This is not a “parenting is so hard” post, because if you’re a parent, you already know that. I’m not whining about it either. What’s the alternative? I tried the “Let’s go for a walk in this here dark forest!” but they always find their way home.
But there is a difference between “hard” and “impossible.” Hard can be accomplished. It might take outside the box thinking and some blood, sweat, and tears, but hard can be done. I’ve done hard. I’ve got hard handled.
HARD IS MAI BITCH.
Impossible, though? I’m still working on that.
Perhaps I should be flattered that my children give me requests that are impossible to fulfil. Maybe it’s a sign of their confidence in my abilities. It’s as if they actually believe that I am able to do things like alter the time/space continuum, recharge dead batteries with a blink of my eyes, or make the last broken chocolate chip cookie in the bag restore itself to its former glory.
I don’t think my kids are more demanding than any others. Maybe some of the problems they bring to me seem harder to handle because this is a one-grown up household. As of yet I have not been able to be in two places at once, although I have tried to convince law enforcement officers of this in the past.
My son often requires that I dry laundry immediately, as though I could breathe fire. He gets attached to things with fervour, and if he’s into a particular piece of clothing, then good luck getting him to wear anything else. My rule is that you can wear an article of clothing only while it is clean and unable to propel itself on its own power. I had to institute this rule after our camping trip in the summer of ’10. He had worn a John Deere t-shirt and pair of jeans for a week straight by the time I noticed. (You let a lot of things go by the wayside when you’re camping, like hygiene and not drinking at 8am.) Finally his clothes gained enough steam (and microscopic organisms) to stage a mutiny and make a break for it, and they threw him, unclothed, out of the tent.
Recently my daughter was lamenting my failure as a mother because I have not provided her with an older sibling.
“Who’s gonna pave the way for me? Who’s there to break you down, and make things easier for me as second in line?”
I let her vent. I’ve learned that it’s for the best to just let her blow off some steam. Otherwise, she’ll write me a letter. One day, if I get her permission, I will share one with you. They’re quite dramatic. She’s also a very good writer, and will write complaint letters the likes of which would make even a jaded telephone company representative crack.
When she was nine I found an email in my outbox that she had sent to a large toy manufacturer complaining about their website and how it was not “user-friendly.” I knew she was pretty mad because the letter was written in three different typefaces, with specific passages in 36-point font. She used every colour in the Word template, and things were in bold and underlined.
Her most recent complaint is in specific regard to high school. She starts next year, and of course the worrying has commenced. What classes should she take? Will she see her friends? Is it scary? What kind of food do they have in the cafeteria? Will she be forced to, you know, like, learn stuff?
Going from a school of 200 students to being one of almost 2000 is going to take some adjustment. But why waste away your last year of being a big fish in a small pond worrying about something you have no control over? It’s going to be fine, I reassure her. But I can only do this for so long until my “nice mom” outer layer breaks and she has my gooey irritable centre to contend with.
She sighs. “If I had an older brother or sister, they would be able to tell me what to expect at high school!”
I reassure her that I can tell her what to expect, because I went to high school, too.
For a whole year.