Friday, November 11, 2011

Its scary to be a kid

For the last 10 years, I have been stuck in a vacuum of diapers and bottles and preschool programs, first steps and first teeth and big girl beds, etc. These all-consuming tasks that seem to take up every waking minute I have (and often those I don't have) render me guilty of sometimes overlooking those grade school troubles that often fly under the radar. Often, especially when a child is so self-sufficient at an early age, its easy for them to be pushed to the back of the pack when there's a stream of little siblings vying for your attention. After all, she can take her own shower, brush her teeth and fold her laundry. He can tie his shoes, get dressed and make his own breakfast. They assert their independence in many little (and sometimes big) ways. "MOOOOOOM! You're embarrassing me!!" Tim and I were in for a real treat when we realized that we became "lame" before they were even 10.... Seriously??
I never feel at any point like I "have it all together." On the contrary, I usually feel like our daily life is a teeter-totter. Its never prefectly balanced. If I've taken the kids to the park, hosted their friends for lunch and swimming or met up with friends or family for the afternoon - you can tell. The laundry's 5 loads (or 15) deep, the dishwasher needs to be emptied and you could easily wipe "DUST ME" on my console table. I like to think (or desperately hope) that its akin to a balanced diet as in
Its what you eat in a week versus a day that really counts. Just as there are those moments that stop you on a dime, slapping you in the face and telling you "Wake Up!! Pay attention to what's important here!!" there are also those moments that tell you , "Settle down, you're doing a good job. They get it." Finley had an especially rough night a couple nights ago - apparently she decided her bangs were in immediate need of an emergency trim right at the moment Tim was trying to get the baby in bed and I was ironing her patches on her new Daisy smock. (Let me just say I have NEVER had a child cut their own hair before. Never.) Thank the Lord she went with a smallish patch and not too hideously short. There was hope. I fixed them and she looked in the mirror. . . Only to promptly burst into tears (and when I say tears, I mean a high pitched shrieking reminiscent of Darryl Hannah in Splash.) at which point she began gasping, crying harder and screeching over and over "I look so weird! I look so weird!" Now at this point I did what any good mother would do - I called in reinforcements. After a stern talk telling the other kids verbatim what I expected them to say and reminding them not to smile or laugh, I brought in her brothers and sister. They gushed and told her how beautiful she looked and all seemed to be okay.
I continued to put the Daisy patches on the vest and a few minutes later Carter came in to see Finley again. My almost 7 year old presented his little sister with a container of playdough, his favorite pencil and his $2 from the tooth fairy to make her feel better. His most prized possessions.... and a card . . .

which reads: "You have 100 friends. You are the best out of all of them and you are the best in the whole world."

Apparently the front was softening the blow for the back of the card, which reads: "Your fish died. I'm really sorry."

And there you have it. They get it. It was funny, but so sweet and innocent in a 7 year old boy way. He used what he had to show his sister he cared and tried to make her feel better. Of course, it caused a whole new wave of tears (aka shrieking) and a "burial at sea" for Red Billy (I feel ashamed I never knew his name until his passing...)

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