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!