Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Now Understand Child Leashes, and Ritalin, and Cages, and…

There was a day when my childless self would be casually strolling through the mall and would come across a woman who was being dragged around mercilessly by the child that she was tethered to via a child harness, and I would think, “That poor kid. How could that mother put her child on a leash? I will never put my child on a leash.” If I saw that same woman today I would most likely stop her and say, “So, um, where did you get that leash and does it come in purple?” My kids are maniacs and they are the reason that I am currently pounding a serious amount of medicinal chocolate and peanut butter.

OK, so they aren’t exactly maniacs, but they have this reserve of boundless energy that is always bubbling away just below the surface waiting to explode and I am the one responsible for keeping it all in check. Their personalities are staggeringly independent, and they have a will that couldn’t be bent by a nuclear bomb.

I see other children calmly walking down the street hand-in-hand with their mothers and it appears to be a picture of perfect serenity. My kids are typically hauling ass ten feet in front of me racing each other for bragging rights and the title of The One Who Made Mommy Lose Her Mind. There’s a trophy and everything. Elyse absolutely refuses to hold my hand when we are taking Aaron to school and she stubbornly grabs her own hand and repeats, “My hand Mommy. My hand Mommy.”

Today, I was feeling guilty for not taking Elyse to more story times and other various extracurricular activities like I did with Aaron when he was her age. So at the last minute, I decided that she and I would go to our local story time after we dropped Aaron off at school. Just like Aaron, she refused to sit and listen to the story because there was apparently something half way across the library that required her immediate attention, and I spent half of the story time chasing her down. Everyone else…EVERYONE else, sat and calmly listened. Not her. I will admit that she did come around for the songs and she was really into the craft at the end, but she could not force herself to sit still for five minutes to hear the story.

Then, she and I went to get Aaron at the end of the day and when we got there, the lobby was overflowing with parents. I guess there was some kindergarten program this afternoon and these parents were waiting to pick up their kids. Typically there are only about five other parents in that lobby when I go to get Aaron. So it was mayhem and all I wanted Elyse to do was sit in the chair next to me while things cleared out, but she was having none of it. She eventually threw herself to the ground and I walked out in shame as the woman who couldn’t control her toddler.

When I am with them I feel the need to go up to everyone in observance and explain, “You know, I wasn’t always this scattered. Really, I have it under control. Really... I swear…REALLY.! Oh who am I kidding? I don’t even believe that load of crap.”

My mother has told me that my two sisters and I all together were nothing in comparison to my kids individually. Mike’s mom has revealed that even his brother who followed a dog away from the house and down the road as a child was no match for my children. Mike and I are not rambunctious people. We are really very quiet, reserved individuals. Where did these kids come from? I say they were switched at the hospital after they were born, but Mike thinks that the chance of that happening twice to the same couple is highly unlikely.

I comfort myself by rationalizing that their challenging, boisterous personalities are a side effect of their absolute brilliance. I believe without a doubt that they are destined for greatness and are going to achieve important, fantastic things. And when that day comes, I will be exploding with a sense of accomplishment myself as I will know that I got them to that moment and didn’t strangle the crap out of them somewhere along the way.

Serenity now!


Grimm said...

Are you sure you and my wife aren't sisters somehow?

Fear not, the only way we can get Julia or Lucy to walk with us is to bribe them with ice cream or cotton candy and even then it's 50/50 odds they will come through.

Fantastic post.

Amy said...

Dave, I have been saying that Leslie and I were separated at birth for a very long time. She and I seem to always be in the same place emotionally, at the same time.