Monday, November 24, 2008

Happyhuman Report: The Good Mom

During most of my adult years I have had a low-level loathing for children. I understand that they're "little people" and therefore essential, but they're also loud and manipulative and messy...in other words, small adults with poor impulse control.

Part of my bias is due to never spending much time with children, so all I'm aware of are their most obnoxious qualities. I still haven't spent enough time with them to grow to ADORE them, but I have found myself paying attention to GOOD children -- not the blatantly spoiled ones that tend to draw the most attention -- and I've got to say that I have fallen totally in love with a few kids. Very few.

But nothing makes me happier than seeing good children whose PARENTS are good as well; the parent-child bond is something sweet and heartening to behold. During lunch today I sat next to a mother and her two sons, and even though they were rambunctious and emitted a constant spray of crumbs and powdered sugar, their mother was possibly one of the most wonderful mothers I've ever eavesdropped on.

The boys were probably aged three and four, and while the mother ordered lunch they came and sat at the table next to me. The older one was tormenting his younger sibling in this ingenious way.
OLDER: You're a baby-stick.

YOUNGER: Stop saying that!

OLDER: You're a baaaaby-stick. You're a baaaaaaby-stick. You're a monnnsssster. You're a draaaaagon.

YOUNGER: Stop it! Stop it!
The mother arrived and gradually calmed the children down using misdirection -- "Look, it's snowing!" and "Did you see your friend Ryan at school today?" They became so quiet that I managed to get back to my book, but just when Gimli was threatening to chop Saruman's head off I heard this:
MOTHER: Did you know that some people are colour blind?

OLDER: What's that?

MOTHER: Hmmm. Let's say they're looking at something that's blue -- like your cup -- they might think it's actually brown!

YOUNGER: But it's blue!

MOTHER: They see it as brown.

YOUNGER: How?

MOTHER: Maybe, if a boy with that kind of colour-blindness put on brown pants and blue socks...he'd think that both his pants AND his socks were BROWN!

OLDER: Why does he think that blue is brown?

MOTHER: He just sees it that way.

YOUNGER: How do we see?

MOTHER: Well...your eyes see things, and then they tell your brain what they see.

YOUNGER: How does that work?

MOTHER: I don't really know. When we get home we can look it up in a book.

YOUNGER: Okay.
Wow. Not only is this mother describing colour blindness in a way that her children can somewhat understand, but she's also telling them that they can learn more information about it...in a book!

It's nice to know that those kids will grow up to be curious, smart, and capable. Even if one of them is a baby-stick.

3 comments:

jj said...

but they're also loud and manipulative and messy...in other words, small adults with poor impulse control.

Me? I am always embarassed when kids in the extended family are actually found of me - but that is my general reaction to guys who think I am swell. :)

But I know what you mean. I remember what I was like as a kid and cringe when reminded of that by present day kids. :)

jj said...

but she's also telling them that they can learn more information about it...in a book!
yup. that's one of the many things my mom did for me too. :)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

A little book-learnin' goes a long way for kids!

I have infinite respect for parents who not only tolerate the endless "why" questions, but actually ENCOURAGE them!