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Finding our way

2011-10-25 - 10:35 p.m.

Listening, or lack thereof, has been a problem with the kids lately. Just last night I told Grommet – for the umpteenth time – not to flail and fidget around. Not five minutes later she’d hippity-hopped backwards and fallen with her full weight on the door of the dishwasher which my husband had left down in a pointed hint to me to put the rest of the dishes away. I shrieked. I asked if she was okay, but I was obviously mad, because I only waited a token moment for her to nod, then investigated whether the dishwasher was damaged. And while she cried because she was sorry, I couldn’t stop myself from saying she should be sorry, that she’d been told not to do something and continued to do it anyway and now look at the accident that resulted.

I felt like a bad mother. But I also felt justified because, Christ kid, when will you actually do what you’re told? Why, after 3yearsx365daysxatleast4peesaday=roughly1500 trips to the washroom, after which you have had to wash your hands each time, do we still have to say “Did you wash your hands?” “With soap?” every single time you emerge from the washroom? And almost every time you do a U turn because no, even if you washed them you didn’t actually use soap. Why do I have to remind you several times at every single meal to sit properly and eat over your plate?

And Biscuit. Whooo boy has he developed a stubborn streak. Woe betide the person who doesn’t do the thing he wants done, exactly the way he wants it done. And he cannot get past it and move on once something like that has happened, so it just escalates into this huge battle of wills and in the end no one wins because the punishments have to fit the crime and the crime becomes more dire as things progress and yes, it seems like I’m being a hardass by denying you bedtime books when you’re already upset but good grief, you got carried up the stairs, who cares if it was by daddy versus mumma, it was no reason to then refuse to get ready for bed. And it’s not like we’re going to let you not get ready for bed, so then there’s cramming pjs on you, and prying open your jaw to briskly pass a toothbrush over your teeth before your howls deafen me. So no, I don’t want to read books to someone screaming at that decibel level. I don’t really want to do anything with you once you reach that state, so it’s a quick dump into bed and perfunctory kiss, opportunity to enrich your memorization of the alphabet be damned.

The worst was two days ago at your granddad’s, when you so didn’t want to come outside and walk in the lovely fall air that you were a complete jerk about it and when I finally got you out there you did nothing but collapse and sulk. When you said you didn’t love me anymore, that was the last straw. I dumped you back inside with your grandma Lynn and declared that I didn’t need to sleep with someone who didn’t love me any more and I would go back to sleeping in my own bed with Daddy, thankyouverymuch.

And who was punished by this? I lay awake in the big hard bed for well over an hour and a half past bedtime, poking J every time he started snoring and wishing for my soft little nest with my fuzzy-haired baby. And I know you were sad too, but even as I craved the cuddles, I felt that I have to hold the line and not let you get away with no consequences to your behaviour.

At 4:30 am I heard you arguing over pillows with your sister and caved. I went in, straightened out the pillow debacle, and sank gratefully into familiar sheets. Of course, you and Grommet were so excited to see me that you both piled on and kept twitching and moving so I couldn’t get back to sleep, but I was so happy to be back it was almost with a sense of relief that I settled in with a sleepy child tucked under each arm, and waiting for morning’s light.

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