Humor is also a way of saying something serious. - T. S. Eliot

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Insights on Creating Parenting Misery

At first, it startles me. My voice. When the deafness that has been produced by a long day home with children finally fades away and I can hear myself thinking, it catches me by surprise.  Tonight when I heard my voice, I began thinking about ways that we create our own misery.  I figured out that I create much of my parenting misery by being neurotic, thus, highly reactive.  Small children especially, seem to love overdone reactions.

I think my uncensored reactions create situations such as: 
  • Andi waits til I am looking at her and then puts her fingers to her mouth, as if to eat a small object and then makes a chewing motion.  "NO!" I yell, panicked. "What is in your mouth?"  She smiles as she sees me running to her. 

  • Ella chooses moments we are trying to leave in a hurry to play games with my frazzled mind. Games like...

This One or That One

She asks me if a certain shoe goes on a particular foot, or if the shirt she is about to put on is backwards, etc.  I tell her "nope, other foot".  Then she looks at me with a dead serious look on her face and says "this one?  not that one?".  "Yes, Ella", I tell her.  Then she gets rolling, still dead serious, "this one? not that one? this one? oh ok, not that one, but this one".  As she is doing this, she moves the shoe/shirt back and forth and I'm trying to keep up "Yes that one! No not that one!  ELLA JUST PUT IT ONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!"

  • They do not respond with lightening quickness to my demands.  
On the eve of Professional-Pictures-Getting-Taken-Day, I realize 2 things about my house:  it's dead quiet AND my black permanent marker is missing.  Adrenaline pumping, I find that I am LOCKED out of the bathroom. Knocking, I ask what they are doing.

"We're trying to get our mustaches off".    

"Let me IN RIGHT NOW!" I yell, banging on the door. 

Used to my panicked screaming voice they casually tell me,

"Just a minute."

"Just a frickin' minute my ass," I think as I grab the pen I keep on the bathroom door frame  (does the fact that I keep a pen on the door frame tell you anything?)

When I break into the bathroom with my trusty pen not only do they have black mustaches, but they have drawn on RED eyebrows with another marker. And GREEN CHEEKS. 

"What are you doing? Oh my gosh!" I am so high pitched, it sounds like a squeak. My eyes bulge, I drop to my knees in front of them and they smile. 

Frantically scrubbing their faces, caught between wanting to laugh and wanting to strangle them, I scold myself for enjoying too much silence during the witching hour that normally occurs as I try to prep dinner. No good comes from silence.

Except hearing my own voice.

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