…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.
“Let go of your sister’s neck. Do not pick her up by her arms.”
“Stop talking so loud. Please be quiet and let me think for one minute.“
“If you yell at the table one more time you are going to time out. You shout. You’re out.”
“That’s it. I’ve had enough bickering for the evening. Everyone in bed. Now.”
“You need to go say you are sorry too. It doesn’t matter if she started it.”
“We all help clean up because we are a family and we help each other.”
“You can either help match the clean socks or go play by yourself.”
“Stop telling on your sister and focus on what you need to do.”
“Go. To. Bed. And no more getting up.”
“If you get up again you will need to tuck yourself back in.”
“No you can’t sleep in here. It will wake the baby, baby. Please go back to your bed. I love you.”
“If you aren’t going to eat your peas than there will be no dessert. That’s your choice.”
“You cannot wear the itchy dress to school. Your skin is too dry right now. It does not matter if Aliviah is dressing up. Your Momma said no and we don’t do things just because ‘everyone’ else is. We’ve talked about this”
“You go to school tomorrow. Not today. Put your backpack down please and finish your Cheerios.”
“Asked and Answered.”
Again and again I hear words come out of my mouth and they feel unkind in that heart of the moment. These children, they push and push and push. That perseverance, that confidence, that determination, it will serve them well as adults. In the meantime, it’s this hard parenting work that ties my stomach in knots and drains the energy right out of my tired head each day.
Did I just break their spirit or teach them a valuable lesson that was really as necessary as my voice insisted it was?
No, she isn’t thanking me now when she pops out of bed for the 6th time insistent she has to tell me again why she needs to wear the shiny pink dress to school for the egg hunt all the while scratching at the itchy patch on her belly.
No, she doesn’t sound grateful at all as she is hauled out of the kitchen hollering her teacher’s name, her insistent fist tightly wrapped around her Dora backpack on a Wednesday morning before the sun has even come up.
No, the baby is quite certain we are wrong and she should be back up climbing the bed frame and toppling over our tired selves rather than staying put in her pack-n-play and sleeping for more than a 3-4 hour stretch at a time.
It breaks me, this firmness. This need to hold fast to the routines and rules. It breaks them when we give in to their whims. It’s not the free-range, light-hearted, happy-go-lucky parent I envisioned when I saw that first positive test. Their tears bring my own when I turn around.
Of course, I hadn’t actually met my children at that point either…