Monday, December 16, 2013

The Oops Side of Parenting

No matter what anyone tells you, parenting is always a work in progress.  You're always learning to be a parent; there's never any sense of  'course completion'.  Even when your kids are adults, there's still something new that comes along.  No matter how much a person prepares to be a parent, things happen that were not covered in the manual.  It would be nice in those situations if the Super Nanny was always. right there over your shoulder to whisper the best answer, or if Grandpa Walton was there to dispense homey advice.  I'd even settle for my mother to step in with an answer or two. No such luck.  Things happen, and Larry and I have to decide how we are going to handle it right there.  It's not always easy to think in these situations, when you're in panic mode.  Sometimes it seems easier just to say "Oops," and try your best to clean up.

Larry and I were initially vigilant about what sorts of television shows and movies we watched, just in case our boy's young brain became traumatized.  We've gotten a bit lazy these days, but we never worried about The Big Bang Theory.  Larry and I felt that we could watch the show with Zane in the room because most of the content was relatively benign. The content that was occasionally a bit racy, well, Zane never seemed to notice it at all. He only looks at the screen when Sheldon is talking; otherwise he wasn't in the least bit interested.  He usually plays with his cars or Legos at the other end of the room, or buries himself in his Boy Nest watching episodes of Chima or Monster Bug Wars.  He was oblivious, we thought.

We were watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory the other night, and Zane turned to my husband.

"Why won't Penny have sex with Leonard?'

Oops.

I cringed where I was.  Larry's eyes grew very large. He would not look at me, because Rule #7 of parenting is never show any signs of panic.  The man had to suck it up and wing it.

"Uh...she had some other stuff to do."

"Ok".  Zane went back to doing whatever he was doing, and the moment seemed to have passed. 

Zane did not ask Larry what sex was, thank goodness. But that doesn't matter.  What matters is that something we should have been watching for slipped through the cracks.  Larry and I let our guard down a little too much.  We made a mistake.  It would be easy to completely overcompensate for that brief failure and do something crazy like send him off to a monastery to be raised in a completely isolated and hermetically sealed existence.  But the best way to learn is to get back on the horse, and that is what Larry and I will do.  We could flail at ourselves and wallow in guilt about it, but that never solves any problem. 

We made a mistake, and we will deal with it.   There will probably be many more "Oops" moments to come. I hope that we do better with the next one. 





7 comments:

  1. Parents have it harder today as TV and life is more explicit than when the girls grew up. My oldest grandson is going to be 5 soon and we know from experience he is always watching and listening. We have a Oops moment or two in our future.

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  2. Sometimes the things you try to filter out can't be filtered out because of family....for example, when a niece or nephew have children out of wedlock and your child asks ...... "when did they get married to have babies and why didn't we go to the wedding?" Answering to the age of the child is what I'm trying to do....and if they drop the subject after the answer, then all the better. Now my big issue is that Sean is 11 (almost 12) and is AWARE. Please pray for me!!!!

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  3. Uh oh. I know I am terrible at this. I do monitor what my kids watch, but I don't really monitor it ALL THE TIME, you know? Like if I decide a show or a song is safe, I immediately tune it out forever. Not long ago I caught my kid singing along to "Take a Dirty Picture for Me." He knew all the words. Clearly it was not my finest moment.

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  4. Oh sweet Tina...is it wrong that I am going to tell you that I don't count that as a mistake...well, I am telling you anyway! ;) xoxox

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    1. Okay. I'll go with your answer--less guilt!

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  5. I'm with Andrea! Why is it wrong to be living in a world where people have sex?

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    1. It wasn't that people were having sex, it's that Zane probably isn't ready to have that discussion yet. He still thinks that girls are icky.

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