Saturday, November 22, 2008

Normal Is As Normal Does

I always wonder whether certain things are normal, and having kids has only heightened this curiosity. Is it normal, for instance, that Addy sometimes has tantrums because I don't pour her juice into the right cup- or even because I am not pouring it at the desired end of the kitchen counter? Is it normal that Eli will resort to biting his own hands, kind of hard, after having remote controls, DVD cases, and other people's hands removed from his jaws? Is it normal that I am sometimes loathe to let anybody change clothes one more time until I have the laundry all put away, just so that for one glorious minute all the hampers are empty?

Normal is such a relative term, I realize. In some cultures, for instance, what I would consider to be borderline child abuse or neglect is just part of how they raise their kids. While it may not be ideal, I imagine that those kids are probably not as traumatized by such treatment as kids in our society would be simply because they see it as normative. Another example would be that in many cultures, the expectation that romance, falling in love, and sexual passion will lead up to and be present in marriage simply does not exist. Marriages are like business partnerships, formed for financial security and to create a stable environment in which to raise children. And frankly, there are days when our marriage feels slightly like this: both of us handling one crisis or another, brushing teeth and mopping spills and pasting on diaper cream, then finally collapsing in the living room and completing the obligatory performance review to see how we might improve the system the next day.

But I guess it's the littler, less significant aspects of my life that I wonder about the most. Is it normal that Jim and I rarely go to bed at the same time because once in bed, no matter how tired we previously were, one or the other of us will inevitably not be able to shut up? Is it normal that Addy wants to wear her Tinkerbell costume over her regular clothes every single day- and is it okay that I allow this? Is it weird that I have such frequent dreams about being in high school? Does this happen to other people? Is it bad that when grocery shopping, I often choose kids' snacks based solely on whether or not they look like they'll be messy?

And lastly, and most importantly, is it abnormal that I really do not like Thanksgiving food very much? Especially the yams with marshmallows... And the JELLO SALADS! So... Many... Jello salads!

15 comments:

Jess said...

I'm sure you didn't actually want answers, but the only one I find abnormal is the Thanksgiving food. How Unamerican of you!! :P

Normal is relative (and boring), for sure!!

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

Um, if the things you described are abnormal, you and I are in the same weird boat.

How dare I pour the juice with my left hand without dancing around in a circle and tapping my head first?! HOW DARE I!?

I find it weird you don't like mashed potatoes. Oh my word, the glorious white fluffy mounds of GAH. :)

Jess said...

I think this is normal. And I am with on Thanksgiving. I like turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, and I don't mind stuffing. But all the other side dishes... ick. I even hate pumpkin pie.

kelli said...

I wouldn't let her wear her Tinkerbell costume every day- is it normal that my five year old knows the meaning of the phrase "street clothes"? I think that's just my hangup. :)

But oh, the Thanksgiving love! I don't really like turkey, but the side dishes! Mashed potatoes and gravy and dressing and yes, jello salad! I'm gaining weight just thinking about it....

Sara said...

I think all of those things are pretty normal. I had a friend when we were about 4 years old who wore his "batman" costume for almost a year. But since part of it was black sweats and a batman t-shirt it had to be laundered all the time. At least you aren't in that boat and she wears it over her normal clothes.

I like Thanksgiving food (stuffing & mashed potatoes mostly), but we don't really do jello salads or marshmallows on yams. My Dad's family from Tennessee sure did though, and it was quite an experience.

SAGE said...

Girl... normal is just a setting on your dryer

Shelly Overlook said...

I don't like Thanksgiving food very much either! All I really like is mashed potatoes and gravy, but then only if the gravy is yummy and homemade. The rest of typical Thanksgiving fare? Eh.

Chelle said...

In my experience, once you become a parent, all bets are off when it comes to the definition of "normal". Sounds like your doing fine to me :)

CAQuincy said...

Love this post! I struggle with normalcy vs. "just let it GO and ENJOY them as they are." So tough.

I've never had to experience jello salad. But I do love most other Turkey Day foods.

Swistle said...

Ha ha ha! I loved this.

Erin said...

OMG. I love this post. LOVE IT.

I wonder these things day-in-day-out. All those things would be normal if you ask me. Except the talking too much at bedtime part. I cannot get TWO WORDS out of my husband once he climbs in bed. He's OUT. Which makes me crazy with envy because I am AWAKE AWAKE AWAKE.

Shelly said...

ALL NORMAL. And I sometimes discourage my hubby from coming to bed with me because he talks non-stop and then falls dead asleep and I lay there awake, because he's gotten me thinking about stuff. HATE!

Mommy Daisy said...

Normal is definitely relative...and over rated.

Aww man, I love Thanksgiving food. Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie...what's not to love? Maybe you're just missing out on the good stuff. We don't do yams with marshmallows for Thanksgiving (well, Matt's aunt might make them, but we go for other options). And jello salads? Not at our tables. Ick. Those two words should not go together.

Jill said...

Gah the high school dreams! I can always tell I must be anxious about something when I wake up from yet another dream about being back at high school, after having graduated college, because I just need to take one more class.

Astarte said...

Egad, Jello Salad Surprise. GROSS. Just yesterday I was at a church fundraiser and had to choose between about five different jello concoctions - I took the least-offensive looking one, and ended up with not orange creme, but peach jello with coconut, mandarin oranges and PEANUTS. WTF?!?!

I think you're totally normal. I myself dream about hs and, lately, college, frequently. There's nothing wrong with you, or your kids. They're just seeing what they can get out of you, and I think too that when they envision something, it's almost impossible for them to easily accept any deviation from their vision, since they don't get that there are many roads to the same solution (ie, it doesn't matter how the juice gets to your mouth, it will still taste the same, etc).