At the grocery store.
In the changeroom at the pool.
When they walk right into your legs.
In my own home.
Late at night.
Why won’t I apologize any more?
Because I’m NOT sorry. I’m just not. My kids are tiny little humans learning how to function in a society where the rules are constantly changing along with customs and trends on what is OK and not OK for my kid to do, be, say, wear etc. And I’m over it.
My kids don’t like grocery shopping. Or being strapped into a shopping cart by their waists. They don’t like waiting in line and they REALLY don’t like it when I tell them “no” every time they ask for something off the shelves. They might scream. They might cry. They might throw a fit right here, right now in the middle of the aisle with egg carton casualties. Will any of that negate my family’s need for food? Will I up and walk out to teach them a lesson? No, I will not. Because all that would teach them is that fits get them what they want. And that’s not my style.
Yes, my 4 year old boy shakes his penis around in between taking off his swimsuit and putting on his clothes. So what? Why are you watching us? He is a little kid, exploring and enjoying his body in a harmless way. Of course I teach him what’s appropriate and what isn’t, but is that going to make a floppy appendage any less interesting any time soon? No, I don’t think it is.
My kids are approximately 2 & 3 feet tall, respectively. If one of them walks into your legs it’s not because they are rude, poorly parented or ignorant children, it’s because they ARE children. They see a whole other world than you and I do and they might just accidentally miss something like your boring khaki pants and accidentally walk into them. Were you looking at the ground while you walked? Well they weren’t looking at the sky. It was accident, but no one needs to be sorry, especially not my kid, not far walking.
It might be chaotic, and it might not look like your home, but at our house, there is a sense of order. My kids know the rules. We have the same rules every day. It’s how we develop trust. It’s how I keep from going crazy. But I’m not going to apologize for the things my kids do in their own space, in their comfort zone. Whether they choose to be naked, wear every piece of clothing they own at once, or just wear an Easter basket on their head, it’s OK by me. Because in my own home, they are safe. And they know what that means. So nudity and weirdness, dance parties and sing-alongs, are A-OK.
If you are around my children and it’s late at night, chances are you are or are part of the disturbance that is keeping them from being in bed. We have strict bedtime rules and guidelines in my house, because it makes for a predictable environment. If you are here, and they are wild, and it’s past their bedtime but they just won’t go to sleep, it’s probably because you’re here. That doesn’t mean I want you to leave, but I’m not going to be sorry for their behaviour when they are being ripped out of their routine to the point of being too uncomfortable to sleep. I might apologize to them, but not to you.
Kids are learning. In everything they do. And constantly apologizing for them and in front of them is only going to teach them that every they do and say needs to be either justified or apologized for. I do not want my kids to be sorry for the space they take up, the sounds they make, for their bodies or their fascination with their bodies. I don’t want my kids to be ashamed of who they are, but apoloizing for everything they do all the time, will make them feel like those things are somehow wrong, or bad, or shameful. And they just are not.
They are just tiny little people, who don’t know the rules yet. So I will teach them the rules.
Nowhere in my rulebook does it say to apologize for having energy, enthusiasim, a body, a voice or an opinion.
There are things I will apologize for, even on my children’s behalf, but to list them now would utterly defeat the purpose of writing this, so instead, I have compiled a list of more things I will NOT apologize for:
1. How slow they walk.
2. How fast they run.
3. Their honesty.
4. Their timidness.
5. Their volume.
6. Their curiosity.
7. The toys they left on the floor when they were having fun.
8. Their interest in you.
9. Their disinterest in you.
10. How dirty they are.
11. For wearing the same shirt all week.
12. For eating a lot.
13. For not eating a lot.
14. For asking you for something.
15. For hugging you because she thought your legs were mine.
16. For crying because she realized those were not my legs.
I could go on. I do go on. I will continue to come up with things to NOT be sorry for as my children continue to live their lives and learn and grow and that knee jerk reaction to say “sorry” for something they nor I should be sorry for.
Because I don’t want them to be sorry, not to you, not to me, for becoming their own people while exploring and discovering this amazing world in which they are lucky enough to live in.
I hope you’ll do the same.