As a parent I swing between worrying that 1) my myriad mistakes, personal shortcomings, and sheer stupidity (okay, okay, my own sinful flesh!) are permanently harming my children and that 2) I'm not doing too bad and I shouldn't worry so much because children are, after all, incredibly resilient and flexible and all will be well as long as they are fed and clothed and above all know that Jesus (and I) love them.
Today my pendulum is swinging more in the first direction. Why, you ask?
(You do ask, don't you?)
Well, a few nights ago I brought home animal crackers from the grocery store. Although they were purchased to serve as the preschool snack today, there was sufficient quantity that I told Evan he could go ahead and have some. So we were sitting at the table enjoying animal crackers (I don't usually buy them, so this was a treat) when I jokingly bit the head off a cat (or sheep or giraffe--all I know is that it was some four-legged thing) and started crying, "Ouch, ouch, don't eat me!" I thought I was being funny.
Instead, my child was traumatized. He yelled, "Don't say that! Don't ever say that!" and refused to eat any more animal crackers. The next morning he informed me that he did not want to take animal crackers to preschool, nor did he want animal crackers in his house ever again. Later in the day he told me that he had a dream that we were in Grenada and he was swimming in the ocean when a big whale came up and ate him. He told me, "You made me have that dream, Mommy."
What have I done to this child? In retrospect I realize that we went through a similar issue with the chocolate Santas at Christmas. He was not in the least amused when at that time I asked which part of Santa I should bite into first. The poor child must think I'm some sort of bloodthirsty monster.
I guess I better make sure he never sees this murderous piece of cinematic horror: