It’s the same question every time. As soon as we sit down at a restaurant, the server will notice we have young kids and automatically ask, “Would you like a booster seat?” to which we automatically reply, “No, thanks.”
Why do our kids not need a booster seat, you may wonder. Well, we are their booster seats. And if it’s just me and the kids, I become two booster seats in one. Pretty cool, huh? Let’s just say, I’m glad I have two legs.
Ever since E was born, he’s been attached to us, including during meal times. There was a time when he would sit in his high chair, but since he outgrew it, he upgraded to sitting on our laps. When C came along, she went through the same process as well. Hubby likes LOVES holding the kids when we eat and says they will only be small enough to do this for a little while. I hope he means they won’t be sitting on us when they are able to drive.
We get varied reactions when people see us acting as booster seats, ranging from amusement (ie. “You really like kids, huh?”) to frustration (this is usually from the grandparents) to awe (especially when I try to spoon food into my mouth while dodging two bobbleheads in front of my face). I think though that people are truly just surprised because, to be honest, most (if not all) of the other kids in the restaurant are sitting by themselves.
Recently, however we got a completely different reaction. The server had come to fill our water glasses and was smiling approvingly at us (imagine that!) and said something about it being nice that we were holding our kids because not many people do that these days.
Hm…were we on candid camera or something? 🙂
Her remark got me thinking. Our kids like to sit with us (or to be more exact, on us) because it makes them feel secure and happy. Even hubby feels happy being close to them. (Me, well, that’s another story for another day, haha.)
I was reminded of the story of the 8 cow wife. If you’ve never heard this, it’s basically a story of a man who pays a dowry of 8 cows for a woman that everyone (even her dad) considers to be worth – at most – only one cow. The man and woman marry and move away from the village, then return a year later. To everyone’s shock and amazement, the woman has been transformed and is no longer the same woman; she is totally beautiful and confident and worth every one of those 8 cows.
|Image courtesy of xedos4/freedigitalphotos.net
That woman was changed when she started believing she was valuable and worthy to be loved. The villagers started believing she was worth 8 cows because both she and her husband believed it and lived it.
Sigh, sounds like a great chick flick, right? Sure it is, but even more so, it’s a great example of how we influence each others’ views and how people are shaped by their own beliefs and the beliefs of those who matter to them.
So how does this relate to booster seats, or the lack thereof?
Simply put, I hope I treat my kids like they are 8 cow kids. (Sometimes they can have 8 cows in a day(!), but that’s beside the point.) I want E and C to know they are loved and to feel secure in my love for them. This may mean acting like a booster seat for a meal (or two or ten), but essentially it means going the extra mile to make them feel secure.
Hubby and I joke sometimes that it feels like we have become servants and the kids are the prince and princess of our castle. There might be some truth underlying this joke though. If we want our kids to have a healthy and confident sense of themselves, we almost need to treat them like royalty. (Note: I don’t mean in any way to lead kids on to be arrogant, selfish or to think they are better than others. Every child is precious and deserves to be treated as the precious gifts that they are.) A lot of the royal treatment is innate to parents, such as buying the safest carseat or booster seat (if they use them!), feeding them healthy food, and choosing the best schools possible. But other times, especially for me, it’s easy to overlook our kids’ emotional needs, especially since this part of their royal treatment requires a lot of patience and understanding.
I’ve also come to realize that how I treat my kids and, subsequently, how they view themselves (as an 8 cow person vs. a 1 cow person) will affect how other people see and treat them. I once witnessed a scenario that convinced me of this: a child had done something wrong (by accident) and was quickly and harshly reprimanded by her parent’s friend. I was really surprised to see this happen, but I’m thinking the parent’s nonchalant attitude toward the child may have had something to do with how the friend reacted. It’s just like this – if a person bought their favorite car and took a lot of time and effort in maintaining it (ie. using the best gas, keeping it polished and waxed, etc), other people would in turn respect the car and be careful with it. However if a person treated his car in the opposite way (ie. kept it dirty, worn down and without care), other people would as well.
This brings us back to the beauty of the 8 cow wife story – that one woman was completely changed for the better because of one man’s love and belief in her. Hopefully in the same way I, as a parent, can mold and shape my kids for the better through my belief that they are worthy and valuable (and benefit from sitting on my lap for the time being). And as they become 8 cow kids, my hope is that they will influence other people for the better, too.
This song is more related to the chick flick part of this post. 🙂 It also shows I’m trying to keep up with young people music (for a while I had no idea who these guys were)! Check out “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction.
What do you do to help your kids know they are worth 8 cows to you?