Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blessed -- Through Thick and Thin

We have had sort of a roller coaster ride with the girls these past seven days. Early last week I was in pure kid bliss, loving every minute of their hand holding, playing together, running on sidewalks downtown and general merriment. We went downstate for The Wiggles, saw the grandparents, Marta got sick and we came home to a no-Daddy weekend, and things are a bit less electric in the fun department.

They've been cranky, but beyond that Berit has been a complete handful. She will not stop talking! I ask her to do something, let's say pick up her room/eat her lunch/can she do this puzzle?/go potty and she has a dozen things to tell me about it, all delivered with lots of ums, buts and I-I-I-I-I... Truly, it is maddening.

Though I realize this is her age, and it's my job -- my actual job -- as her parent to sit and listen, and allow her her thoughts and comments, and let her work them out so she can move onto the next level of language and conversation and *&^%$#@ LISTENING SKILLS.

Speaking of listening skills, a few times lately she has been in non-threatening danger -- getting banged by a moving swing, for example, or in the path of bee -- and I have told her something like, "Berit! Come here!" in my best urgent parent voice, and she has... argued, stood her ground, and whined. I've tried talking to her about listening, because she might be in real danger someday and I'm trying to help her, and she doesn't care. She shrugs and says, "Huh!" With fake big eyes and a "this is how I'm supposed to react" tossing out of her arms, pretending she's very interested and "go on! tell me more!" but really is just not getting it.

She is also unsatisfied with her clothes at any given moment in life, and I regularly find her in princess clothes, dresses yanked down from her closet and in the nude.

She has informed me on no less than a dozen occasions that "I'm a princess and princess don't wear barrettes/eat lunch/wear shorts/use bibs/take baths/take naps/etc." It's not to be silly or cute; she truly believes this and I'm wishing Disney would commission a reality show based on what princesses actually do when they're not prancing around singing and falling in love. (Odd that she hasn't decided to start doing serious housework, considering that nearly all Disney princesses do have some sort of hands-on work to do. Jasmine excluded but Jasmine doesn't wear a gown and therefore doesn't count as a true, role-modeling princess.)

She also told me that "Every story starts with Once Upon A Time."

It does all seem quirky and adorable when I write it down. And this is my struggle -- I know it's all so simple and easy compared to what it could be. I think about what her first diagnosis was, way back when I was pregnant, on the table at the University of Michigan, and we thought that, if we didn't lose her, she'd wear a pacemaker for the rest of her life. And my wall of exhaustion and resistance crumbles, because here she is, healthy and strong and making fanciful decisions and praising me -- no, thanking me with actual relief -- for my personally wearing a skirt.

And of course I think of those parents who can't stay home and want to, or who are raising their children with major obstacles and challenges and health issues and then there are those children who need caring adults and have none, who keep me up all night praying that God will send them to my door somehow.

When Marta is up crying because she has a stuffy nose and, most likely, a sore throat and I'm rocking her, mostly asleep and wishing she would just give it up and get her own needed sleep, I think about those babies who cry and are ignored because their parents are passed out from drink or drugs or who just don't care.

I think about the little boy down the street who lives with his grandparents (his mother's step-dad, to be exact) and is ill cared-for, but his mother is a train wreck and recently sent him to live with his father in Florida and he was beaten daily there, and finally sent home, and TWO NEIGHBORS -- myself included -- have called social services on this family and he remains right there, crushingly alone in a world of mean people going in and out of his house.

Am I refreshed in my own life? Guiltily I write, sometimes, and sometimes not. I would still relish a little weekend away, completely alone, with nothing to do but read and sleep. But even given the chance I wouldn't go, because I can't bear the thought of missing a thing.

So another cup of coffee and back I go to my demanding princess and sniffly baby. And after writing this out, after cleansing the spirit a little with "between moms" talk, I think I'll be better at my job this afternoon.

1 comment:

Mackenna said...

I love that you are so thoughtful. If all parents were so caring, the world would certainly be a better place.