My Stepford Children

            We have what I like to term “Stepford Moments.”  These are moments during which, despite the fact that our children are fully capable of inflicting no end of torment upon us, they somehow behave as though their crazy little selves have been replaced by perfect little robots.  We had one such experience a month ago when we were out to breakfast with a long-time friend of their grandparents who lives in L.A.  She had never met the boys, and we had not seen her in years.  The boys were in a foul mood all morning.  Then, we stepped into the restaurant, the clouds parted, angels sang, and their halos began to glow.  The sat politely, ate (relatively) neatly, and quietly played with the toys she had brought them.  90 minutes later, after we said goodbye, the grey clouds descended once more, and the boys returned to their previously scheduled foul moods for the remainder of the day.

            A Stepford Moment.

            Today, I was granted a seven-hour Stepford Moment.  From the minute J left us at security to the instant Zachary ran to his grandfather’s arms all the way across the country, my kids behaved far better than they ever have before.  It helped that I had them run races for ½ hour before the flight.  And the pantry of snacks did not hurt either.  Nor did the fact that my computer battery held out till the pilot told Zachary it was time to turn off all mechanical devices for our descent to Dulles.  This meant that the one who actually likes television watched it for the entire flight.  But that is only a partial explanation of absurdly good behavior.

            Even Benjamin, who is manic when he is tired, only went insane for about ½ hour before I got him to take a short nap in my arms.  He did enjoy getting the man across the aisle to pick up endless dropped toys, and I sincerely hope that against all odds that man reads my blog, because I really, really want to thank him.

            While we’re giving shout-outs, how about one for the lady who let Zach pee before her and the security woman who entertained one child while I put on the other’s shoes?

            As we pulled up to the gate, I told the boys how impressed I was with their behavior.  I also told them they only had to hold it together for about 20 more minutes and that they were welcome to go insane once they were with their grandfather.

            My kids were so well-behaved (in contrast to children of the same ages in the row in front of us), that several different people stopped me as we got off the flight and told me how good the boys had been.  I could only respond, “I know.  I have no idea why.  Please don’t take it as a reflection on my parenting skills.”

            It was a Stepford Moment, the whole damned day.  It was still one of the most exhausting days I have had in my adult life.

18 responses to “My Stepford Children

  1. Thank God for enormous miracles. I’m telling you, flying makes 99% of children behave in that manner. I’m so sorry you had to sit near the 1% that is not affected the same way. But that can only make you more smug about the behavior or your own children.

    From now on you should TOTALLY take the credit for the parenting skills. And it’s probably not even that far from the truth!

  2. I think these moments are given to us as a gift, so that we can remember that our children are capable, but only when they want to. Glad you had a great flight!

  3. In our family we give out “good attitude awards” for days like that. These “awards” are basically paper certificates we fill in, nothing monetary or anything. That is one good attitude day if there ever was one. Glad to hear it.

  4. Oh my God. You are so precious! Of course it is a reflection of your parenting skills! The little fellas adjusted because you did. Part luck? Maybe. But you are also a fabulous mom. Come on. You know you are. Admit it!

  5. Amazing! Sometimes I think they have a sixth sense that tells them when mommy’s anxiety level is high enough that being Stepford-ish is truly called for.

    Glad you made it safely.

  6. Even perfect children are exhausting when you are talking about air travel. But, YAY for the behavior.

  7. you are too funny.

  8. Oh hell you should have taken credit for it!

    Hope the trip is full of fun (and well behaved kiddos).

  9. My daughter is a stellar airplane traveller. Given that both our families live far away, I am willing to put up with no end of shit when we are at home b/c she consistently gives me the Stepford when we’re on the road.

    I’m pleased to hear your journey went well. Here’s to the rest of your trip going as smoothly.

  10. Oh my!

    I pray for a Stepford moment to come into my life! 🙂

    Glad the flight went well!

  11. Wow! Sounds like you really, really, really lucked out on your travel day. Well done!

  12. I have traveled with kids who had Stepford moments and kids who did not. I always remind myself it isn’t easy being three and trapped in a little aluminum tube for six hours. It isn’t always easy at thirty-three. Kudos!

  13. i am glad the Stepford moment chose such fine timing. 🙂

  14. Thank goodness for Stepford moments, well behaved little boys and one dyanmic Mum!
    Let’s hope the journey home, after much spoiling from their grandparents, is yet another twighlight zone moment.

    Get some rest… and have fun!!

  15. I was very, very fortunate to have nothing but Stepford moments when flying with my children (like the flight to Germany – just me and my 8 mo old daughter. Leeetle daunting!) but the bits I remember are the lovely, lovely people who help when they don’t have to, who smile at the kids and who mention when things are going well. Makes me believe in humanity again.

  16. glad it went well!

    When I was doing children’s school we were at a school that we referred to as the stepford school, because we were sitting behind the set, chatting, waiting for the kids to come in. You always heard them come in…. usually loudly and talking, occasionally quietly shuffling their feet as teachers gave directions. But this time, we were sitting in the small cafetorium when a teacher stuck her head in and said “we’re ready when you are” We peeked out and saw the children sitting SILENTLY and IN PERFECT ROWS. Never even heard them come in. scary.

  17. I’m so so glad they were good. And now you must take all the credit, just to level up any times you’ve ever blamed yourself for what they’ve done 🙂

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