Do you ever have parenting moments where you are caught out thinking the worst of your kids?
I guess I'm a bit of a helicopter parent in that we have family rules that are standard, and I expect them to be followed. And lately, if they're not, I'm too quick to assume the kids are doing the wrong thing.
Like the other day.
We parked at the shopping centre, when Mr 10 got out and starting running off in the opposite direction to the way we planned to go.
Now our family rules include that: A. We don't run in shopping centre carparks, and B. We wait until everyone is ready and we walk off together. So I was pretty damn snarky and was about to call Chase back, when I saw exactly why he was running.
Nearby, was a lightly-built young woman with a toddler, vainly trying to stop her shopping trolley from tipping over as she pushed it over a gutter.
Chasse was by her side in seconds, manfully righting the trolley and setting her on her way.
"You're welcome," he shouted over his shoulder, as he ran back to me.
My heart melted a little bit right then.
Then just this morning we were trying on school shoes again (don't ask), when something clearly caught his eye and he took off.
Now Chase does get distracted easily, and of course, the first thing I thought was that he'd spotted something far more interesting than school shoes.
And so he had.
But it wasn't an expensive toy, new D-Mag, or a mate as I'd expected. It was a lady in a mobility scooter who was having trouble turning into one of the aisles. (I swear department stores are making the aisles smaller and more difficult to manouvre through than ever before).
"Need some help?" my son asked the old lady.
She clearly did, and with a smile, she allowed him to help her on her way.
"Sorry Mum, I just like to help people out," Chase said when he came back.
Lucky none of his mates were around, because I had to hug him, right there and then.
And just recently, we were clattering down the stairs and into the car for school, when Harmonie suddenly stopped in her tracks.
"Come on kids, we're late," I began, thinking she'd forgotten something or suddenly needed to go to the loo.
"Wait Mum, there's something little here and it's alive!"
She was right!
My little wildlife warrior had found an abandoned baby possum, all pink and tiny and mewling for its mother. A few ants had started crawling on it, and kind-hearted Miss 8 burst into tears.
"Mum I don't want it to die. We can't let it die! What can we do?"
I didn't know, but I was pretty sure our local vet would have a good idea.
I dispatched H. to find a pillow case - luckily the washing basket was handy. Ahem.
Then, C. gently popped the wee possum into the pillow case and held it next to his chest. I seemed to remember Bondi Vet's Dr Chris Brown cuddling a possum to his chest for body heat, (insert sigh ...), so I figured it would be okay.
We took the possum to the vet, where we told a wildlife carer would take it home and mother it. The kids were allowed to say goodbye to it, although Harmonie is still upset she wasn't able to look after it herself!
It's a cliche, but it's special moments like these that make all the sleepless nights, wiping of bums, cleaning up of sick, and de-lousing of hair worthwhile, isn't it?
I just wish I wasn't so quick to jump to the wrong conclusion.
It's nice to be reminded that my kids are great.
Sometimes I lose track of the fact that I'm actually doing quite a good job of raising them, and I just have to have faith in that. And them.
And now for today's Mental Health Kindness Giveaway.
Since this post has a parenting theme, I thought I'd offer up a gift pack of children's books from New Frontier Publishing.
This very generous prize features four books from New Frontier's Little Treasures range, which aim to uplift and inspire children - and their parents.
Focussing on international themes like love, family, environment and self-worth, the giveaway includes a copy each of Peter Carnavas's books:
Last Tree in the City
Sarah's Heavy Heart
The Important Things
These books are also fitting for my Mental Health Kindness Giveaways (giveaway #2 is here), because they would be helpful for children struggling to deal with death, anxiety, fear, friendship and love.
The last one, about a mother and son moving on after his Dad has died, is particularly poignant.
Each book is valued at $14.95, and they are all aimed at ages 4-6 years.
To enter, check you are following this blog and then leave a comment below sharing one of your favourite moments with children. You don't have to be a parent; you can be an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or good friend to a child who you think would love these picture books.
Entries will close on October 25, 2012.