Tuesday, January 6, 2009
In search of an instruction manual
Being pecked to death by ducks
Now, if you only have one child, and that child is under the age of 30 months of age, and they are still sweet smelling, cute, cuddly and think you are the moon and stars this post is not for you. Just move on, enjoy your sweet child and ignore what I am about to say. But, if you have more then one child, preferably more then two children and if they are of the age where they can reason and argue and make your life generally exhausting then read on my dear friend....
I have decided it is not the huge decisions in parenting that tire me out. You know, like should they go to kindergarten this year or next. (this year) Should we have them do chores or not. (Definetly) Should they be allowed to own a video game (no way) They want to quit, can they? (they finish what they start) Do we buy them a car, or do they have to get their own? (Their own) ... these have been the easy decisions to make. It is the endless tiny seemingly inconsequential decisions that are slowly killing me, or, at least prematurely aging me! Because each of these little decisions are NOT inconsequential!!! With each little fight, battle, or "issue" you are setting a precedent; you are setting a standard for how your child will act about something the next time this or another issue comes up.
Example - if I am too tired to address the fact that supper is not getting eaten (after all the time it took to cook it) however before the dishes are even cleaned the snacking has begun - in a weeks time I will have a real struggle on my hands. Or if today I don't confront the child that is speaking rudely to me today in a few years time I have absolutely no control. Allowing small things to pass is really opening the door for really bad behavior later. Do I send them to school when they say they aren't feeling all that good -- They are tired, once they get there they will probably be fine... or not?... (they weren't ok I got a call from the school nurse before 8 am)
Yet, it is the bombardment of these issues that can slowly beat you down as a parent. I have it coming from 4 ways... it is like juggling 4 knives and a bowling ball, a slip of one and boy, what a mess!
Today, I had 30 seconds to make a decision about our wee one in a stressful situation. SO, I considered his personality and how it would effect the flow of the routine tomorrow. I considered how he had been behaving so far this morning, and the physical capabilities of his body to do what I was asking him to do. I was alone and had to consider how this decision would effect me and our wee one who was still at home. In the end I threw my kindergartner on the bus crying (running out to the waiting bus with him in my pajamas and slippers (without soles) hair looking much like a mad woman's) he cried on the bus, I cried on the way into the house.
For my own survival and humor I looked for an instruction manual online. I didn't find one. (surprise) Actually I saw what one Dr. called an instruction manual for kids, but it couldn't be because it was too small! I decided that they could never sell a proper manual to the general public because that book would have to be so large and so all inclusive that you couldn't print it all, lift it, or afford it, plus where would you store it?
In the end I got a call from the school nurse and had to go in anyway. By the time it was all done I was drained; emotionally exhausted! It is not the big decisions, but, rather the seemingly inconsequential decisions that in the end really do matter. These are our responsibilities and if we waver on these decisions, the ones that exhaust us now, we will be in a heap of trouble later. Eventually there are vehicles, boys, grades, and illegal substances to worry about. We are building a foundation and anyone who has done construction knows that dirt work is not easy....