So, I've reached my limit of hearing the question whined at me, "But WHYYYY??"
every time I tell my kids to do or not do something. It is the reply to every request
from "Make your bed" to "Wash your hands" to "Stop giving your brother atomic
wedgies in public." I cannot for the life of me remember EVER asking my mother
WHY when she told me to do something. I had had the fear of God put into me at
a very young age, I suppose. And although we were always allowed to verbalize
our disagreements with their decisions with respect, we still almost 100% of the
time had to suck it up and do what they told us while our opinions were "duly
I guess therein lies the danger of our vowing to be "different from our parents."
We try to allow them to grow as little persons when they aren't capable of
handling that. I don't think my parents did anything really wrong with us. Oh,
don't get me wrong. I STILL have a few examples of what NOT to do when raising
kids that I learned from them. But all in all, I'm fine with the job that they did. None
of us did any real jailtime. (I'm not counting my brother's time in the brig when he
was in the Navy for peeing on his bunkmate while drunk because he was angry at the
dude for ratting him out when they went to Canada without permission.) Two of us
have college degrees (I'm NOT one of them) and one is a professional student. Three
of us are married and have kids and none of us has joined any wild cults like Hare
Krishna, the Branch Davidians, or Amway.
My kids are very polite for the most part. I'm rarely embarrassed by them in public
and I receive compliments all the time by relatives and strangers alike by how well-
mannered they are. Most of the sass I get from them is when no one else is around.
And of course, there is the whole "I'm a tough guy and can kick anyone's ass in the
whole school" crap that I have to endure with Ismail. Maybe it's my fault...okay. I'm
pretty sure it's my fault. I'm probably the most sarcastic, cynical and sassy mother
alive in Egypt. So admittedly I've brought a lot of this on myself. When I ask my kids
stuff like "DO YOU WANT ME TO BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOU?" and they respond
with, "Sure. I'm free for an hour or so," I wonder what on Earth possessed me to keep
being the smart-mouth that I am after giving birth to the first one.
I've asked them, "What language do you speak?!" and I've been told, "Hindi." I've asked
what they're doing and been told, "Jumping up and down like an idiot." And I've even
been told, "Not mine," when I've asked, "Do you see how this behavior can be a problem?"
Grrrrr. Yes, it's true. They learn by example. Dammitman. I wish that they could actually
follow directions and do the whole "do as I say, not as I do" thing. But unfortunately, it
ain't happening. So, anyway, I'm going back to basics as of this morning and I've started
with the simple response my mother always had for the "But whyyyyyyyyyyy?" question
that we rarely dared ask when I was a kid, "BECAUSE I SAID SO, THAT'S WHY!"