Friday, January 13, 2012

My Perfect Man

I'm a teacher and I'm a firm believer in training and though sometimes my husband and I argue about Noah's readiness to learn certain things, for the most part, I win.  I will admit that in terms of parenting, I'm the tougher, stricter one...the enforcer.  And I like challenging Noah instead of just thinking that he's too young to learn or do certain things by himself. I'm sure that if you're a parent reading this, more than anyone else you would agree that early socialization is something you don't take lightly and that whoever said that if you wanted to start changing the world, that you need to start with mothers (or parents), could not have been more spot on!  

Well, great news!!  I am happy to report that I think I am on my way to creating a perfect man! It took years of training, 4 to be exact, but given the actual and potential benefits, I’d say I’m highly motivated to continue with this wise investment.

But everyone knows that parenting is not only about teaching but also about learning from the same children you are training.  This is also part of what's rewarding about parenting; that you find yourself learning and gaining fresh insights as you watch your children develop.  So here are a few entertaining, but no less valuable recent lessons from my 4-year old Noah.    

I'd like to call the attention of men, (if there are, in fact, males out there reading this blog) especially husbands. Listen up.  There are a few priceless lessons here to be learned from my preschooler as I illustrate why I think he’s my perfect man…

1.  He does not let anger get in the way of his love and its expression.

One morning as we were rushing (again) on our way to school, Noah decided at the last minute that he wanted to change jackets.  I made my utter disapproval known to him by ranting and giving him a long sermon.  But as my Mom always used to tell me, you’d never win arguing with a child so don’t waste your energy.  It was either a change in outerwear or skip school.  Suffice it to say that even after close to ten minutes, I was still fuming mad because obviously I did not get my way.  We were already in the car, driving to school, but I was still arguing with Noah, telling him how disappointed I was with his behavior and then I made it clear that I did not want to hear a word from him.  ‘Do NOT talk to me!’, I exclaimed firmly.

He was quiet for a while.  We both were.  Then after two minutes of complete silence and compliance, Noah spoke in a semi-angry and firm voice: “Mo---meeeh!.....I love you!!...Even if I’m angry, I still love you!”

Right then, he melted my heart and I wanted to say, “You had me at Mommy…you had me at Mommy”, a la Dorothy Boyd in Jerry McGuire.

Lesson:  Never let your anger get in the way of you saying I love you.  'I love you' is always powerful as long as you mean it.

2.  He believes that burning resentments are not meant to linger overnight.

Nothing could be worse than making Noah upset and bringing him to tears when it's close to bed time, unless of course you're not a fan of sleep.  This little man will refuse to go to bed when he knows Mommy is upset with him and will insist that he at least gets a hug.  With sad, begging eyes, he will say, "I want Mommy to hug me" and will keep following me around the house until I give in and hold him.  He knows that with just one hug, everything is better, he feels comforted and loved and I bet, unconsciously he also knows that my hugging him also drives some, if not all, of my anger away.  

Lesson:  Make it known that she makes such a difference.  Her hug, her voice, her touch, have so much power that you can't be without them and that you can't bear the thought of being without her love, even if it's just for a few hours overnight.

3.  He knows who the REAL master of the throne is.

If there is anything that proves that training makes a universe of difference, this is it. When Noah uses the toilet, he remembers to clean up, making sure that 'if he sprinkles when he tinkles', that he does wipe the seat. What's more, he always remembers to place the seat down once he's done. Pretty freakin' awesome, if you asked me! 

Lesson:  It's all self-explanatory, isn't it?

4.  He makes me feel like I'm the world to him.      

When he comes home after going out with his Dad, the first thing he shouts out is, 'Mommy, I'm home!' and then goes around the house to look for me.  Once he sees me, his eyes light up, he then rushes to me and gives me a tight hug as if we've been parted for a hundred years.  Sometimes the icing on the cake is when he adds an "I missed you, Mommy" to the hug.    

Lesson:  Small, everyday gestures count and they do add up.  Oprah Winfrey has always highlighted her realization that one thing she knows for sure is that everyone on this earth has the need to be seen, to matter.  Make those you love feel that you see them, REALLY see them, every chance you get.

5.  He is a gentleman.

This mostly happens on weekends when all three of us go out.  On those days, it is my husband who buckles Noah up and checks on the car seat, so I normally just head for the front passenger seat.  Noah would then insist that he opens the door for me like a perfect gentleman.  He only started doing this within the past six months, I think after hearing me ask his father one night why he no longer consistently does it for me.  I guess the boy was challenged enough by it and decided to respond.

Lesson:  Chivalry never gets old.  There is nothing on any contract that says that a man should only open car doors for the woman during the first few months of dating.  Actually if anything, the contract has a fine print stating it's a lifetime commitment and a wise investment that can guarantee exponential returns somewhere along the way.  It's a loving and sexy gesture, if you asked me!

6.  Last but certainly not the least...He speaks the 'TRUTH'.
One day, Noah found me browsing through pictures and then I muttered, "I'm so fat...Am I not so fat, Noah?"  He then responded with much conviction and (seeming) honesty, "You're not fat Mommy...not to me!"  I gave the boy a tight hug, rewarding him for his undeniable keenness...(and impeccable taste)!!

Lesson:  The lesson here is for the mothers.  Training is key!!  As for the men / fathers, go back to your contract.  This one's on the fine print too!

There you have it, clear illustrations of the perfect man in the making.  Let me report back to you in about 10 years to see just how much had already been undone.  After all, our husbands were once children too, weren't they? **deep sigh**