Friday, November 30, 2007

mortal combat

There is almost nothing that makes me as angry as badly behaved children, especially when they are mine.

It has been an autumn of testing boundaries and our expectations. I'd like to think of it as a season, as in "there is a season for everything, a time to be born, a time to die..." A time to try to kick mama's ass with months-long, non-stop verbal torrents of hate speech and beatings applied to the siblings. Also, it has been a season of using all flat surfaces as a toilet, instead of using the actual toilet, making it a season of me wanting to spank the children with a rolled-up newspaper while rubbing their noses in it. However, since they are human babies and not dog babies, I have restrained myself.

Getting Olivia to preschool today was maddening. She was ready to go to school. All that she needed was to put on her shoes, coat and mittens, and walk out the door. Chaos ensued upon receiving the information that is was below 20 degrees outside and she could not wear sandals. I was so proud of myself for setting good limits (she could wear sneakers or her boots) and if she didn't want to cooperate, she could go back to her bed and have time-out until the time school ended, an agonizing 2.5 hours. It took a while for her to get the sneakers on, mostly due to the whining, kicking and screaming the phrase, "I am not living here with you if you make me wear shoes." We walked out the door and literally shuffled down the street to school. (I walked like a normal person; Olivia stomp/shuffled like an angry nursing home patient with a full diaper.) All that, and only 20 minutes late. Not too bad..

Not too bad until I went to pick her up. While I spoke with her teacher, she ran to where her sneakers were, hid them, and came back all in a dither, shouting, "MOM, MOM! SOMEBODY STOLE MY SNEAKERS!!! My BS-ometer was screeching off the charts. I don't need to replay the drama that ensued, but we were at school sorting out the sneaker situation for more than a half an hour. Oddly enough, Olivia was able to locate the stolen items almost immediately after being given the option to retrieve the footwear or receive a spanking in the lobby of the school. We eventually got home, and the ridiculous behavior continued.

Why is it that times like this make me perceive bad parenting as the golden carrot being dangled in front of my nose? Probably because I was four years old once, and the whiff of instant gratification still smells sweet. Lucky for everyone, I have a box of Stever's Dark Chocolate Meltaways stashed in the kitchen for just such an occasion, when I need something just plain nice to keep bad things from happening.

The tall will prevail.

get a job

So my charming daughter has taken to strongly encouraging me to "get a job, you know, so we can be rich!" This makes me cringe, right down to the core of me, for so many reasons..

I've had jobs. Quite a variety, too, if I do say so myself. I worked at an amusement park, as the obnoxious person who strong-arms guests into being photographed, only to strong-arm them into purchasing a crappy souvenir at the end of the day when they are too tired to fight it. At the same amusement park, I operated roller coasters, the Ferris wheel and a number of other less exciting ones. In college, I was the secretary for an optician, and did all sorts of optician-y things there; I taught piano lessons and voice lessons, in addition to teaching music in schools, directing musicals and plays, and spending a horrible year teaching math to junior high aged kiddos. I know how the math gig came to be and yet I cannot wrap my head around the fact that I was hired for that specific task after freely admitting failing math in college. Ah, education. I even spent a year teaching part-time nursery school. To round out this list, I was the music director at my church, and peddled America's favorite pink-hued skin care products.

All this led me to the following conclusions:
1. I should never, ever have spent four years (plus on extra semester) and $100K on an education in education.
2. I really do not like other people's children.
3. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

I will address item #2 another time; my dearest know that their children do not fall into the category of 'other people's children'.

So here I am, a smart girl with lots of ambitions with no career ideas at all. But at the same time, here I am, mama of three of the most intelligent, beautiful, creative children ever to grace the earth. I stay home with them and keep them fed, clean and entertained. And really, I have never loved anything more. There has never been something I have worked so hard at doing, and even when I go to bed feeling like a colossal failure, I can't wait to get up and hold their warm with sleep little bodies, or hear my Wee Man say, "I good nap. Time wake up, Mom.".

I don't want to do something else. I know the time is coming when they will be enormous and want to be away from me. When that happens, I'll decide what it is I want to be when I grow up.