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 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.
"I saw you two minutes ago.  I will be right out."
"I always give you privacy when you are in the bathroom.  Please do me the same favor."
  Well, an oasis except for the banging and screaming, but you know what I mean.

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.

Peace out!

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.


momto5 said…
LOL. i always thought that if you had a lot of kids, that selfishness would sort of not happen because well, there is just so many people around all the time. but my younger set are very selfish. it sort of knocks me out at times. so my guess is that it is completely normal for them to be attention whores and always want "the most" or at least it is "always fair" of everything. my 10 year old is getting better, the 14 is very good at giving and understanding, my 18 is great at it (ok well most of the time. LOL) but the 8,5, and the baby... dang! although honestly i figure the baby is gonna be selfish, she is only 18 months old. but the other kids, i guess it is just shocking to me, i really do think sometimes... "what did i do wrong? why don't they share? why don't they see s/he needs help?"
i don't know. all i know is that YES your brother totally owes you after that accordion thing! LOL
Enjoy Birth said…
An accordion. That is a "great" gift. He does owe you!

They do talk non-stop and I would buy a soundproof bathroom if you invented one.
Tracy Lowman said…
Soundproof bathroom - you have to build a room within a room - with trapped airspace between the walls and two doors (like an airlock). My husband is an audio engineer. I've asked for this myself on multiple occasions. I've even drawn plans and left them lying around. Same concept as a drum room honey - only instead of drums, it will contain happiness.
The Quinns said…
Drums. You should buy his future kids drums. And maybe a pony :)
Unknown said…
Can I just say I love your blog, I love your writing, but this post . . . I might print this out and reread it every day. It was hilarious and so true all at the same time. I think I'm constantly worried I"m messing up my kiddos because I JUST WANT A FREAKING MINUTE to eat a bite sitting down. And then I say "Go play" and stress that they're going to feel abandoned. Sheesh! Anyways - thank you for sharing. I totally related.
Chloe grice said…
ALL kids are selfish, it's just the way they are: it just is surprising when you do your best to teach them not to be and yet they still grab at everything anyway!

I'm thinking more along the lines of a soundproof turret with remote camera and loudspeaker? That way you can watch them & yell same as usual but from a little distance ;-)
Mama Birth said…
Pony! NICE ONE! It will come with a shovel.
melissa v. said…
LMAO!!! WOWWWWW!! You are freakin hilarious. And awesome. Hell to the yeah about the attachment parenting weirdo balance thing; I think you and I are so similar it's almost the twilight zone. Do you like The Hunger Games? Because if you do, we are a messed up version of reincarnation, where we both reincarnated at the same time but were the same person. Too funny (and pardon me if this sounds weird but I also just finished some ice cream and am rather brain fuzzy).

I'm hoping with time my kids will learn not to be so self centered. And what is up with the bathroom? I'm always peeing with a toddler ON MY LAP. Being in the room isn't enough. LAP, MOMMY! LAP!
Rachel said…
@tracy: a soundproof bathroom of happiness! That comment made my day. Niche market in the making ;)
Stephanie said…
I am the youngest sister, and I cringe at my kids birthdays when I remember the fish/fish tanks I gave my nieces, drums I gave my nephew, the ridiculously expensive-to-care-for frog (yes, it was real), and tinker toys. Those stinking tinker toys that make you cuss like a sailor when you step on them in the middle of the night. You know the ones I mean. And I tend to slowly morph from an AP towards more structured, family focused parenting between 2 and 4. So I totally get that :)
Nathaniel said…
yes, the accordion was genius!! you're welcome kids!