I'm not a parent but....
I swore the following words would never leave my mouth and yet they have fallen out and my inner eyes have rolled themselves at myself.
"Because I said so." Ugh. I HATED that phrase as a kid. I wanted a legitimate reason why I could or couldn't do something. I'm promising these 2 little girls here and now that if I say that again, I will stop, think for a moment and come up with a more creative and honest reason why they can or can't do what they are asking. Because if not, than what they want can't be that bad.
"Have fun and be safe." those words still leave my mom's mouth when I leave her house. And several years ago I was house/teenage sitting and when the younger one left to go skateboarding, I looked at him and those words fell out of my mouth. I couldn't stop them. And my next action was a big "Noooooo!" and I called my mom to tell her what happened. She laughed. We all become our parents some day.
I'm trying really hard to not necessarily treat these little girls like equals but I want them to have a say in their choices. I used to tell my campers "You have a choice. You can do what I ask and be angry about it or you can just do what I ask." Because sometimes it has to be done the grown-up's way. But I'm also really trying to have them understand why. "Don't put your hands in the toilet. It's where poop goes and it's very gross." "You have to drink your milk. It's good for you and will help you grow strong." Of course, it doesn't always work.
Being a parent is really hard. (And cue laugh track.) But it's even tougher when you're a part-time parent and even harder than that when you're not really a parent at all. It's a very fine and fuzzy line and no one really knows where the boundary lies. I'm learning and so are Chuck and the girls. And oddly I think I'm the one struggling the most. The kids are flexible and forgiving and Chuck is patient and kind. I get lost sometimes and a tad impatient. (Again. Me? Impatient? Cue laughter.) But I adore these littles so much and their dad is the best ever and there is more good around the 4 of us than I could imagine.
I also swear to never give spit baths. You know, where you like your finger and then scrub off some dried junk from the kids face. Annnnnnnd ick. 1. Talk about passing germs. 2. That smudge really can't wait til you find a damp cloth or a sink and soap?! And 3. It's embarrassing.
Many books have been written on parenting, but no one really knows the secrets. I'm learning and taking notes.