Monday, May 10, 2010

The Dance

We have a dance, she and I. I'm not sure if it's a tap dance or a jig, but it's a dance we do daily and it's wearing me out. I offer suggestions and then wait, holding my breath, my feet waiting for the dance to begin. Will she yell, scream, slam doors, tell me she hates me? Or will she just simply say "thank you Mama" and go about her business? Sadly, the former is more of our life lately and it's hurting my heart.

Softball. She's the veteran on the team by a year. She is a good fielder; good arm, good idea of where she needs to be and when she needs to be there. She asks to pitch and Doug lets her. She struggles and we both offer suggestions. Suggestions lead to full on meltdown in front of parents, players, coaches. Lots of "I'm horrible, I stink, I don't want to play" fill the air. Is the pressure too much? No one expects perfection. We just want her to have fun. She is not having fun. Neither are we.

Music. She is taking keyboard lessons weekly at school and practices at home on our piano. She is learning the recorder for music class. She rushes through each practice session like she's on fire, never stopping to really learn any of the pieces that her teacher has given her. When she struggles, I try to help. I've been a musician since I was 10. She is better than I was when I was younger. Hell I didn't learn to read bass clef until I was in college and she already knows it. She fights my suggestions, getting defensive. "I'm no good, I won't earn my belt" she yells. Then she puts the recorder away and goes to her room to read and will yell at me when I reminder her that she still has at least 20 minutes of piano practice time to get in.

The dance has left me sad. It's left me angry. I don't want to do this dance every day. If I leave her to do things on her own, then I hear that "I don't care about her and don't pay attention to her" and if I remind and try to help and pay attention, I get hear "You make me nervous. Go away. I don't want you here".  It's a never ending dance. I go right, she wants left. I go forward and she takes three steps back and whirls away. Do I let her go? Do I pull her closer at the risk of pushing her further away? Some days the dance is too much and I put away my dance card and tell her I'm done.  Some days I wake up hopeful that the dance will be a slow, easy dance or even no dance for the day. My feet are tired and I keep stepping on toes that I'd rather not step on. When will this dance end?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Free For All

I am so very happy it's Friday. It's sunny, cool and crisp outside. Doug is off today, which was planned, then unplanned, then magically happened at 5 pm last night. So, I had him take the big kids to school with the twins in tow, took a long, hot shower and started the first of eleventy bazillion loads of laundry that I do on a weekly basis. Hell I even got to shave my legs! It's a good day indeed.

I'm glad he's home today because the kids have been nightmares lately. Everything is a battle with them. They won't put away their toys, or take their dirty clothes to the laundry room or wash their hands when they come inside. I'm constantly refereeing wars between them over one of the thousands of toys we have, or where they will sit on the couch to watch their very limited tv. It's exhausting. I may have to take my mother-in-law's tactic of threatening to give them to the Indians, except that is so totally not PC, so maybe I'll just give them to the gypsies. Ok, that's not PC either, so would it be bad if I just left them in the woods aka Hansel and Gretel? No? Crap.

Tomorrow we're leaving them with our excellent babysitter Erika and going with friends to see the Red Sox play the Yankees. The last time we attempted such fun with these friends, we got this. Guess what the weather is predicted to be in Boston tomorrow? RAIN. COLD. Sigh. I guess it's our destiny. At the very least, we'll get a beer and a sausage sandwich from a street side vendor and have some fun.

Sunday is Mother's Day. Mother's Day hasn't always been kind to me since I became a mother. There was that Mother's Day in Rome, where Meg had a massive meltdown in the middle of St. Peter's Square because we wouldn't let her get in a fountain. We actually videotaped her "act" and replayed it to her in the hotel so she could see how horrible she had been acting. Then the Mother's Day a couple of years ago where we had to cancel our family brunch because the kids were acting so awful while we were trying to get the house ready and we just couldn't imagine having people come and deal with them. This year ALL I want from my kids (of course I want lovely sentiments from Doug) is for them to treat me, and each other, nicely for that one day. I want a day of not having to yell at them, of not having to separate kids while they're pulling hair and scratching faces, of not hearing how my kids hate me and want me to go away. Maybe I should go away for the day instead of setting the bar so high. It seems like a pretty lofty goal.

I'm going to enjoy some of the lovely weather with my girls. They like to help water the gardens. I have them get their sand buckets or empty pots and fill them with water and they get to water the bigger bushes while I water the rest. It appears to be a good project for them to help me with, except for when they pour the entire bucket of water on their pants!  Enjoy Friday!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where I've Been

Oh hi. So it's been a bit since I last posted (and of course I had to post 3 days in row, then drop off the face of the earth). It's been....busy. Busy to the point that when I sit down, I just want to close my eyes and nap, and I'm not a napper unless I'm sick. So I've tried to force myself to stay awake by reading Kathy Reich's first book and watching extremely stressful Bruins playoff hockey.

Back to the busy. Three weeks ago Doug went back on construction inspection duty. He was on construction inspection duty for eight really, really long months last year. I was never more grateful for Daylight Savings time this past fall because it meant he'd be home before 7 after leaving at 6:30 every day. He normally works a 10 or so hour day in the office, but he has breakfast with the kids, picks Drew up from preschool three days a week then come home for lunch, and is normally home for dinner. When he's on construction site, his days can be 12 hours, plus the 30 minute commute each way. To say that the kids miss him is an understatement. I text him for adult "conversation" over the course of the day so I don't lose my mind.

I am so grateful that he has a job. We've spent the bulk of the last year playing the "let's get through the tough months and everything will get back to 'normal'" game, dealing with mandatory furlough days and reduced paychecks, so I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds me, but these construction jobs do a number on our routines (oh good lord that was an incredibly long, compound sentence). The kids are up before 6 every day because they want to see him for a few minutes before he leaves. Since no one naps anymore, our days are long and often fraught with temper tantrums (not all by the kids) and cries for Dad. Blech.

The busy also includes Meg's softball season and Drew's t-ball season both beginning. Turns out starting next week they will have their games on the SAME NIGHT and DIFFERENT FIELDS (Meg travels for her games, so not even in the same TOWN for some). So I won't get to see Meg play softball during the week but will catch her Saturday games, and Doug won't get to see Drew play t-ball at all (he is Meg's coach and yep, that is just a cosmically bad planned thing). Those nights also mean super early dinners that are not the greatest meals. I had a bowl of Kix for dinner at 8:30 last night. And a handful of chips. Super healthy. But I fed the kids a chef's salad! So hooray for me!

I know I had more to say but I apparently didn't have enough coffee today and it's almost time to figure out dinner for the kids and get Meg to practice her piano. Then there's wrangling four kids into the car to go to Drew's t-ball practice and hoping that the thunderstorms hold off. Because while they can play in the freezing cold and pouring rain (like their first practice last week), thunderstorms halt play. And make kids cry.