I always feel a twinge of guilt when I say that I am glad that this day is over. Saying that is so pessimistic. Was there really nothing that was worth it? When I sit back and look at my days, even the bad ones, there is always something I can point to and say, “There, that was worth it.” I guess that is why I am writing right now. I need to find the good in this day.
I’ve put the boys to bed early because I could feel myself boiling over with negativity and no good can come of that. We made it through the day and that is enough for me. So we didn’t have much fun. Oh well.
Times are tough around here these days. My husband is running his business out of our basement, which was hard enough when it was just him. Now, there are three additional people who work below all of the chaos that my little boys create all day. That adds a lot of stress to my days. I can’t just let someone have their fit because someone else might be on a conference call. So, I combat that by being gone a lot.
Today, I wanted to get out of the house and the boys just didn’t want to. It was like winter all over again. They were bored and whiny, yet they didn’t want to go anywhere. I go back and forth in my mind about just forcing an outing. Sometimes it works out in my favor and sometimes not so much.
We did venture out for a few errands today and that, now that I think about it, probably contributed directly in my choice not to do anything else. We were headed to the recycle center with a car load full of stuff. I was waiting for Wolfie to find his shoes so we could go and Hammy was crying because I wouldn’t let him bang two aluminum cans together to make noise. I was trying to compromise with Hammy when Wolfie appears in the doorway, shoe-less, carrying one of those toys where you press the button and the lights spin around and around.
He had attached a small glass juice cup with tape to the top of it, so that when he pressed the button the lights began spinning and would hit the cup and make a dinging noise. He was so pleased with himself. I have no idea how he got from finding shoes to making this creation. He demanded to bring it in the car. When Hammy began crying because he didn’t have his two aluminum cans, I was shocked to find myself offering to get him a light up spinney toy of his own to bang against a can.
You can imagine the noise coming from the back seat on the way to the recycle center. It was then that I knew today would be a long day.
The rest of our day was a regurgitation of the above scenario. Wolfie wanting to invent stuff using a slew of items that seemed too complicated, messy or just plain inappropriate to me and Hammy jumping on the “I wanted to do that too!” bandwagon. It was exhausting.
Our day ended when I was trying to do some gardening while the boys played in the yard. Things were fine for about three minutes and then Wolfie wanted to invent a new waterfall with the garden hose. We have had a lot of rain in the last few days and the ground is pretty saturated. Every time he turns on the hose to play I envision more mosquito colonies jumping for joy at the opportunity for a new home. So, I said no to the hose and the negotiating began.
Very LOUD negotiating by him. As he and I are trying to work it out, Hammy is running the other direction creating his own brand of chaos in being everywhere except where I want him to be. All is ask of him is that I am able to see him. Apparently, that is too much to ask.
When I have days like this I am reminded of those old Calgon commercials. The one where the Mom is totally exasperated and her children are out of control and she puts her hands to her head and says very dramatically, “Calgon, take me away!” Suddenly, she is lounging in a bubble bath with the stress just melting away.
I don’t know about you, but when I am stressed and in this kind of situation all I want to do is yell,”Enough already!” And have that be enough. I imagine a world in which I can say that and my kids get that they have gone too far and they stop. I don’t even require the bubble bath.
Now comes the good part. I’ve put them in their beds and am taking some time for myself and wondering when the day is going to make some sense or at the very least give me something to smile about. I knew if I broke the cycle of negativity I would be able to see it. I went upstairs to kiss them goodnight and lay down with Hammy for a few minutes. Wolfie had been demanding that I come in to talk to him and I was saying, “Be there in a minute.” I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed that time period of parenting when you can say that and come back in an hour. Wolfie has been telling time since age two and a half.
Anyway, I went up to tuck them in and Wolfie had made a chart of his behavior for the day. The top half of the page said “Things I did today that were bad” and the bottom half said, “Things I did today that were good.” Unbelievable. Right there, he made me smile. We read them together and when we were finished he asked me, “Are you feeling better about our day now?”
“Yes,” I said.
It is this kind of thing that makes parenting all worth it for me. It is when my kids show me that side of them that is compassionate and wise beyond their years that I am so grateful that they are mine to cherish.