There seems to be a strong and obvious clue that my kids are capable of playing on their own more now. It was revealed to me this morning as they were immersed in playing with a set of magnetic building blocks. After a while my 4-year-old got up, came over to me and said,
‘Mommy, why are you reading again?’
Now this freedom of mine to find reading time could mean one of two things. 1, my kids are growing up and becoming amiable playmates on their own and don’t require my constant presence in their playtime.
I’m in the middle of really good book and haven’t noticed them fighting, sticking things down the heating vents and getting into the stash of Chocolate Chip Bunny Snacks.
Let’s go with 1.
Last night was a bad one. My 4-year-old has a stuffy nose and this of course made for restless sleep. The only way to keep him calm most of the time was to have him in bed next to me. It kept him calm, but it also made for a constant battle on my part.
Tiny toes flexing back and forth, barely touching my leg.
Rolling over and over trying to find a comfortable spot and taking the covers with him.
Turning completely sideways and nearly kicking himself off the bed while I get kicked in the stomach/groin/back.
I’m just about to fall asleep, finally, and he starts whistling through his sinuses with every breath.
Needless to say I barely slept. When I did I was only aware of it because I had weird dreams that made absolutely no sense and only added to my frustrations.
How many kids did they just fit into that crib? There’s no way they can all lay down to sleep. And look, now they’re crying.
What is that elephant doing to that dinosaur??
Over the weekend, even amid the chaos and running around, my boys were very well behaved. We had our usual scuffles and firm reminders about sharing etc, but overall, I was very proud of how they acted.
And then Monday morning came.
What is it about the change in scenery that makes the kids go nuts? Yes, daddy had to go to work today, just like he does every weekday. Is this really a reason to start fighting, back talking, hitting and disrespecting? Apparently so.
And so I had to follow through with a disciplinary action I’d threatened. I dumped out the remainder of my 4-year-old’s chocolate shake from the night before. He’d earned it over the weekend and drank half of it in order to save the rest for the next day. Well… Sorry, buddy.
Of course I felt like a total heel, but what choice did I have?
Maybe the real pain of it for me is the memories of what it felt like to have a treat taken away.
‘Sorry ma’am, but the Cadbury Eggs aren’t free…’
‘Oh have a heart, you unfeeling grocery chain. I’ve been good! I haven’t yelled at my kids all day!’
There are certain concepts that my 4-year-old wants to learn. Things that I sometimes have to Google to find out about before I can tell him. Once he gets the answer, though, he’s not necessarily interested anymore. I can only imagine that the problem is that the explanation was too complicated and he couldn’t grasp it.
I had come to believe that some concepts were just complicated by nature and couldn’t be simplified.
And then creative minds of our time had to go and prove me wrong.
We received books called ‘General Relativity for Babies’ and ‘Quantum Physics for Babies’.
Wikipedia has nothing on these genius creations.
And so I hold out hope that if my children have questions I feel are unanswerable, there’s probably a board book that can help me.
Now I just need the ‘Idiot’s Guide to Parental Sanity’ and I’ll have all the answers of the universe.
I’m convinced that my kids have a time limit for genial, cooperative play. And that limit gets severely minimized when they’re in need of food. I openly admit that I’m the same way. When I’m hungry there’s no happy place I can truly create for myself let alone to include anyone else.
Here’s the problem… Neither of my kids want to eat much in the mornings. They used to eat a decent sized breakfast and get off to a good start. Now it’s like pulling teeth to get them to eat much at all. Within a half hour of being awake (on a good day), they’re hitting, kicking and crying over the smallest things.
‘Okay, baby, put your train on the turntable.’
‘Just put it on the turntable and I’ll move it to that track over there.’
‘Baby! Put your train on the turntable!’
And so on. This ended in tears, screaming and hitting on both their parts. Hence, time out until mommy has food on the table.
‘Want to play in my kitchen, baby?’
And off they go, giggling.
Sigh… I’d be more vexed if I didn’t know exactly how they felt.
I have this bad habit of hunching over my work. When I do wood burning or writing, I tend to hover over what I’m doing, giving myself massive knots in my shoulders in a very short amount of time.
Later I get into this mindset of ‘posture!’ and I’m really good about it for a couple of days… and then…
So today I had to (yes, had to) go get a massage. If I wish to keep myself mobile and able to turn my head from side to side, it’s a necessary thing.
The after effects of it are truly humorous. I managed to drive myself home and serve my kids lunch, all with the haze of ‘I don’t really care about much right now’ kind of attitude.
‘Mommy, I want mac and cheese for lunch!’
‘Mommy, I want to play with my race cars at the table!’
‘Mommy, I’m going to feed brother peaches through his nose!’
…Maybe some rational opinions should make an appearance here soon…
I’ve noticed a trend. So many kids these days don’t have the patience to apply themselves to difficult tasks. They have the potential to accomplish greater things but they don’t take the time and effort to try them.
Here’s where I think the root of the problem lies.
Most of us are so wrapped up in instant-gratification that we don’t have much patience anymore. When we don’t have patience we can’t teach our kids to have patience. We get to watch a tv show without commercials, and you can binge watch the whole season at once instead of waiting for a new episode each week. We want to find out some obscure fact, we just look it up right there on the spot on our phones. We can get a flight to anywhere, contact anyone, order anything and get it in a matter of hours instead of days.
This attitude has filtered down to our kids and we wonder why they don’t try harder? They don’t have to.
I’ve been making a concerted effort to get my kids to try things, to put forth effort, before I step in to help them. There’s that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that makes me want to just put the damn puzzle together and not waste all this time letting them try to put an edge piece in the middle of the picture, but I don’t. I don’t criticize him when he’s trying something and doing it wrong. I ask him questions to help him think it through.
And I was rewarded. He did an entire 48 piece puzzle in record time today. A puzzle we only did together once before.
So what if they’re doing it wrong at first? How else will they learn?
Says the woman who refuses to study math, go anywhere out of town without very specific directions, or change the digital clock in the car because of all those damn buttons…