Thursday, October 11, 2007

How do they know when they're supposed to behave?

These little creatures who live with me, who were made from bits and pieces of me, amaze me every day. Especially since we have two now, it's like a socioloty experiment every day. Luckily the Little Man takes good care of his little Empress, as long as she's not trying to take one of his comic books that is.
What interests me most, at the moment, is how they act when we're down to one parent. Both SM and I have been traveling a bit lately. He's the one out of town at the moment, and the kids have been phenomenal.
It's like they have some sort of radar that says: OK - one of the parent's is gone, if we drive this one mad there's no one to turn to. Better not push it.
They're eating dinner properly - it's a rare occurrence. One time SM was gone, I took the kids out to dinner. By myself. They didn't do one bad thing. The Empress watched the other kids, who were running around like their hair was on fire, and the Little Man just sat down at the table in the play area and read a book. I almost had a heart attack (ok, I just cried a little cuz they were so great, but still...)!
They took baths and got ready for bed without a fight. The Little Man even negotiated his bath for tomorrow without too much hassle and then just hung out in the bathroom with us while the Empress bathed. They got their pjs on together and then we hung out and watched a little Curious George. (sidenote: SM has the Empress doing a monkey imitation that is HI-larious! so we got a little of that before bed too) :O)
The morning was a weird one, we were running late. The Little Man had a trip to the symphony today and was on the verge of panic when he saw the "nice" clothes I got out for him, but we talked it through. He wore jeans today for the first time since he was like 3 mos. old (stunning fear of all buttons, snaps and zippers) and a lovely Gram-given sweater. THEN there was near-crisis surrounding not having time to eat breakfast. After I talked with him about it though, he was perfectly fine, put on his shoes (on the right feet) and even helped the Empress with her cereal bar wrapper.
/end ramble
It's strange... but I really think they have some sort of sixth-sense that tells them when the environment is not "normal" it results in "abnormal" (good) behavior.
I wonder if it's the opposite for single parents. Do the kid(s) understand that when there are more parents/caretakers/family members present they switch to "abnormal" behavior? Or are they totally aware of the fact that they're "down one" to start with and end up with pretty good behavior normally. Or am I just a well-off white mom whose situation is so far from a single-mom's situation that there's no connection whatsoever?
I suppose it's a little bit of everything, as usual.

until next time...
how's your sociology experiment going?

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