The way that Teddy says “remember your life” promise is, by far, one of the cutest things that you could ever hear a 4.75 year old say. He is still developing an articulate speech pattern so it really sounds more like “bremember jour life promisssssssss” and yes he carries the word promise out for just a bit. Too cute!
But I have to tell you and I am very ashamed to admit the reason why that little statement is like a dagger into my heart. Oh it is cute and it does bring a smile to my face every time that I hear it. But that smile only comes to surface after I choke back the stabbing pain of remembrance!
Back some time ago when Little Ted was still in diapers I “lost it” for just a second. Just a little tick of the clock and my frustration got the best of me. I responded to that frustration and my response is probably a moment that will haunt me for ever. I realize that is a mighty bold statement but some 3 years later the pain that runs through my heart is as real as it gets . . . . . “Bremember jour life promissssss” OUCH! (see what I mean) –
I am not looking for sympathy here but am reaching out to those of you who have had to deal with potty training and/or the constant changing of a child’s diaper. I really do not remember all of the circumstance around this particular moment of regret expect that I remember the moment. “Daddy, I went poopy” …. …. …. smack on the bottom. Yes, I did – I gave Ted a smack on the bottom.
A little history – “Teddy, in 10 minutes we have to go to Music Class would you like to try to go in the potty ….. No daddy; Teddy, in 5 minutes we have to go to Music Class, would you like to try to go in the potty …. No daddy. Teddy, 3 minutes ….. No daddy; Teddy, 1 minute …. No daddy ……… Teddy, it is time to go to Music Class, “Daddy, I went poopy” …….. well, you know what happened.
I will never be able to take that moment back even though I wish I could. I will never be able to erase the events that unfolded that morning but I can make sure that they never happen again. And that is where the cutest of all 4.75 year old statements comes into my life.
Maybe a year or so after that moment I found myself reading a great book that I think every parent HAS to read: http://www.parkinglotrules.com/ I am not going to spoil the book for you but I am going to tell you one that one of the Parking Lot Rules is “Make Life Promises and Keep Them” – As I read that chapter of the book I decided that I was going to make my kids a Life Promise and that I was going to let them decide what that promise was to be.
I talked with Teddy about this first and he wasted no time in telling me that my Life Promise to him had to be to never: smack, pop, spank, hit, etc… etc… etc… – He remembered that moment as much as I did. When he mentioned that fateful smack my heart dropped, so right then and there I made Teddy the Life Promise that he asked me to make!
Present day reality – Am I against parents taking to the rod? Nope. Should kids be spanked? Yup. Should my kids be spanked? Nope. I obviously do not “spank” well and I created an awful memory for myself and Teddy by trying to learn how.
Today “bremember jour life promisssss” eventually brings a smile to my face when Teddy says it because I know that we have connected in that promise. All it takes is the threat of a “hand pop” or the threat of a spanking to bring those words to his lips – and when they come ……. Ouch! Smiles! And then the statement – Yes, I do.