Last week at PE I had a friend say she read my blog and thought I only had good days (or something like that). A second friend said, “Well, she’s not gonna blog about the BAD ones!” My response… a delayed and hesitant, “Weellll… I do… sometimes…” And by sometimes, I’m referring to this time, or this time….
That conversation has stuck with me all week because I don’t want to be one of those people who is so sweet and positive that people don’t believe I’m sincere. I’ve met those kinds of people. There are the ones who are so sweet you know they’re hiding something underneath. And then there are others who are really that nice and that positive that you really want to dislike them but you can’t help yourself… you genuinely like them, even if you couldn’t be around them 24/7. I don’t want to be in either of those two categories, so if I am one of them, just tell me now.
But it did make me wonder: What makes me write what I write? Why do I choose the topics I choose? Do I not want to remember the rough days or is it that I just don’t want to broadcast the bad ones? The answer to that last set of questions is no. I DO want to remember the bad days because they are still part of our life. I don’t really mind sharing my bad days, the less than stellar moments. Regarding what makes me write what I write, I often write what goes along with my photography. I have my camera(s) in hand a lot. I keep both out, on my computer stand, so that I can grab them when I see a moment I want to capture. My video camera is always handy, even if I don’t upload/edit that video frequently, at least I know it’s recorded and I will get to it eventually. It’s preserved until the moment I can play with it. So I guess the reason my blogs tend to be positive or happy is because those are the moments I usually grab my camera.
When the boys are fighting and need me to intervene, I am not reaching for my camera… maybe the wooden spoon, but not the camera. (Just kidding. We don’t believe in spanking at our house. Oh wait… you could hear the people laughing… yes, we do believe in spanking and yes, I do use a wooden spoon. Occasionally. But never in conjunction with a camera, I assure you.) When someone is getting in trouble, my first thought is, “Why am I having to say this again. I’ve said it plenty of times before and he KNOWS what I expect of him.” The camera does not cross my mind.
Today, I realized another reason I don’t tend to blog the bad moments… they’re fleeting. This afternoon, after the “miserable” moments we had, I sat down to work on organizing the kajillions of pictures I take on my external hard drive. I was cooling off from said “miserable” moment. I had a blog formulating in my mind, knowing that I’d, for ONCE, assure my vast (haha!!) readership that I can write about the bad days. But within 10 minutes the moment was over and I was no longer fuming. The boys were all settled into their rooms for their much needed rest times, Parker was snuggly warm in his winter PJs (see below… it’s related to the “miserable” moments), and I was in my happy-place. Photos. Editing. Organizing. Mac-ing. (That’s computerese for those of you who are hating on Macs.) The blog title had come, I had even figured out which picture was going to be at the top of the column of pictures. But, the frustration that had sparked the whole thing was gone. I realized that the annoyance that sparked it lasted only a few brief moments while the joy of a great day lasts ALL day! Like last Thursday when we had such a great day at PE (and Parker gave me a flower and the bigs rode their bikes like pros)… that joy lasted all day and I was still warm from it the next day. But the anger and annoyances the boys sparked in me during today’s “miserable” moments faded so quickly. And I knew that THAT’S the main reason I don’t have much negative to say. It doesn’t stick around a long time. I think I get that from my mom. She can see the bright side of a storm! Give her a bad situation, she’ll find the good in it. It has really helped me in this Army life, that’s for sure.
So now… to share our miserable moments with you… as promised!
So, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I’m listening to “Boys Should be Boys” by Dr. Meg Meeker. She highly encourages parents to disconnect from what they “have” to do and spend time with their boys. Doing stuff. So, today after I had my coffee we played a fun round (or 3) of Family Fluxx.
The bigs went outside for a while and came back in quite content to play together and a couple even worked on puzzles. (We’re starting to get into puzzles! The ones with 200+ pieces.)
Then it was lunch time, and I made their favorite: Kraft Mac and Cheese. All was going so well up to this point. No attitudes. No complaining that I had told them last week that they could only watch 2 TV shows a day. They were saving them for later in the afternoon. Then, someone asked if they could fill up Parker’s baby pool that we keep on the front porch. I saw no reason to say no, so I didn’t. In fact, I thought that it might be a fun time to put Parker’s teeny-tiny bathing suit on him and let HIM have a turn.
So, as the bigs were filling up the pool, I dressed Parker, complete with swimmy diaper, just in case. As I came down the hallway with my adorable nakey baby I realized I needed to get my Compact Flash card back in the camera. I handed Parker to a big brother who directly took him out to the pool. I got my camera ready as quickly as I could, but I missed the first few moments of Parker in the pool. (I like to capture the first expressions, if I can.) I let that go, because, up to this point, nothing had gone wrong. But in the next 20 minutes, I heard myself say so many reprimands and warnings that, had I been a casual bystander, I would have thought that either my boys were horribly behaved brats or that I was a nit-picky mom. (Could be both, today.) Among the annoying things they did: made Parker sit on his bottom, letting the super cold water freeze his little tummy; held the water hose out of the water, coming close to splashing me, my camera, or the baby (or another brother); filled a water bottle up and shook the water out, again, splashing people and things not meant to be splashed; I was about to list another, but no… these were the three things I had to fuss about over and over again. I wanted to get a good video of Parker, as he was mostly enjoying himself, but it seemed that all one would hear on the video was me fussing at them.
I finally gave up and went inside for towels, which the boys had (once again) forgotten. When I got back, one of the bigs (notice how I am not betraying which one specifically) handed Parker to me…dripping wet…before I could get outside. So, I stood inside my house holding two dry towels and one completely miserable, soaking wet sponge, I mean, baby. My hard wood floor was soaking wet. I rushed Parker to the kitchen (tile floor) and got his bathing suit off as well as the diaper. I wrapped him in one of the towels and threw (um, gently handed) the other towel out on the porch, locking the bigs out. I was furious at this point. Livid.
I took Parker, who was FREEZING, to his room, and dressed him in socks, a onesie, AND WINTER PAJAMAS!! (See, I told you I’d explain.) I then put him in bed and he was very happy there.
About the time I got back to the living room, the bigs were knocking on the door. Were they dry? Nope. They were still dripping wet, waiting on me to open the door. I stood there and told them, through the door, to dry off or I was not opening the door. Finally, one by one, they dried off. I sent them directly to their rooms, followed each of them so I could get their wet suits and hang them on the towel heater (awesomeness!) to dry. I was DONE. I have no idea how many times I said, “Well, THAT was miserable.” I am glad SuperNanny cams weren’t in my house our they’d have a counter at the bottom of the screen, tallying up the total.
Fast forward 20 minutes and all was well in the world. I was thinking back and realizing that it really hadn’t been all that bad. I had imagined it to be much better than it had gone and that was partly due to the fact that I hadn’t set any rules before we got in the water. The teacher in me knows that I needed to have reminded them that we don’t splash people who don’t want to be splashed and that the hose has to stay under water while the baby (and the camera) are out there. I should have set some guidelines and I should have told them what the consequences would be if they DIDN’T abide by the guidelines. But this time I expected perfection before giving them the expectations. Recipe for disaster and failure if there ever was one. And I knew better. But I still failed… miserably. Like that play on words?!? See how the moments were miserable because I failed to plan?
All I can say is that I’m thankful that it was only those moments that were miserable. Those moments didn’t ruin our day. The rest of the day was really nice. Dinner was great (well, most of us liked it… Bailey, not so much). Our evening was fine. But those few moments were really, really miserable.
(But I have to admit, looking back at the pictures of the bigs holding that stupid water bottle, I’m still annoyed at them for being so difficult! They should have known better!)