Thursday, September 12, 2013

Parenting in September is Not for Sissies

To all the Veteran Parents of School Age Kids out there...

Why didn't you warn me?!

I mean, this whole first week of school bit.  Which has now turned into the first two weeks of school bit.  Which I'm fairly certain is just going to turn into the entire first month of school bit.

Why didn't you warn me?

Ok, to be fair to all the Veteran Parents of School Age Kids I know, you did warn me.  You warned me quite well, actually.  I, apparently, just listened like a toddler when you were telling me.

You did indeed tell me my kindergartner would be tired and cranky and whiny and all of those things.  I just had no real context for exactly what you meant by 'tired' and 'cranky' and 'whiny.'  I thought I knew what those words meant.  I thought I had already lived those words as a parent.  I thought I was prepared to handle it.  

Oh no...come to find out, I only knew the tip of the iceberg on what those words actually meant.  We are living 'tired,' 'cranky,' and 'whiny' times infinity in this house right now.

A little disclaimer:  In the big picture of things, these first two weeks have been a definite check in the "plus" column.  

I am so thankful that my son is loving school and being at kindergarten.  He loves his teacher, and he is listening and learning and loving the whole school gig.  If given a choice, I would totally pick having him keep it together at school and fall apart at home, as opposed to vice versa.  

Another little disclaimer:  I love my kids.  Truly.  Beyond words, over the moon, head over heels love love love them.  

They are just sucking every ounce of energy and patience out of me right now. Like every second I am with them.  (Which is not nearly as many seconds as you would think.)  My son is now at school for 8 hours a day everyday, and it is so weird not having him around.  I miss his laugh and his goofy jokes and his commentary and questions about everything we see and do all day.  

So in a nutshell, I basically spend all day missing him, have 3 seconds of pure joy when he gets off the bus and he runs up to give me a hug, and then spend the next 5 hours taking deep breaths and counting to 10...or 100...or 1,000,000.  

Here is a short list of just some of things that have led to tears at our house the last few days:

  • Opening string cheese "the wrong way"
  • Putting on a bike helmet before going on a bike ride requested by the now crying child
  • Getting out of bed in the morning because they are "too tired"
  • Going to bed at night because they are "not tired" (oh, the irony!!)
  • Having yogurt served in a blue bowl for breakfast
  • Having yogurt served in a green bowl (requested after the blue bowl) for breakfast
  • Getting into the bathtub because baths are "not fun"
  • Getting out of the bathtub because they still want to play
  • Arguing over the spot they each lay down when I read them bedtime stories (which, mind you, has been the same for 3 years now...)

It's like walking through a land mine, as once normal, ordinary occurrences that are part of our everyday routine have now transformed into ticking time bombs, just waiting to set either of my kids off.

(To be fair, there have also been some pretty funny bouts of belly that over-tired, I-don't-know-why-I'm-laughing-and-I-can't-stop-but-I'm-completely-cracking-myself-up-right-now, laughter.  And that has been a saving grace, let me tell you.)

The kicker is I know both of my kids are adjusting to all kinds of newness in every part of their lives right now, and on top of that, they are absolutely exhausted.  They are so tired that there is no reasoning or problem solving or working through anything.  It is simply weathering the storm until they can pull themselves together, and inevitably fall apart again when my son sees his backpack is on the bench instead of the floor or my daughter realizes there are more green Legos than blue Legos left in the bucket.  

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?  I may just have a meltdown right along side them the next time the opportunity presents itself.  Which, let's be honest, will be in a mere matter of minutes.

Parenting in September is not for sissies, that I now know.  There should be combat pay or bonus points or a triple punch card or a support group or something.  

I just keep hoping and praying and wishing and pleading that we will survive the beast that is a Kindergartner in September, and survive to see October.  It gets better, right?  Please tell me it gets better.  Please...

When you can survive September, You Are a Good Mom.


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