When things are going well. I give lots of encouragement and specific praise, I genuinely adore my children when they are being, well, adorable, and nobody has been seriously hurt yet so I must do a decent job of protecting them from harm. But being a good parent has a lot more to it. I need to stay calm when they are freaking out, in control when I don't think I can take any more whining, and act gracefully when my plans change due to illness, fatigue, or other needs.
That being said, I don't think I am in the running for "Parent of the Year" today. We went to Chik-Fil-A after ladies' Bible study with our friends Rachel and Hudson (2). Upon pulling into the parking lot I realized that I did not have my purse or any money. Rachel agreed to spot us. We went in and LB and I ordered at the counter. I thought I'd seen BB go into the kids' play area, so I was unconcerned.
After I had ordered and went to find BB, I heard a woman's voice say, "Is this one yours?" There I found my son sitting at her table enjoying their waffle fries. He had started to go outside and she went to get him. I was embarrassed, but everyone was OK so I tried to be graceful about the whole deal. We found our table and I walked away to get high chairs. When I turned to return to the table I saw LB with his hand trapped in the play-area door while a nice businessman went to help him. LB was screaming one of those silent screams where I knew he was going to wail at any moment, so I lightly covered his mouth to protect my ears. So then I'm caught silencing my toddler because in my negligence he got his fingers pinched in a heavy door.
Oh, man, call the police and take me in.
Fortunately I was well fed emotionally before this all occurred, so I was able to see past my own embarrassment and not be too hard on myself. Maybe that's not my problem, though, as I let my kids traipse about Chik-Fil-A unaccompanied. All's well that ends well, the kids are in the bath and washing the CFA experience right off of them.