Cogs in the Wheel
Recently, someone said to me, “I don’t know how you handle four (kids)”
Depends on how you define “handle.” In the last month, I have tried to drive away with the gas pump still in my car, flubbed two recipes, and tried to put a sock on Susanna’s hand. One day’s laundry is a load. Tim and I pick up all.the.time. For some unknown reason, any time Susanna comes across a pair of underwear, she tries prodigiously to put it on her head. You can’t make this stuff up, people.
I sat the three older kids down last week and drew a visual: a six person stick family. Then I added dots and dashes around each person as I explained how each of us uses stuff daily: dishes, socks, shoes, toys, etc… Then I circled the two big people and said that only two people of the six are picking all these things up. What’s going to happen? I asked them. It’s going to be a mess, they said. Then I drew little clouds over the heads of the big people and asked the kids how the two people are going to feel. Mad, they said.
I think it helped. Sometimes, I feel like our generation of parents are afraid to burden kids with work, with emotions, with life issues. Kids should be allowed to be kids. But I also feel like they should be expected to help out in order to prepare them for life. Helping can become second nature, they should see parents as people with feelings not servants or robots, and they need to know life has issues. They need to see us band together to deal with what comes. Within me I feel a desire to shelter them, guilt to ask them to pitch in, but I know we need all the cogs in our family wheel turning to function best.
My Merry Little Christmas moment today, aside from the two hour nap I took in front of the fire (soooo fabulous) was the accidental discovery I made on the way home regarding Abby and Ben at school. They exchange a hug every day in the cafeteria as Ben’s class leaves and Abby’s arrives. They mentioned it casually in passing, but it made my day. Their hug is a little symbol of solidarity in the big, chaotic, sometimes confusing world of School. I asked Ben if he is allowed to go out of line to hug Abby and he said, “Welllll….”
Never mind. What I don’t know won’t hurt me.