Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Tides of Parenthood

I took both kids to visit my friend Jo this afternoon. We played in the pool and had a delicious supper together. I, however, have a hard time recalling the details. I feel like I spent the entire time disciplining.

First, I was embarrassed when Cole wouldn't hug Jo in greeting, or even really say hello properly.

Then he and another boy starting to fight over toys. There was some argument over the use of the orange water-squirting pool noodle and the princess flutter board. The other boy accidentally swam over Cole and he got a mouthful of water. A short time later, suspiciously, the other boy was being dragged under by his water wings.

There was drama at supper. Cole didn't want to eat anything. He also wanted to stand up on his chair. So did Amelia. Then Cole wanted a cupcake but didn't want to eat any good and healthy supper. He also wanted to yell and scream about wanting a cupcake and about wishing he could change the rules.

When we were inside, Cole yelled we should go outside. When we were outside, he wanted to play indoors.

When he did finish a sufficient amount of supper to be awarded a cupcake, he licked all of the icing off the top then smashed the remaining cake into his face Cookie-Monster-style. Then he hopped off his chair and smashed the cake crumbs into the cushion. I wanted to crawl under a rock.

I wanted to tidy up before we left, although I was already feeling frazzled and exhausted and very short on patience. Then Cole decided to leave the house without permission. Well, I have some tolerance for food battles and the like, but I have no tolerance for safety issues.

I gave him a prompt time-out in Jo's upper hallway. He vowed to behave.
He got into his pajamas promptly when I requested. He helped me search for Amelia's soother as we were getting ready to leave.  And he whined that he wished we could stay longer as we piled into the car.

Amelia screamed the entire ride home. The only thing worse than the screaming was when she began to cough, because I was very afraid she was going to throw up.

And just as the knot of frustration in my stomach was at its very largest, I tilted the rearview mirror back to see why a sudden hush had fallen over the back seat, only to see that Cole had leaned his body as far as he could toward his sister, stretched his arm out and was holding her hand in comfort.

Then we sang "The Magic Penny" song all the way home.

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