I like this whole parenting thing. I do. I generally believe that my kids are cooler and cuter and just way more awesome than other kids, and am very, very happy that Marc and I are able to have me home full time with them. That being said, sometimes they infuriate me. I have moments when I’m ready to strangle someone and fantasize about an entire day and night where nobody, nobody touches me or wants anything from me. My kids bicker and fight and squabble. Jessie can be super sarcastic and mean to her brother, Sam has developed an odd love of just bugging the heck out of either sister, alternating so at least one of them is screaming at him almost all the time, and my adorable little Julianna, when she’s not achingly adorable and all, is undeniably controlling and firmly believes that screaming until she gets her way is the best way to handle conflict.
Last night, Jessie and Sam decided they wanted ice cream. I have a relatively firm no dessert after dinner rule (I’d rather give them ice cream for breakfast than load them up with sugar before bed) and when they bounced over to me and asked, I just pointed over at Marc wordlessly. It had been a challenging day, filled with temper tantrums and tears and arguing. I’d been home with kids all day, and quite honestly, felt as though it was his turn to deal with the inevitable arguing and whining that was guaranteed when we said no. Instead they both said “okay” (or in Julie’s case, “Otay”) and sauntered back into the living room. Are you kidding me? Just walking away when getting the expected no response? I KNOW for a fact that if I had responded when they asked me, I would have gotten a lot more pushback.
I announced that I was taking a break – I was done with children for the day. For at least the next little while. Sure, they’re cute and I love them and stuff, but that was it. I took my book, headed into the bedroom, and shut the door. It was blissful and quiet and cool, for about three minutes. Because then Jessie came in and laid down next to me. Her stomach hurt. And since I don’t get a lot of cuddle time with my oldest girl, and she was at least pretending to be sick (because I know she wasn’t), I wrapped my arm around her and rubbed her back while continuing to read. About five minutes later, the younger two rolled in. Not doing anything in particular, just came into hang with me. No television, no toys, they just knew that’s where I was and that’s where they needed to be. Despite the fact that I was clearly in NO mood for parental duties, despite the fact that they have toy filled rooms, a television brimming over with recorded shows for them to watch and a kitchen full of snacks – they just wanted to hang with me.
And the odd thing was – they somehow understood that I was on break. I was reading. So they didn’t talk to me, they just chatted with each other, rolled around on the bed and in general, we spent the loveliest little half hour or so, just hanging out and being together. Before Sam started teasing Jessie and Jessie started snapping at Sam and Julie started screaming at everyone to let her watch another godforsaken episode of Doc McStuffins…. we were able to have this quiet little time when I was achingly aware of why I really do love this whole parenting thing. Because I get these awesome kids and sometimes, lots of times, their whole idea of happiness is to just be in the same room with me.