Tuesday, September 24, 2013

10 things that will happen today: big kids edition

These kids were once babies.
Not sure when all this big-ness started....

A week ago I wrote about the way that caring for babies is like the movie Groundhog Day. We are blessed to relive the same day again, and again with our little ones.

Parenting big kids is no different. The events that are set to "repeat" are not the same as they were when our lanky, long-legged little people were infants (thank goodness!), but we face days with the same exhausting or endearing moments scattered between sun up and sun down.

With a nine year-old, an eight year-old, a seven year-old, and a four year-old running amuck, our home is a constant bevy of activity. We are in the throws of big kids around here, and honestly, I do love this season of life.

There are days, though, that I'm pretty sure, these kids are cray-cray, because we have the same conversations again and again, and most days we relearn the wisdom that I really thought they mastered yesterday. But no. Today, it all begins again....

Here are 10 things that will happen today if you have big kids:

10. The child will try to avoid labor. I am almost certain that in every city there is a monthly gathering of children where propaganda against helping "The Mom" is distributed, and methods for evading responsibility are taught. With almost expert precision, they flop on the sofa, find ways to disappear into bedrooms, or give a five point teaching on exactly why they will be unable to sweep the grass clippings. Thankfully, they rely on us for their basic survival, so dinner comes to those who work, thank you very much.

 9. They will ask for more screen time 278 times before lunch. "Can I play an extra ten minutes on the iPad?", "Can I watch a show after I do my homework?", "Can I play on your phone until we get there?", "Can we look up that Lego set I want on Amazon?", "Can we watch a movie in the car?". Nonstop. Constant. Ever-present. This is a tricky of media saturation we live in. I think we may become Amish just so we don't have to learn balance in this area.

8. Soap will be deemed "unnecessary". My children are always astonished when I accurately discern that they have neglected to use soap in the shower. Here is my secret: Children who use soap when they bathe smell like soap. Children who don't use soap in the bath smell like wet dog. It's really pretty easy to distinguish between the two.

7. They will forget the rules. It doesn't matter how many times you state a rule, it is almost 100% assured to be forgotten 85% of the time. For example, our kids aren't supposed to eat in their bedrooms. They know this. Nonetheless, just the other day, one of the boys, took chips and queso back there. Seriously, bright orange queso. Of course the plate was upended and landed queso side down on the new carpet. Of course it did.... No Food In The Bedrooms, People!!!

6. Someone will scream at someone else. (Hopefully, you won't be the person with a megaphone for a mouth.) Kids are loud. They yell when they're mad, they yell when they're happy, they yell when they're sad, they yell when they're playing, they yell when they're fighting. It's loud around here. My ears hurt.

5. You will be treated like the help. It isn't that big kids can't be polite. Most of them have mastered the "please and thank you" skill. It's just that they dole out orders like the King of the All Things. "Make me a sandwich, please." "Have you done my laundry?" "Are you making food that I will be willing to eat for dinner?" It takes creative parenting to remind them that although you are their mother, you are also a human with feelings and value, and you don't exist solely for their benefit.

4. They will say "I love you". They may say it over a bowl of cereal, while their eyes are staring at comic book. They may say it in response to you when you say "Bye, baby, have a great day. I love you!" They may say it after you cook their favorite dessert or buy them the new shoes they've been wanting. Hopefully you will feel like they mean it when it comes to you in moments like these. The golden moments come when they are halfway down the sidewalk, on their way to school, and they turn-tail, run back and tell you really fast, like it is a beautiful revelation, "I love you Mom!" (And your heart melts.)

3. Homework. You graduate from college and you think you are done with all this learning jazz. But, no. Every. Single. Day. You will relearn Algebra, make dioramas of ocean scenes, and generate sparkly posters about the human nervous system like it's your JOB. Because, the school system has decided that it is, in fact, your JOB.

2. Something will be broken. Why do children like to mess with things? Why do they throw combs at the new ceiling fan? Why do they pull so hard on the door knobs? Why do they push the buttons on the washing machines like they are the Hulk? Why do they throw each other plates when they set the table? Why? We don't model these behaviors for them. They didn't learn from us to use the cords on the blinds as climbing devices. Why must they be like this? Why? Why? Why????

1. You will wish for more days with them before they get even bigger. In my mind, I gave birth to all four of my kids sometime last week. The years have flown by at the speed of light. Where did chubby toddler cheeks go? Who taught them to pronounce "blueberry" correctly? When did they stop memorizing the names of Thomas the Train's friends and start logging NFL stats? I don't know the answer to any of those things. Somehow, day by day, bit by bit, they are all growing up. They are doing this in a total act of disobedience to me. I have forbidden the next birthday every year, but still, every year leads to another. Sigh. Someday they will all be teenagers. I hope I don't blink for too long and miss the days while they are still just "big kids"....

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