And they are supposed to be. Just don’t tell them that because children have no sense of irony and would probably take it personally. Maybe they are oversensitive due to how recently they were still in the womb. I’ve been out of the womb for almost four decades so what’s my excuse?
When I was a child I gave little thought as to how much was being done for me by my parents. I took it for granted that I would be ferried from place to place, fed and entertained. The whole yelling thing I could have done without, but I certainly never stopped to consider how annoying it was to be in a precocious child’s company. No wonder they lost it sometimes.
Like my younger son, I suspect I could twist an adult’s words to make myself into a pretty convincing victim, even when I wasn’t. Hanging out with my eight year old is like facing off to a master lawyer in a courtroom – he remembers every piece of evidence of my wrongdoing, exaggerates circumstantial evidence (I had my period that day, Your Honor) and has an overdeveloped sense of injustice. Sadly, I don’t get to escape to a nice cozy prison cell, which sometimes seems like a better alternative. If I were in solitary confinement at least they would leave me alone.
Last night the nine year old crawled into bed with me after a nightmare. (Of course if it were the younger son, I would have no way of knowing if he really had a nightmare or was just manipulating me into sleeping next to him). Four a.m. has not been a fun time for me since I stayed up til then tripping on acid, and that was a long time ago. If you’re not high or coming down off something, it is a ridiculous hour to be awake. My son then proceeded to kick me rhythmically every ten minutes, until some time later he left, pronouncing my bed “too uncomfortable.”
There is a fort the size of the White House in our living room. Every piece of furniture we own (including outdoor) has been dragged over to set up this structure, including both of their beds, which they use to land a running jump inside. I am glad they are having fun. I don’t care about having things perfect. At the same time, when I am feeling chaotic internally, the external chaos only makes it worse. There is a pile of laundry the size of Valhalla in my closet, but then I guess if I were in prison, the laundry pile would be worse. And it would all be the same color.
They were home from school today for Veterans’ Day, and at the end of if I feel like a veteran. Not that I am comparing parenting to the experience of war, because that would be insulting to those that have fought and died for their countries. However I do feel a certain sense of camaraderie with all of us in the parenting trenches, each in the private hell we signed up for voluntarily, not knowing how difficult it would be. I am also sure that if a medical professional examined me at the end of two days alone with my boys, they would find that I have the symptoms of someone with PTSD. I startle easily, have a hair trigger temper, and feel like I want to sleep forever. I’m counting down the hours until bedtime, when the war is over, and I can retreat to my (uncomfortable) bunk. Loneliness is such a small price to pay for being alone.