Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 8:49 am | Fair 47º

 
 
 

Meghan Gesswein: Moms May Know Best But a 4-Year-Old Gets the Picture

A robotic response scrubs a rocket launch during countdown

One of the parenting mistakes I often make is assuming that I always know better than my kids do. They are children and I am the adult, so therefore it would make sense that I am smarter and always know what’s best for them.

This logical thinking, though, has backfired on me many times.

I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say that it has led to quite a few evenings spent washing sheets due to misjudged upset stomachs. It has led to days spent listening to hours of complaining because I didn’t allow them to wear whatever piece of clothing or pair of shoes they had picked out. And then there is the whole “Pancake Incident,” of which we are no longer allowed to speak in our household.

Looking back, one of my more entertaining parenting screw-ups happened when I was convinced that my then 4-year-old would love to see a rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. He’s a boy! Boys love rockets! I completely ignored the fact that he was both terrified of loud noises and skeptical of all things new.

So, as any good mother would, I excitedly informed him of the rocket that would be launching from Vandenberg later that night. He was immediately nervous about the entire situation. He looked at me with wide eyes full of fear and said, “But Mommy! I don’t WANT to see a rocket launch!” At this point, instead of backing down and realizing I had probably made a mistake, I thought it would be a good idea to go into further detail.

So, I did. I explained how exciting it was that a rocket would be blasting off and heading into space carrying a camera! A camera that would be used to take pictures of Earth! He thought about this for a minute and then asked me who would be in the rocket taking pictures. His little 4-year-old brain pictured a man in a space suit floating outside his bedroom window taking pictures of him.

That sounded a little creepy, even to me, so I made a point to explain that it wouldn’t be a person taking the photos, but a robot. A robot was going to — very loudly — blast off into space in a rocket and take pictures of him through his bedroom window while he slept!

Obviously that’s not exactly how I explained it, but it is exactly how he heard it.

He was utterly terrified and spent the next week in our bed. And for the next several months he made me check for picture-taking robots outside his bedroom window every night before he could go to sleep.

I’m slowly learning that I don’t always know what is best for my kids. Picture-taking robots are scary and should be avoided at all costs. As should blueberry pancakes.

— Meghan Gesswein is a stay-at-home wife and mom to three young boys. A New York transplant, she has lived in Santa Barbara for the last 14 years. She writes on her personal site, MeghanGWine, and is a staff writer and special events editor for the online magazine Curvy Girl Guide. She is often sarcastic and her work should be read with a sense of humor. And also a cocktail. You can follow her on Twitter: @MeghanGWine, friend her on Facebook or reach her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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