Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm Being Totally Serious

Sorry, this is going to be a post about a post (lame).  First I have to say that I cringe every time I read the title for my last post.  Then I double cringe when I think about changing it, like it matters. Secondly, I loved all the comments from that post (and am surprised everyone didn't just roll their eyes when they read the title and run in the opposite direction).

The first thing I need to say is that I TOTALLY  believe in teasing kids.  It is one of the dominant features of our parenting style.  I mean, to the point that sometimes even I think we're going a little overboard.  

We constantly tell our kids things that are not true with perfectly straight faces.  It's entirely possible that I have answered their inquiries as to why they shouldn't do something with a response very much like the Polish warnings to their children, that a monster will grab them if they do.  I dish out punishments like "If you do it again you will have to go up and down the stairs carrying a stack of heavy books all night long instead of sleeping."

But I don't think those things are wrong.  

I love saying dumb stuff to my kids, and spend a good deal of time doing it.  It really is a very important part of who I am and our relationship with each other.  When my kids make an innocent mistake I give them a disappointed look and a shake of the head and tell them they are "a bad, bad boy/girl."  Is that funny?  Most likely not, but they totally get it.  They know I'm kidding, and that I mean, "Don't worry, it was just an accident!"

So why do I dislike it when Poles and especially Greg's mother say(s) these very same kind of things?  Because they/she mean(s) for the kids to believe them.  There is no twinkle in her/their eye.  And they/she are/is not sarcastic by nature/naturally. (this paragraph comprises the humor/funny part/section of the post/entry)

People who know me know that I generally say exactly the opposite of what I mean.  It's kind of dumb, but it's how I am.  I've known for a while that I'm sarcastic, but I didn't really know what it meant until we were visiting my sister two years ago and she said to me (about Greg after giggling at nearly everything he says--because he's hilarious)), "He never says what he means, does he?"  I was dumbstruck.  He always says just exactly what he means and is very open.  It took a while for me to get that she means that he's sarcastic.  And that that means that you say what you don't mean as if it's what you do mean.

And that's how we are.  And we're like that with our kids.   And these days our kids are that way, too.

So I suppose you could say I have a double standard.  I can do it, but they can't.  But I'm pretty sure most of you would know what I meant if you heard it (and understood Polish) -- except for David (not my David, a friend who reads my blog) who appreciates and uses the Polish technique.

To go back to that quote in my sidebar that I love, it all comes down to this (sort of and also kind of not) in reference to my sarcastic nature:

There's only one thing that I know how to do well,
And I've often been told that you only can do 
What you know how to do well,
And that's be you!  Be what you're like!  Be like yourself!

So I do!  And maybe what I need to do is just let those who are good at tricking their kids into believing things go ahead and be what they're like, too!  Live and let live, maybe.

And don't forget that I completely understand doing the Santa thing!!  The only thing that I think a very small number of people people should think harder about is the fascination with the idea that teaching kids to believe in Santa will help them to believe in the Savior in the future, in the sense of having faith.  I think that is a very wrong comparison, as we don't want our kids to expect to wake up some day to find that Christ was just neat  idea.  I do agree with many other comparisons of Christ and Santa, though.  So DON'T WORRY!  :0)


Ewelina said...

Oh, yeah I hate when babcia lies to us. I know its a lie, she knows is a lie, so why not tell the truth!?! But teasing is a different story(especially if its me teasing)!

Annette Lyon said...

I agree. There's a huge difference between saying something untrue while you know your audience gets your intent and saying something untrue hoping they won't figure it out.

In our house, daddy teases a lot with a straight face--to the point that sometimes the kids pause and look at me to confirm before daring to laugh because what if he IS serious? Kinda funny to watch.

Erin said...

My husband is constantly teasing my kids. They frequently turn to me and say, "Is Dad teasing us?" I can't decide if that is a good thing or not - am I such a stick in the mud that they know I am always serious and truthful?

I'm glad you have fun with your kids!

Heidi Ashworth said...

You're a sweetie-pie! But I do have to say that the Santa/Savior thing worked for me! I don't think I would have ever even thought of it if it hadn't been my own personal experience. People are all different. One reason why it is best if kids are raised by their natural parents is b/c they are all so much alike--what worked for you will most likely work for them (unless they are too much like your spouse and then heaven help you!--and by that I mean, generally, not YOUR husband specifically). I have a lot of confidence in mom's in raising their own kids with the techniques that they use--even if they are ones I would never use on my kids for that very reason--we all have different personalities and moms know their own kids best.

wendy said...

I think kids -at some point- develop a 6th sense for what is kidding and what is not. A little wink, or nudge from said "story teller" can help. I too love to tease and "pretend". Sometimes you just have to look at the intent........if you serioulsy mean to deceive someone (even as they grow older) that perhaps is not the best. (am I making any sense). You are right --you be who you are. My grandkids are always rolling their eyes at me.

Moody said...

I totally get it, and I totally do that with my kids too. They grow up with a good sense of humor that way, I think! My husband is fond of telling the girls, "Knock that off or I'm going to whoop your sister!" or "I'll bend you into a pretzel and pull it tight!" and everyone knows it's just funny, (especially because he makes me do all the disciplining).

Jen said...

I always tell my kids that the difference between teasing and lying, is that when you're teasing you make sure people know it isn't true if they start to believe you. If you let people continue to think something that isn't true is, then it's a lie.

And I'm definitely a big teaser. I support your opinions :)

JustRandi said...

I agree with Jen. The difference between teasing and lying is in the intent - - and the impression you are left with.

You're a great mom, Lisa. Just keep doing what you do!

Melanie J said...

I can totally sing you that song. Probably every song on that album, actually. It's still in heavy rotation at our house.

charrette said...

No one could ever doubt your sincerity. Your integrity rings through on every post, and every comment. I don't think anyone would have any trouble distinguishing your teasing and sarcasm from...deceitful lies.

I think you'd be hard-pressed to offend anybody as well.

But it's very, very healthy the ways we all employ double standards in our lives.

Anne said...

I just found my TMBG CD from 10 years ago! I was so happy!!!

Alison Wonderland said...

I get it and I do it.
In fact that's totally what I thought of when you wrote that line about the dragon coming out because I would absolutely say that. But I get the difference. And it sounds like your kids do too.

David, Jamie, and Carsyn Sibert said...

"If you do it again you will have to go up and down the stairs carrying a stack of heavy books all night long instead of sleeping."

That has got to be the best one yet! I totally hate the poles that cannot pick up sarcasim. I myself am loosing the touch. :(

By the way Jamie has a blog now. It is her craft blog.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

You are such a sweet person. I don't think you should have to justify how you are and how you are raising your kids.