Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Exasperation and Gratitude

My children seem to be on cycle wherein they can only manage not to be a total pain in the ass every other day. Take this week for example. Monday was from hell, complete with ear-splitting tantrums and whining that could raise the dead. In fairness to the kids, cute woodworker guy and I could have handled some of the tantrums a little better but, good GAWD, that was a long day. Then yesterday, Tuesday, all rainbows and sunshine and loveliness. And this morning, well, the jury is still out, it could go either way at this point.

I think Kai is going through a growth spurt because he is spectacularly clumsy at this moment, and sensitive to the point of lunacy. The things he is flipping out over don't even make sense. And then, on a day like Tuesday, he is all smiles and giddiness at the joy of being alive. He said, and I quote "This is the BEST day EVER because there is ice on the driveway!" How can you not love that? His mood swings are intense, and some days I can't keep up. I know this is a phase. He goes through this every time he has a developmental leap, but it can be hard to remember that fact when you are trying to tell someone that he can have a new apple and doesn't need to freak out over the one that fell in the mud.

We are working on him articulating what is bothering him instead of howling and crying at the top of his lungs. So far, what it boils down to, is that sometimes he thinks being the oldest stinks. He wishes he didn't have to be the oldest, it can be really hard and he doesn't know what to do about it. I am gonna put him in touch with my eldest sister and Zach's eldest sister, both of whom will be able to commiserate with a hearty "True dat!"

Birth order is a tricky business and can so deeply affect who we become. I don't think he realizes what a spectacular older brother he is, although I try to point it out to him all the time. His younger siblings worship him, but of course, even adoration can get old. And he has a legitimate gripe. Those little dudes can be maddening.

Grace is actually going through a delightful lovey stage with me. Lots of kisses (she used to be stingy) and lots of "I love you" s are making for a very sweet moment in her life. At the same time she has also resumed hitting and biting her older brother when she isn't worshipping him and has discovered the wonderful world of taunting. Yeah, it's not so cool for him.

And can I just mention how much tattling drives me bananas! "Mom, Grace said that she wanted to ......." fill in the blank. "Mama!!!!! Kai tried to......." fill in the blank. Jesus Christ, that is annoying. Basically, I don't want to hear about anything that could get someone into trouble, only if someone needs help getting out of trouble. Like, if someones head is stuck in the banister, that is information I want. And blood, I do like having blood reported to me. Otherwise, work it the hell out between yourselves! Honestly, there are days I want to put them in a padded room and let them go to town on each other.

Oh, but they are so achingly sweet together too. And they make each other laugh like no one else. And they are always thinking of the other. If one is leaving to go do something without the other they hug and kiss goodbye and say "I love you" and practically rend their clothes at the prospect of a separation of a mere few hours. And the reunions! Hallmark doesn't have commercials this sappy.

And even after the craziest days, where feelings are so raw and a cup of juice poured in the wrong glass is a tragedy of the worst sort, I am filled with the deepest sense of gratitude that I get to be here with them. Gratitude and somewhere in me, mirth. Because no matter how insane they are being, there is a part of me that sees the hilarity in some of our more trying moments.

Last night, Noah was up most of the night with a high fever and we were snuggling in bed. He wasn't too fussy, he was kind of dozing on my shoulder and Zach would periodically leap out of bed for Motrin or another bottle of formula and I felt the deepest sense of happiness and peace. My big kids were sound asleep in their beds after a day of decorating the house, my baby, though sick was safe and snoozing in my arms and my husband was holding me and telling me he loved me. It was that kind of quiet that only comes in the wee hours and our house felt like a haven. I know how lucky I am. Zach and I both do. We talk about it all the time, really, almost every day and even in the moments when I am sure they are trying to drive me crazy, I hang onto that. I am so very grateful for the life I lead.

Thanksgiving Pictures

He's all cheeks and sweetness this one. Easiest baby in history.

Making apple pies with Oma.

Noah is concerned about the camera, not his brother.

Snacks with cousins Matteo and Luca.

Painting while daddy and cousin Mark play music in the background.

At this point in the weekend, Kai and I just gave up and stayed in our pajamas all day. It was the elastic waistbands you see.

Two exceedingly sweet men.

1 comment:

Lori said...

April, you always crack me up and I think the kids you had gathered for Thanksgiving were the most lovely array of beauty in children!!!

I SOOO second you on the tattling...though imagine it times 20 and they are NOT your kids (though you wish some of them were) and you have absolutely no recourse save taking recess (which you TOTALLY do not want to do because it is worse for you in the end...really) and those are my days! My motto is--If you are not bleeding, dying, throwing up or on fire--or someone could end up in one of those situations--I do NOT want to hear about it. Any of those situations--TELL me about them. Do not TATTLE. So, I always ask if they are tattling or telling...and tattlers have to give the tattlee (hmm...lovely abuse of our language) something token to make ammends. Trust me, when the tattler has to give something to the one he or she tattles on (like a candy coin or some other incentive I have in my room) EVEN though there was valid circumstance--but not life endangering and worth my time (so and so said 'shut up' or so and so touched your desk or so and so isn't in the right order in line)they start thinking about what they really want to tell me. It takes a while to condition...and I have some I have just dubbed my town criers and actually (though I won't tell them) depend on some of their information for research purposes :) but for the most helps. Tattling drives me NUTS. I laughed out loud at what you wrote because you are right--for pete's sake--just work some things out yourselves!!!!