Pike Place, us against them, + maybe we’re doing something right

August 31, 2012 |  Category:   life parenting Seattle & the NW travels

Pike Place. Touristy. Crowded. Never really changes.


Yet, every year we find ourselves walking down that steep hill towards the market even though some years we think about skipping it. Sometimes Pike Place is too hectic with little kids. Not so easy pushing a stroller through the crowds when they were younger, and more recently, it’s sometimes hard to see them in a sea of people if you momentarily lose grip of their hand. Last year Mark and I even walked around by ourselves while the kids stayed with grandma and had the best leisurely time, but maybe 2 years in between visits for the kids is long enough for some things to change because we had a great morning at the market with the girls. They were more interested in going into all the little stores on the lower levels, looking at the dahlias, sampling some food. The young, 20 something guy at one of the cheese stands even told us that the girls were by far the most polite kids he had seen in a long time. They asked for samples, said thank you and wanted to know where they could dispose of their toothpicks. I looked around me and said “really??”. Not that I didn’t believe him, and Mark gave him a knowing nod since he deals with kids who come to his table at the Flea grabbing handfuls of samples and running off and such, but it was a reminder that yeah…maybe we’re doing something right even if it sometimes feels like we’re not.
The thing is, the girls are at a point in their relationship right now where they bring out the best AND the worst out of each other when they’re together. If there was ever a time where it felt like us against them, this would be it. Separately apart, they’re like different personalities, but when they’re together they gain the confidence to be a little more defiant, a little less responsive when disciplined, always pushing the boundaries of how far they can push. I think this might be the hardest part of parenting – keeping your frustrations in check (as was the case today when we took a family shopping trip to Fairway). Nothing and no one has tested my patience more and I always thought I was a patient person pre-kids, but I’ve now realized that I’m not as patient as I once thought. Having kids certainly has a way of holding up a mirror firmly in place so you can’t escape some aspects of your personality that you’d rather ignore. But like a lot of things in life, you all jump in it together and learn along the way. I think that’s why I stopped reading parenting books a long time ago; every situation, every family dynamic, and every child is different. When there are days when you think you’re not doing such a great job because you spend too much time dwelling on the things that aren’t going so well, a random stranger can look at the situation from the outside and make an observant comment to reign it all back in. We’re doing ok.

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  • Susan August 31, 2012 at 7:05 am

    It’s so good to read this Jenna, your parenting thoughts give me serenity. I have concerns about the twins when they are older, as I’ve been told they will gang up and realize their strength together when testing limits. I have no doubt you & Mark are excellent parents, and it sounds like strangers are taking notice as well!

  • Darcy August 31, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I love this post! Thank you for this!

  • Ann August 31, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Wow, you wrote exactly what I’ve been feeling/thinking-it is so difficult to have some of my worst traits come right back to me. Then my husband says how proud he is that our guy speaks his mind and stands up for himself, which is ultimately what I want him to do. It truly is difficult to reign in the frustration though.
    Thanks for this post.

  • Dee August 31, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Thanks for the post Jenna. Just what I needed to read today. My 5.5 year old and have been battling it out this week. Patience been tested to the limits, and I’ve felt like I wasn’t handling it the best. But then the hugs came and I thought, just maybe. I was doing something right. So thanks again for a great post as a firm reminder that parenting can be hard, but we’re getting through it and our kids are turning out great in the process.
    Have a great weekend!

  • Monica August 31, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I think you are so right, parenting has certainly showed me my limits, and I find it scary to see some of my traits reflected in my son. Though some are delightful of course. I have also come to the realization that I am not as patient as I had hoped.

  • Lauren August 31, 2012 at 10:27 am

    It appears like you’re doing better than just ok. From the outside at least, it looks like you’re doing amazingly. And a trip to Fairway for me, even alone, is a test of patience and discipline.

  • Atsuko August 31, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I love this post, especially you shared with us why you stopped reading parenting book. You are doing great parenting. Being able to see children who ask questions, behave politely, and say thank you is so comforting. It even sometimes makes me feel that this world is heading to a good direction. By the way, seeing more and more pictures from the Northwest makes me want to go back there.

  • Diane August 31, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Jenna – what you wrote about the joys and struggles of parenting is all so true – especially, the mirror. omg, what i have learned about myself in the process (and she’s 31 now) and i’m still learning. thanks for this.

  • Jenna August 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for all your comments! And @Lauren yeah…Fairway! ahhhh!

  • Sora August 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Fist bump, Jenna, on the not reading parenting books! Every book on parenting that I’ve bought has not been that helpful. Sometimes we need to do a gut check and not second guess what we think our kids need from us. Thanks for another great post. My girls do quite a bit of fighting when they’re together, but there are luckily times when I actually see them connecting as friends/sister and I have so much hope for their relationship!

  • Gower August 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Love this post! It’s just what I needed to read today as felt a bit defeated by the day I had with my kids. Thanks as always for being honest and sharing with us readers.

  • Jenna August 31, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    @Gower You’re welcome! Sometimes we can be hard on ourselves, but also hard on our kids sometimes. I have to remind myself to keep it all in check.

  • Karen September 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I love this post. You make me smile and nod when reading some of your parenting posts. My kids are so different apart its crazy too. I am an only child so the dynamics often baffle me .. my husband says the arguing and fighting (for what feels like no reason) is completely normal. I’ll take his word for it. I think we are also sometimes too hard on ourselves with regards to parenting. I had a similar thing this weekend with manners where my two boys (almost 6 & 4) offered to help a neighbor carry her shopping, unprovoked too. I was actually beaming with pride … and its those little things that say … yes we are doing a great job!

  • Karmen September 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    re-reading this post in full a few days later and had to comment that I too, love this. My 8 year old is really testing us these days & then other days is so sweet & mature. it’s a ride for sure. thanks for the insights!

  • j September 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    love the photos. reminds me of when i visited a few years ago. i stayed at the inn at the market which was right in pike place. enjoyed the farmers market, the shops, oh and the chukar cherries…yum!!! glad you had fun and you’re back safe!

  • Joy September 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I never get tired of visiting Pike Place Market! I’m so impressed that you managed to take such lovely photos of produce without people getting in the way.