Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Which I am an Exceptional Parent

Inspired by this post by SWMama over at Adjustment [and] Disorder I am going to tell you about a moment yesterday when I was, in my estimation, an exceptional parent. For real. But first let me just say that I don't know why it is so hard to write about the good stuff -- the things I do well, the moments when I do feel competent. Maybe the the little mommy demons that chant "You're doing it wrong! You're doing it wrong!" have had too much say lately. So, to those pesky little doubting demons I say, You can suck it! and present to you a moment in exceptional parenting.

Zoey and I are walking Gilmore to a nearby pond. Zoey is in her stroller, clutching her naked doll in one hand and stick of string cheese in the other. Gilmore prances next to us, pleased and proud, I think, to be out walking next to the stroller. Zoey is giddy, anticipating my next question. "What sound does an owl make?" I ask. Zoey bangs her doll on the stroller tray in excitement. Her tiny voice breathes, "Hooo! Hoo!" I praise her and smile a big smile even though she can't see me. "What does a dog say?" I prompt. "fffff! ffff!" She answers. I love this answer. She can't quite make a 'w' sound yet so she leaves off the 'woo' part of 'woof'. "That's right," I tell her. "You are soooo smart!" We go through all the animal sounds -- cat, duck, monkey, snake. We stop and admire flowers, grass, trees. Even an old soda can someone left in their yard. "Oh!Oh!" says Zoey. She is so amazed.

We arrive at the pond. Gilmore is released from his leash and Zoey is unbuckled from the stroller. While Gilmore squirms around on his back and sneezes Zoey and I squat in the grass looking at ants. "Oh!" Zoey says again. Her mouth is perfectly round. "Ants", I say, "Ants." Zoey toddles over to a tree and gently touches the bark. I find a stick for Gilmore and throw it a little ways into the pond. He runs, jumps, and swims after it. Zoey starts. She shakes her head and waves her hands. She does not want him in the water. "It's OK" I sooth her and I rub her back, "It's a game." Gilmore drops the stick at my feet, triumphant. He shakes his yellow coat and silver beads of water land on our arms and face. Zoey giggles. I throw the stick again. Zoey shrieks, giggles some more. Again and again. Sometimes laughing so hard she topples over into the grass. Once, she falls right into my arms. I catch her perfectly.

On the walk home we sing. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Winnie the Pooh. Sittin' in my Highchair from Gymboree. Zoey bobs her head and waver her arms. She sings out, "La la la LAAA!" We get louder and louder. I don't care who hears. As we walk towards home, the sun, gentle for August, coats our hair and skin. I imagine that we all feel . . . full. Totally ourselves. Mother. Daughter. Dog.
So that's it. My parenting at it's best. It may not seem like a big deal. But to me, it was more than just a nice day. It was a series of moments when I was a good mother. And felt like a good mother. So I'm going to say it: I AM A GOOD MOTHER. *

I would LOVE IT if you would tell me about your good parenting in the comments. Pretty pretty please!

* I don't now what the heck is going on with the font in the last part but I can't seem to fix it so I'm just gonna post . . .


  1. What a fabulous way to start my day. As for the discussion, I think I'm a good stepmother when my stepdaughter tells me I am, and I think I'm a good dawg mother when I clean Quay Girl's incisions each night with hydrogen peroxide and force pain pills down her throat! That's the best I have to offer. Hey to Zoey and Gilmore!

  2. I'm an exceptional parent when I read the same book 5 times in a row because I'm so tickled to hear my daughter say "gehn! gehn!" (which I THINK may mean "again!") and flip back to the beginning. And it doesn't even bother me as much as it probably should. I think I'm also an exceptional parent when I throw caution to the wind and just let the kid hold her own popsicle.

  3. And that was a beautiful post by the way! I can just picture little Zozo's amazement over all of those things. You are raising such a terrific, curious girl!

  4. Hmmm...you are right. We too often just look at what we are doing wrong that it's hard to remember that we are doing pretty good. Let's see. I'm a good mother when...we go to Kroger, instead of getting a regular cart, I get those kid-sized shopping carts and let them push them all over the store, bumping into everything as they go - and actually not yelling at them for not watching where they are going!

  5. Beatiful post Jos. You ARE a good mother, and I am proud of you!

  6. That was beautifully written!

    I feel like I am a good parent whenever I see Charlie smile. If she's happy, then Niki and I must be doing something right.

  7. But, if you want a moment when I know I actually engaged in good parenting . . .

    After dinner at Blue Coast Burrito with Niki and Charlie, I took Charlie home in my two-door car, rather than letting her ride home with Niki in the station wagon.

    I put the windows down, to see if she'd like it, and she loved it! When I would accelerate, she would giggle and reach toward the air rushing in at her. We drove around for an extra 20 minutes, accelerating gently off stop signs in neighborhoods, listening to Booker T's new album, Potato Hole. She smiled and giggled, and enjoyed tooling around in the motorcar, just as I always do.

    Neat memory.

  8. Great post - and congrats on the Good Stuff. I'm sure there's more than what you share here on your blog.
    Love the descriptions and the details, here. Thanks too for the explanations that only a mom can give - like "ffff" actually being the correct and age-appropriate pronounciation of woof. And of course, being the perfect parent that you are - you recognized that!
    I love that Zoey was afraid for the dog and her reaction to the "Pond Game". And that you were the observant and caring mother (as I'm sure you always are) who recognized her distress, soothed her, and turned it from worry into glee.

    You rock! And so does Zoey and Gilmore!

  9. I know you are a great Mom, but its wonderful to hear you talk about it! More more!

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  11. Anyone who's ever seen you with Zoey knows you're a great mom! I love this post. I agree about those little moments. They're what we count on, hold onto, remember, and find comfort in creating.

    When FC was small, we would walk through the forest around our house. A lot. I think I was a good mommy because she took for ev er to get anywhere. Everything had to be investigated, scrutinized, appreciated. WIth David, it was routine. We watched the same show together at lunchtime most days, and always with his tuna sandwich on wheat, cut into the most delicious shape (which everyone knows is a triangle) on his green plate, reading Box Car Children during commercials.

    These aren't amazing acts, but they made them feel safe and happy. That's pretty much the point, right?