Kids: The Gift That Keeps On Taking
|He needs something. Like NOW.|
So I was on vacation with my family a few weeks ago. Not just MY family but my parents and my brothers and their significant others. It was a little weird/sad because suddenly my four kids didn't give a flying fart about me. Instead they were stuck like glue to other people who are cooler, younger, less haggard and way more fun because they never get irritated and want to freak out.
All I can say is I could NEVER in a million years taken four kids to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and survived without them. (Plus, somebody small would have fallen off of those horribly scary giant swings that go on a tiny rope over the entire park. Freaky.)
Anyway, on the last day of "vacation" (notice the quotes- it is because when you have kids there is not such thing as vacation) we were talking about going out to dinner with my little brother and his fabulous girlfriend.
As I am trying to figure out where we should go and he keeps evading the question it suddenly occurs to me: HE DOESN'T WANT TO EAT AGAIN WITH MY CHILDREN.
He actually wanted to...wait for it....eat a nice romantic dinner with his mate without screaming or food throwing or five trips to the potty. You know- like how you do when you date people. Remember?
Think WAY BACK.
Wasn't that nice?
As I quickly review the previous few days I realize that my son who ADORES his uncle has literally been stuck to him like glue. For real- GLUE. (He loves his uncles.) As you know, if you have children and spend time with them on a regular basis- this can get a little overwhelming. So much so in fact that the BATHROOM, which was once a kinda smelly place to relieve yourself suddenly becomes a special oasis with a lock on it.
"MOM!!!! LET ME IN! I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING!!!"Well, an oasis except for the banging and screaming, but you know what I mean.
"I saw you two minutes ago. I will be right out."
"I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!!! SHE TOUCHED ME WITH A TOWEL!!!"
"I always give you privacy when you are in the bathroom. Please do me the same favor."
"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! I NEED YOU!"
So back to my brother. He wanted a moment on HIS vacation to actually relax and not get pulled on. It wasn't that he didn't like the kids, it was just that everybody needs a break. Everybody.
The aunts and uncles are really nice to the kids. They don't see them often so they indulge them and don't tell them to "stop talking" or to "go and do something else right now" like I do. It isn't that I am mean, it is really just that occasionally the pressure in my brain builds up to dangerous levels and I need, what mom's everywhere call a "moment."
I talked to my hubby about this. I told him that I hope my brothers don't think I am mean to the kids. Hubby says they will understand someday, when they have their own. I really think that kids are fabulous and joyful and cute and charming and a gift. I also think that they will take and take and take and take unless you put your foot down every once in a while.
For me, this is where the "Attachment Style of Parenting" gets a little tricky. It seems to make sense that a baby "needs" a lot all the time. I don't want to walk away from their cries for anything.
But gradually they grow bigger. And bigger. And bigger.
Slowly the needs morph into wants but it can be difficult to tell which is which and just HOW MUCH I should give. When is saying "No" necessary for my sanity? When is saying "No" just me being selfish?
It seems obvious that a two year old or an eight year old or anybody else who is given what they want when they want it constantly will develop into a very unpleasant individual.
But my kids, 7, 5, 3 and 1, well they all WANT something almost ALL OF THE TIME. Maybe I am a terrible mom. Maybe I indulge them too much. I can honestly say that I really don't know what the hell is going on. It is quite possible that they are normal. It is also possible that they are very selfish. (Is selfish normal for children? How do you get rid of that because I thought having a bunch of kids would kind of make that extreme self-centeredness impossible.)
I forgot why I was writing this post. It was something about finding balance and setting boundaries and being loving without going crazy and firm and teaching limits without be a psycho hose-beast. (Note to self, hose-beast is actually in the spellchecker!? WHAT THE? Did somebody watch too much Beavis and Butthead or what?)
I was going to say something deep, but now I have a headache because I am tired and I finished some ice cream cake. My point was simply this: I hope I don't screw my kids up too bad and I hope I don't go insane in the process.
Also, there is a possibility I will make a million dollars off of a soundproof bathroom design.
PS- I don't feel to guilty about letting my son totally overwhelm my brother for his entire holiday. My brother bought the kids a working accordion. I am pretty sure he owes me FOREVER.