Imagine that someone has dropped you--plop!--into the middle of us. Here's what you'll probably think:
My lord. Those children are riding roughshod over that woman!
At least, that's what I imagine people think, in my slightly embarassed and defensive imaginings. And uh, I guess it's sorta true. But when I start hearing you say that, in my head, then I end up acting like the Mama I don't like. The one who expects her children to be the Textbook Children Who Behave, In A Vaccum, And Are Just Like Little Grownups.
I'm really, really trying to keep remembering that those Children don't exist.
It's hard, because I think what happened is that people used to be able to pretend they existed, because back in the days when you'd get your hide tanned if you stepped out of line, kids were smarter about putting on the Nice Kid Skin around the grownups, and then doing the crazy stuff once they were alone with other kids. Which actually happened Back When--you actually had lots of time when you were just around the other kids, and could cut loose, and run around like maniacs and get all that energy out, and if you did something nutty, well, that's what kids did, and you might get a wupping but you wouldn't get sued by some other kid's parents or labeled a danger to society. But somewhere along the line, everything got all crazy. Now kids don't get smacked anymore (not that that's a bad thing, I'm kinda against the whole smacking thing myself) but they also don't get let out of an adult's sight for fear that they'll all be snatched away within the first 5 seconds that they're unsupervised. And if they mess up, well, there are worse things than getting spanked, and frankly I think the disdain of adults when you're just acting like a friggin' kid is one of them.
So. Yeah, my kids are pretty wild. Okay, they are SERIOUSLY wild. They have more energy than a nuclear power plant. Sometimes, they even (gasp) scream at each other. Or at me. And yeah, they get in trouble for it, so don't give me the fish eye if I don't spend every other second telling them to quit running around or keep their voices down. They aren't living without rules and consequences, believe me. I just don't want them to grow up with my voice in the back of their heads, telling them all the time that I got the wrong kids.