We’ve had a lot of it around here. So far it’s been a whiny, cranky winter. I recommended in an earlier post that day care providers have earplugs – mine have been in effect. Then for a while the kids stare at you. “What’s in your ear Amy?” And I have to decide if I’m going to answer them nicely or tell the truth.
I’ve taken on a new motto. It’s my job to keep you fed, safe, warm, clean, exercised and rested, but not happy. Even if I tried, I simply cannot do it.
I have to remember that kids grow in spurts – not just physically but mentally too – and it’s a very difficult process. But, if your bones ache when you grow taller, it’s your heart that aches when your brain is growing.
So what’s going on with my kids. The twins have just given up their pacifiers so that in itself is traumatic. But they’re also learning to talk, which is probably the longest and most challenging development in early childhood. And they get SOOOOO mad when you can’t understand what they’re saying (which leads to them yelling it, louder and louder, as if I was deaf). So if I don’t understand what they’re saying, I just nod and smile and say, “Yeah!”
One child has had an ear infection and strep, leading to two antibiotics and lots of G.I. distress and following me around begging to be held. Another reached the “food phobia” stage and has been eating nothing but crackers for a few weeks and is constipated. Another is beginning to realize that her baby sister is here to stay and is having some stressful responses to that. And the baby is just a baby, and even when they’re a pretty easy and happy baby, they still need constant care.
Miss S, the after-schooler, is dealing with life in kindergarten and all the challenges that come with that. So she wants more affection from me but unfortunately, when she wants it she tackles me from behind when I’m not looking.
Younger Son is working on his colorful language and I’m doing all I can to stop him from using it in front of the kids. He’s a big tough second grader trying to navigate friendships and loyalty, and for a boy who is 100% loyal, it’s very confusing when friends naturally come and go. And he’s decided that he’s in charge of everyone’s behavior around here, but he is a much harsher taskmaster than I. So I’m constantly chasing him around telling him to stop cussing and abusing us all.
Older Son and I have been battling over everything and it’s getting OLD. Then I realized he just turned ten, a milestone birthday. Once on my birthday I was having a terrible day and I called Pam in tears. She said, “It’s your birthday! Of course you’re going to cry! I cry every year on my birthday.” There is something cosmic and powerful happening on those days. A little letting go, I think, and the big fourth grader who is facing a new school and a bus ride and big kids next year is definitely feeling that.
To top it all off, we’re in the shortest and coldest days of the year, when kids are cooped up inside and everyone’s cycle is out of whack. And there’s always the ho-ho-ho-holiday stress!! When my boys want some attention after a long day I’m brushing them off to make lists, shop, wrap presents, and be stressed out and exhausted myself. We haven’t had a decent meal for days.
So there are a lot of reasons we’re all cranky. Is it possible for a 40-year-old to regress too? Probably. Yesterday after an afternoon of being badgered by six kids, my poor Miss S yelled “Amy!” from the other room and I stood in the kitchen and bellowed (not in a very nice way), “WHAAAT?!?!?!”
Of course I apologized.
My problem is that I have very high expectations for behavior. Once kids have reached a certain level I expect they will stay there and move forward only, and I get frustrated when they don’t. “You KNOW this, what’s the problem?” I think. I forget that wise old saying: one step forward, two steps back.
So luckily for all of us, after the holiday rush we have a week off. Oh yeah, I close after Christmas. It’s time to rejuvenate and get ready to start fresh in a new year.
Here’s something funny. I didn’t pick “rejuvenate” for any reason except that’s what you do on a vacation. But if you look it up in the dictionary, it says “to make young again.” Oh dear. Maybe I should have chosen “relax.”