Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Tale of Two Extremes

Yesterday was one of those days that leaves parents with nothing to do but scratch their heads and wonder at the insanity of it all. First of all, the day started earlier than normal. And in the end, I think that is why the night fell apart so completely.

Yesterday was a co-op day. It was a little bit different, because the boys were staying with my Daddy since it is very hard for me to teach a room full of high schoolers with a 3 year old in the room with me. I have done it, but I wouldn't recommend it. Anyway, that isn't really the point. Co-op went well and since it was just LB and me after class, I asked Daddy if the boys could stay a little longer and let us go shopping for a new dress. What followed was a really pleasant shopping trip for Mama and daughter. The boys were happily hanging out with their Papa and, as I found out later, with my brother and sister-in-law, who took them "exploring" in the woods. I can't think of anything they would rather be doing, so I didn't have to feel any guilt about them not being with me.

LB wanted to go eat lunch so I let her choose the place. She chose McAlister's Deli and we sat outside on their patio while we ate our lunch. The day was beautiful, but a little windy. We just talked about what she had learned in class that morning and how she wants to re-arrange her room. We watched birds cleaning up the leftovers. As far as I can remember, this is the first time that LB and I have gone out to eat alone. Usually, if we are shopping without the boys, my mom is with us. And as much as we enjoy Grandmother, it was great for it just to be us. We went to Children's Place, our newly opened JC Penney and LB's favorite store, Target. We didn't buy much, a new pair of flip-flops for me and a pair of shorts and a dance t-shirt for the girl. Not surprisingly, we couldn't find a dress in my price range that was both modest and actually pretty, but that is a blog for another day.

After our day out, LB and I picked up the boys and came home to reheat the leftovers for supper before heading out again to clean the church last night. The last stop of the day was a quick Wal-mart run to pick up a new watch band for Ronnie and got home about 9:30. Not too bad, especially for us. People who know us aren't surprised when we roll in at midnight or even later if we have been playing cards with my family. Almost immediately, things began to go south. LB and JW had hatched this plan to sleep on the floor in the living room and watch a movie. Knowing how tired they were and how likely they are to argue when in that state, we nixed the idea. Suffice it to say we were not prepared for the firestorm of wails and tears and general insanity that followed.

Let me just say, I have no illusion of perfection in my children. They are normal kids. They are usually very well behaved for other people. At the same time, they test every ounce of patience I can muster on some days. BUT, this is not normal! We may get some whining and even arguing about decisions, but not like this, EVER! I have never seen my children act this way. I believe that this was the definition of a "melt-down." After a few minutes of this, I could do nothing but laugh. Even the little Hurricane, who had been watching his older siblings warily through this whole thing, wanted them to stop. He tried to whistle at them, which is my signal that I have had enough. It was hilarious. After a while they settled down enough to finish our night-time routine and get them in bed. The boys were both asleep within 10 minutes.

But the girl. My little girl, who had been such a pleasant companion for the day had turned into an angry, defiant little bundle of difficulty. She claimed that she would not go to sleep at all. She was going to sit up all night. Ronnie and I discussed it quietly and decided to just let her work it out for herself. She was in no condition to discuss anything and since she wasn't keeping the boys awake or anything, we just went to bed and let her stew. I don't really know how long it took her to go on to sleep, but I suspect that it wasn't very long.

The end result is this: I am afraid, terribly afraid of the coming storm when this little girl reaches the pre-teen (we are almost there) and teen years. I think the time has come to increase the intensity of my prayers for wisdom.

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