And I’m not even referring to the heat, even though I’m almost convinced the sun was born here.
Yesterday was a day.
It started out rough with the boys interrupting an overseas video-chat I had with my friends who still live in Germany. And by interrupting I mean they followed me out to the porch, then to the back bedroom and knocked on the (locked) door while I tried to pretend I didn’t hear them. Matt was home… he could handle whatever needed to be done, but apparently only mom would do. So I ignored them and kept on chatting and by the time I got off the phone I was pretty annoyed. Nice-mama didn’t necessarily emerge from the (locked-for-a-reason) bedroom.
I have to admit that my emotional state wasn’t dictated by only the previous 30 minutes while I tried to have a conversation with my girlfriends… it was a culmination of a few weeks of trials that we’ve had going on. Things I haven’t written about but really want to.
First off, I don’t know exactly how to write about one of the topics without going into too much detail and betraying trust between myself and one of my children. One day he’s going to have internet access and may run across this blog post. Basically he’s irritable more often than he’s ever been before, short-tempered with his brothers, and talking back to me and unwilling to accept correction when needed. I’ve tried to limit how much I correct lately, so that he doesn’t feel like I’m always after him, but I can’t let a disrespectful attitude or tone go uncorrected. Because he’s short with everyone in the family, it seems I’m having to be on top of him all day. There’s a balance here, and I’m not sure where it is. I don’t want to allow back-talk, but I also don’t want to push him away.
Another topic has to do with a toddler’s bowels which, almost no one wants to hear about… Let me just say that a toddler who has been potty trained for a few months and then has to move across the country might begin to have trouble with the “number two” issue. Very few things can get a mama more worried than when her very-regular-child waits a week to “go” and then, for the following three weeks, acts as if he’s in pain every time. (Is he faking? Is he just scared? Does he need to go to the doctor? Should I limit milk, bananas and cheese and force grapes, water, and the dreaded prunes? You KNOW he’s not going to eat prunes.)
Anyway, I had all that on my mind and then the issues of the preteen who was all emotional, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had them do their chores, then their math, and then asked them quite nicely (not being sarcastic, here) to stay in their rooms for another 30 minutes. I needed a cool-down time. I needed to not have to entertain, referee… I really just needed a break.
I sent a note to three friends who know me, know my personality, and know my kids. I told them (in even more detail, bless their hearts) what was going on here. I knew that they’d do more than sympathize with me. They prayed for me.
And when my kids emerged from their rooms a few minutes later, I was ready to be a parent again. I whipped up a picnic and we headed to the pool.
While there Parker managed to do his business for the first time in several days (in the pool’s bathroom, not the pool, lest you worry that we contaminated the water) and that was a huge relief for both of us. No pain whatsoever, and he was actually quite pleased. I was literally praying out loud as I sat him on the potty (for the third time since we got to the pool) that he would be able to go. After he had success he pointed to the water and said, “YAY GOD! That’s what you were praying for!” Yes, son, moms find themselves praying for all sorts of things!
And then my bigs played together nicely, even the one who has been having a tough time lately. He kept his attitude in check, was polite to me, and I think we may have turned a corner. I’ve never raised a teen before and we’re entering such a new stage with three tweens. I don’t know what it’s like to be a preteen boy and I barely remember what it was like to be a preteen girl. My friends prayed for both of these sons yesterday and our day was so much better as a result.
I’m glad I don’t have to do this parenting-thing on my own, and I refuse to fall into the trap of thinking I am the only one struggling with certain issues. I would love for those of you who have weathered the preteen age with your kids to tell me what it was like… I wonder if the son of mine who is struggling right now is having a hard time due to the fact that he’s entering a tough age or if it’s related to the PCS. I simply don’t know.
And on top of that, two of my boys woke up this morning with fever, sore throat, no appetites, slight nausea, headache… tell-tell symptoms of strep throat. We have an appointment for them to be seen in an hour and a half. They’ve been more sick in the past two weeks than in the past three years. (Two with ear infections, four with fevers off-and-on for the past two weeks, sore throat, headaches… goodness I’m about ready for them to just be well.) Super thankful we’re no longer in hotels but in an apartment.
In light of all that, we’re still doing really well. I just don’t want to be accused of only sharing the good side of life. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes, even when there’s no big crisis to deal with we still feel down, overwhelmed, and at the end of our rope. I started reading Unglued today. Might just be perfect timing…
And for your entertainment, a very Texan longhorn: