Wanted: Parenting Manual for 5 & 6 yr old girls.
It used to be that as a mother of babies and toddlers, I chased my kids around, changed diapers, fed cheerios and overall tried to keep them entertained and napped on time. It was exhausting!
I still chase them, feed them cheerios and attempt to keep them entertained, but it’s not quite the same anymore. Although I still suffer occasional consequences for wearing my kids out late in the day or keeping them up at night, it has changed a lot.
Now; they talk back. They interrupt. They cross their arms & stare me down. They are more deliberate and purposeful. They hear me and understand what I’m saying and then make a choice as to whether or not they will obey. We are trying to combat it, but man, it is tough.
We have good kids. We have awesome kids. I love them more than anything. Aaaand…the last couple weeks have really been trying for me…and my nerves….and my hair which is both graying and thinning simultaneously. I try so hard to be patient and give them the attention they need & deserve. But seriously, some times I just think if someone whines or tattles one more time I’m gonna explode. (This isn’t really a great want-ad for a babysitter. And I am in need of someone to stay overnight a couple nights. So I can get away on a jet plane. Perhaps I should reevaluate marking this post as private.)
I can not get 2 minutes in the bathroom by myself. They will open the door, come in and just sit and look at me. “Do you need something?” I”ll ask them. “Weeeeellllll….I just wanted to (deep breath) telllll youuuu that … ummm… ummmm…is there….ummm…can I have a snack?” “Do you see where I’m at? Go eat a banana if you’re hungry.”
And they scare me nearly everytime I get out of the shower and turn to see they are sprawled out on my bedroom floor waiting for me. They sit and stare at me, asking questions like “Why do you look like a zebra with those stripes?” “Because of you” I think to myself (I’m not mad, zebras are cool) but instead say, “because you were growing big and strong in my belly once and it stretched me sooo big you can’t even believe it! And now I have these lines and they remind me of then and how special it was and I think of you when I see them!” much like a topographical map. (I totally loved being pregnant btw…the ‘baby moving’ part more than the 9 months of heartburn & vomiting of course. I was happiest when I was pregnant…I wonder if thats a hormonal thing? Can I get a pill like that?)
Tonight I decided to take a quick shower while the girls finished their supper (which seems to take forever and a day lately). I’m in the shower (seeking quiet) and all of a sudden Taylor is hollering for me, saying something I can’t hear over the sound of running water. “Can’t. Hear. You” I yell. “Avery was bouncing a bouncy ball (something I do not allow in the house) and it went in her cup and now theres water everywhere!!” So seriously…where did the ball come from, and what were the odds that it would end up knocking over a cup of water and all over the floor, table, chairs, etc while I am in the shower? (My mom will now call me and tell me we have to sit all together until everyone is finished.)
Why can I not just get away for a few minutes? And when I do actually get away-away, why can I not stop thinking about getting home to my kids?
Avery is stubborn beyond what I am capable of describing to you. I just have to believe that she will not be one to follow a crowd, and someday this will be a strong beautiful thing. Right now, it pushes my buttons. Actually, I just realized I can SHOW you a mild version of what I’m talking about via pictures from this weeks hockey & swim lessons:
This same, said stubborn child was not happy with me that I would not allow her entrance into Webkinz World last week while I was on the phone, so she helped herself to a button she knows how to read. “Buy it Now”. Ebay my friends. She bought herself some shoes on ebay. And how exactly do you write that note to the seller? “Oops…my child is attracted to blue buttons? Likes your shoes? Was left unattended with the computer?” (Maybe Kristi can help me out on that one! Her daughter did a BIN on 10k worth of kitchen cabinets if I remember correctly!?)
The first day of summer break – the first day in months that I got to sleep in – Taylor comes to the side of my bed, wakes me and says (real nasal-y) something like “Maaaah-mee….Avery gave me chicken pox and I dont know what to do now” I’m totally not awake, but open my eyes to see that my child is polkadotted. I can’t see far at all, so I squint and lean toward her. “What did you DO?” “Avery did it…” “And you SAT there and LET her?” This is why we do not have markers in our house. Fortunately, markers are now ‘washable’ but that doesn’t mean they have come back out of hiding just yet. I called Brian and he thought it was just hysterical. I was not so easily entertained at that early morning hour…
Tay will sit and try to reason (ie: argue) with me. She can be very calm or she will find her voice and yell. It is frightening either way as I recognize that she is watching and mirroring what I do. Last week she overreacted about something and stormed out the front door and then came back in before I could get to her within a matter of 20 seconds or so to talk to her about what was happening. We sat knee to knee and eye to eye. Our voices became very calm and I was asking her to tell me what had happened. She did and honestly, it made absolutely no sense whatsoever to me, so I just said, “I’m sorry Tay. I don’t understand what you’re saying” And without missing a beat, staring straight into my eyes she sighed and said, “Do you want me to tell you in Spanish?”
Oh my word. I never thought parenting would be this funny. Or this difficult. And I’m just dealing with Kindergardeners here.
I’ve been on the verge of saying “Leave me alone!” many times the past few weeks but have been able to catch myself before it leaves my mouth. (Literally, sometimes my mouth is open and my tongue right behind my bottom teeth ready for the “Lllll” sound) And in the same way, if “Don’t talk to me right now” leaked out, I’d be terrified that it would stick around for years longer than I would be able to forgive myself for and they would only have heard, “Don’t talk to me”. I never want that to replay in their minds.
This afternoon, i sat bent over with my head in my hands when Taylor walked in the room. “Mommy! What’s wrong?” “I”m fine.” I told her but as I turned my head to look at her, tears streamed off my face. She put her stuff down immediately and came right to me as she said, “Seriously! Mommy! What’s wrong?” She sounded so old. I just gave her a hug and changed the subject.
I feel ill-equipped to be a mom some days. Most days. Like today, when I’m just mentally worn out, yet trying to put aside my own preferences and enjoy these moments when they are home with me. Because the summer will go fast…and so will their childhood. And my biggest fear is that later I will regret something about the present time in which I live. And some days, thats the best I have to go on to do the selfless, loving thing.