I think there should be optional appendices in parenting manuals. Boys and girls how-to after the baby/toddler stage. Obviously I'd avail myself of the boys option....
Case in point happened this morning and last Christmas and at least 300 other days a year.
The question, posed by mexicanjumpingbain, is innocent enough: "Mom can you put this back together?" It was a Transformer. I am always giving myself pep talks - internally, of course - so I attacked with the vigor of a kid. After about 15 minutes, which in transformer-land is an eternity, I still couldn't get one side to go back together and actually transform into a car. Uggghhh, defeated again. I gave it back to said 6 year old with a sigh, and a suggestion to let the magical babysitter take over.
So here's my thought: What I need is not how to change a fussy baby, or solve a disagreement. I am a practiced parent at those things. What I need is the a book that can decipher the code called "instructions" when one of the bains get Lego for his birthday and I have approximately 10 minutes to put the masterpiece together. I would like to know why there are so many "weapons" with action figures that rarely make it home. I would like some instructions with Transformers; perhaps it would take a CE course, but I'm sure I can master those things if given the right tools...
To all those people who say "Four kids?!?! How do you do it? and "I can't imagine four!?!?" and my personal favorite,"Are they all yours!?!"...well, they just might be onto something. I'm fairly certain the following would not happen in a house with less than 3 kids.
Just going about the same-old same-old after school routine today. Snack. Homework. Number 3 announcing, "I have to poop!" and me depositing him in his favorite bathroom (mine), and telling him to call me when my cleaning services were required.
We went about our business as usual until it was time to load up in the car. Number 3 didn't make roll call. We called him again. No answer. We looked in his room, upstairs, the playroom, . Called him. No answer. Mini-wave of panic rolled over me. Oh-no-what-if-he-is-in-the-street!!!
Nope, just waiting on the potty in my bathroom right where I left him. Not exactly sure how long he was in there waiting, quite patiently, I presume. 30 minutes tops. I hope.
No hard feelings as far as I can tell. Besides, four kids in 9 years and he is the FIRST and ONLY one I've ever lost IN the house. Not bad, considering.
Miracles do happen. The return trip (so far) has been without major incident.
We simply loaded Numbers 1-4 into the car, drove 300 miles, checked into the hotel, put on our PJ's, brushed our teeth and went to sleep. Granted, I first had to dose Number 2 up with his antibiotic, Tylenol, nose spray and his inhaler AND had to share a bed with Number 1 and 3 while St. Joel shared a bed with Number 2 - in our world, typical.
This morning was smooth sailing - showers for 6 people (not at the same time, thankfully) and out the door by 8:00 am. An encore nausea performance by Number 3 (see earlier post, Texarkana) when the Cracker Barrel waitress brought my oatmeal, was narrowly, but successfully avoided.
We're still about 3 hours from home, but God willing, we will get there without detours, throw up or crappy fast food.
Let's get something out in the open right now. I am a recovering perfectionist. That's why today is so monumental.
Not that it didn't start out as a typical Thursday - snoozing twice to get up, breakfast spills, late carpool. Then drop off @ babysitter, and on to work. Contingency plans for soccer practice rain out, making sure everyone had a fleece for the practice, even remembered water and fruit leather. Actually coached a FUN soccer practice, went to grocery store with 4 boys, who all had their own basket, and then out to eat. Got home and as I was unpacking the groceries I realized....I haven't yelled once today.
This is my holy grail - I'm not kidding. I love my boys, but at times have felt so outnumbered and overwhelmed by the sheer number of requests being made in a span of 1 minute, I've felt the need to raise my voice just to be heard. I'll be the first to admit it's not necessary 100% of the time.
I pray in the morning not to hurt my kids with my words or actions. At the end of every day, I grade myself on my mothering. Yes, I am probably too hard on myself...but not nearly as hard as I used to be. Now, at least I give myself a chance to do it differently next time. The yelling, though, that's something I cringe over every time I'm in replay mode.
But today, today is a day for the gratitude journal. Today I don't have anything but positive instant replays - I wish these days were easier to come by and closer together. Wait, if they were, would I be perfect? And yes, I'm writing before bedtime -
We always have good intentions. Really we do. We left for our 600 mile Spring Break trip to visit my parents last night to make those 600 miles just a little more bearable for all involved. Well, that's what we "intended".
We stopped for snacks, aka junk from the gas station, a mere 30 miles into the trip. Settled into the Star Wars DVD collection, after a battle-royal,cage-fight over who got to wear the 2 sets of headphones. Checked into the hotel a little past 11 pm, after all the kids got a nice energy-boosting-hunger-fueling 3 hour nap. Ate some tasteless, crappy fast food. We played a family game of musical beds for a few hours,slept for about 15 minutes, laid waste to the free breakfast buffet and packed the circus up to hit the road again.
About 30 minutes into the second circle of Hell, we see The Sign. Accident Ahead/Interstate Closed/Detour. Just the usual major-shut-the-interstate-down-WAY-out-of-the-way-bumper-to-bumper-for an hour and a half-detour. Ever the wrench-thrower, Number 3 speaks up as we are inching along at .5 miles an hour, "I have to pee. Really bad. I have to pee!". Like any good mother, I offered him a bottle. "My wing-wanger won't fit it there!!!"
Only 250 miles to go. That's PLENTY of time for "discussions" over who's touching who, why it isn't nice to play a harmonica while the baby is sleeping, where we're going to eat lunch...
That is exactly what Number 3 exclaimed to his teachers and fellow preschoolers last week during circle time. I have no idea what circle time topic he was commenting on. Does it really matter? He's 3 years old.
I consider it confidence. Personality, maybe. Simply mimic-ing his 2 big brothers. His classic quips are becoming more and more frequent.
"Can we go in now? I'm so over being hot."
"Good times...good times."
"Why you gotta go and be 40?" (talking OBVIOUSLY to Daddy NOT Mommy)
When the soccer coordinator called and said: "You said on your form you would volunteer as an assistant coach if we were desperate." I laughed it off and asked if that's what they needed; someone as reticent as me - who actually scribbled in the words "if you are desperate" on the registration form.
Then he dropped the bomb. "No, we need a head coach."
That's when I really started paying attention. I got up off the couch, told the bains to turn down the movie and went into my office/laundry room. After a long moment of silence I asked for the details.
Games when I want them, I can make sure my nephew is on our team and I can pick the color of the jersey. What a deal.
I cannot for the life of me come up with a reason I really truly have to say no...but at the same time am terrified of saying yes.
All I needed was coffee with girlfriends, lunch with St. Joel, visit to the bookstore, haircut (at a salon) and color (in my bathroom) and new drugstore lipgloss to right all the recent real life wrongs.
He can be picking out a new tune on the guitar one minute and showing off his rip-stick skills the next. Let's not forget his fabulous spelling skills, and most recently his parent-critiquing skills in our now once-weekly family meeting. Since he and limabain are saving for a Wii and and didn't have school today, he asked if there were any extra jobs he could do around the house. Yes, I had to reign in my enthusiasm to come up with only one job...
This may not make him anything other than what my partner referred to as an "unrepentant capitalist," but it sure makes me and the clean walls thankful for his resourcefulness. It also leaves me wondering if there were some magic flakes in that snow angel he made!