Monday, October 10, 2005

Honors for Parental Achievement

This parenting thing, well it doesn't have a lot of opportunities for honors or even those "atta' boy" pats on the back. But, I have to pat myself on the back right now, because I have achieved something that I didn't expect to master for several years now. A skill that I thought I wouldn't be able to use at least until my kids' teenage years.

Yes, I have managed to publicly embarrass my child into silent/good behavior!

That's right. I had planned to get the "'re EMBARRASSING me!" much later in my parenting career. (I remember giving my mom that all through middle and high school.) But, somehow, I managed to already achieve that status a mere six years into this job!

Last night, we were driving back from dinner downtown and I popped in a CD of mine that really makes me "get jiggy with it." I won't admit whose greatest hits this is, although I have talked about it before, and let's just say it is juvenile and embarrassing. But, I can't help it. The music makes me want to dance.

So, back when my husband and I started dating, one of my favorite ways to embarrass him was to start a really bizarre car dance while we were driving down the freeway. It's silly, I know, but I was in my early 20s and loved to dance. And, nothing turns a guy crimson like his girlfriend bustin' a move in his CRX as you drive right past campus. (If you've read this blog for awhile, you'll know that my husband and I love to harass each other. See Exhibit A for an example.)

Well, now a decade later, you would think I'd outgrown this sophomoric behavior. I have not. My husband no longer gets that embarrassed, but I have found that my six-year-old actually does. Last night, when I was listening to that pop CD, I started doing all my token car dance moves. The robot, the cabbage patch, the Michael Jackson jerk-off move (hehehe), and my favorite that I like to call "the Malcom Jamal Warner move" (from the Cosby Show...that kid had a bizarre dance). The latter is a full front seat kind of move, arms swinging wildly.

I started to hear a quiet pleading from the back of the car that built the more I got my groove on.

"Mom...pleeeease stop doing that."

"What, honey?" (as I move into the hand motion portion of my act)

"Mom. Really. Stop... I mean it."

"You don't LIKE my dancing? Really?"
(do the shoulder snake move...yeah, yeah...that's it girl, work it!)

"Mom. If you don't stop, I am going to scream at the top of my lungs."

(Husband muffles his giggle. The child knows I despise sharp loud noises in the car.) I continued to dance, but gave up hand motions and just did my shoulders in a "Thriller"esque kind of move.

SCREEEEEEEEEAM! (high-pitched six-year-old boy scream)

A questioning look from my toddler, as if to ask, "Oh, are we screaming now? OK." Then...

SCREEEEACH! (higher-pitched 18-month-old girl scream--able to shatter the windows out of tall buildings with a single yell)

"OK. You win." (MomCat stops her car dancing with a smile.)

To many, it may seem that I conceded in the dance/scream off. But, if the truth were told, I was tired of dancing anyway. However, I now know that with a good pair of earplugs and Britney's Greatest Hits (oops, gave it away), I can embarrass my son into good behavior no matter the place or the time. OH, the POWER I now WIELD!!!


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