There are times when parenting is not the flowers-and-sunshine constant glow of awesomeness which I was sure it would be back when my kidlets were tiny and a bad day probably only meant that someone had barfed. (And a REALLY bad day meant they’d barfed ON ME.)
Two days into the new math class (and, coincidentally, MY increased homework load… hrm), I had to give Chickadee a pep talk about how it’s a lot easier to learn something new when you’re not busy having a massive freakout of epic IWILLNEVERLEARNTHIS OHMYGODWHATHAVEIDONEI’MSOSTUPID proportions while attempting to do so. And because she is every inch the super-appreciative nearly-teen you’d expect, my loving attempts to soothe her were met by… disdain, anger, and wailing and associated rending of garments.
Monkey, meanwhile, has essentially decided that it’s his way or the highway when it comes to schoolwork, and WOE BETIDE the teacher (or parent) who asks for more, because DON’T YOU KNOW HOW SMART HE IS ALREADY? (Oh, Asperger’s. You’re really kind of a snobby prick, sometimes.)
Point being: Not every day is an endless rainbow of joy.
The older the kids get, the easier I find it to appreciate the little things. It’s been a long time since I cared about having a good week. A good day is fantastic, and more often, good moments are plenty. Because they’re changing too much—life is changing too fast—to cling to some notion of how entire calendar chunks “should” be.
The older I get, the more I love the snapshots in time, however brief, when we are all together and laughing. Those are the moments when we are at our collective best, and it doesn’t matter who needs to be where when or how far behind we are on work or who is mad at whom over what.
Last night over dinner, Monkey was talking to the dog while we were eating, and I finally asked him to please stop, because she thinks he’s going to share his food when he does that, and it’s sort of like teasing her. He stopped, but a moment later lit up and said, “Do you know what would drive ALL dogs crazy?”
“Ham on the ceiling?” guessed Chickadee, without missing a beat.
Monkey was incensed, but Otto and I couldn’t stop laughing. “I WIN!” she crowed, as we tried to compose ourselves and failed. Because… ham on the ceiling. From the VEGETARIAN. As if she’d given the matter great thought, and had only been waiting for her brother to bring up the topic of pork products in unlikely places so that she could share that particular gem.
I’ve raised a child who knows when “ham on the ceiling” is the world’s greatest punchline. Which meant that later when she was driving me insane, I didn’t have to strangle her, not even a little, because I remembered that she’s hilarious and I probably want to keep her around.
Then this morning, it was pouring out when we got up. Otto generally eats his breakfast first thing, then goes and takes a shower. I generally have a cup of coffee and get breakfast on the table and pack lunches and work for a few hours before I shower. So I decided to suck up to Otto—because he was going to go take a nice hot shower momentarily, anyway—to get him to take the dog out in the rain.
As such, Monkey walked into the kitchen when we were kissing. (Bribery kissing, to be sure, but smooching is smooching.) Having heard his sister exhort us to “Get a room!” multiple times before, Monkey decided that he, too, could mock us.
“Get your OWN room!” he bellowed, clearly pleased with himself.
We reminded him (between giggles and snorts) that we pay the mortgage, and as such, every room is our OWN room in this house. But I suspect that days and days of taunting one another to get your OWN room are in our future. In fact, the next time I’m frustrated with him over homework, I daresay that sending him to his OWN room for a few minutes will likely be a sufficient break for both of us.
It’s not all flowers and sunshine. Sometimes it’s ham and mangled admonitions. And it works.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Seize the moments. Especially the ones that make you adore your loved ones a little more.