugh at you if you try to take privileges away in order to punish them for household infractions and do the forbidden thing any way. It gets to a point where you have to hire a guard 24/7 in order to enforce being grounded or removing phone privileges. There were days I hoped they would run off and join the circus.

But then, a miraculous thing happens. They grow up. They start being responsible. They learn that Mom isn't going to bail them out all of the time and that they'll have to take their lumps if they make bad decisions. They enjoy your company, and you enjoy theirs. You can carry on deep and meaningful conversations. They become... dare I say it? Better than when they were little kids.

posted by Melanie O. at 4:46 PM -
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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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