My latest “you’re doing it wrong” realization came a few days ago. In between flushing something out of my six-year-old son’s eye, and damaging our relationship in the process, and him remembering that I had offered him a cookie bribe for letting me do it, I realized something. I sat down to my pile of books that had come in from the library. The one on top, The Shyness Breakthrough: A No-Stress Plan to Help Your Shy Child Warm Up, Open Up, and Join the Fun, was the one I was looking at when my son walked by and I instinctively hid the cover under something. (Okay, so it was dirty t-shirt from under the table, but it worked.)
I hid it because he can read, and even though he isn’t the current “shy child” in the house, he used to be. I don’t want either of my children thinking they are somehow less, or that they need to be fixed in any way. Because they aren’t and they don’t. So, I put all the books back in the library bag to return, unread. I don’t need for my daughter to “join the fun”. I need for her to be happy, and she already is (unless I leave her). If she wants to join in, she does. If you want to call it “shyness” when she doesn’t, fine, but the truth is closer to her just being herself. Or that she doesn’t feel like talking to you.
I’m also looking ahead to the summer and trying to plan just the right amount of stuff to keep us busy. I’m trying to find the balance of what each child needs and what I need. I have sticky notes all over the calendar as I try to find week-long camps or morning classes that fit around swim lessons and a family vacation. I have multiple websites up, just waiting for me to register one or both kids, and yet I haven’t signed up either one yet for anything. The clock ticks. I haven’t asked them what they want, because I know the answer. No. They do not want to do swim lessons. No, he does not want to do a week-long camp on bookmaking, unless it can be all about dinosaurs. No, she does not want to go anywhere, do anything, without me. Aaaaand, no, I don’t feel like being on-call 24/7 for an entire three months. Who wins? Nevermind. You know, if someone asks who is going to win, you can be sure everyone is actually going to lose.
My latest idea is that we’ll sign up for the things they’d truly enjoy (like an art camp all about making 2D and 3D sharks) and I’ll spend the rest of the money on a slackline or dirt pile for the front yard. Or some other equipment that could either be tons of fun or a trip to the ER. Like a zipline.
I spent 52 minutes this morning hustling the kids to get ready, dressed, brushed, packed and in the car or on the bus. I had plans for this morning that stupidly involved being somewhere at a certain time. Instead of those plans, I spent 17 minutes just outside the door of the preschool where I could see my daughter but she couldn’t see me, making sure she stopped crying, calmed down, and joined her class. Just one of those many, many times when you wonder just exactly what are you doing.
I sometimes feel that if I could just get a good few hours of quiet, where the house is clean and the laundry is done and the groceries are bought and the meals are planned and I’m not worried about the kids’ tummies, eyes, or hearts, I could figure it out. I could just sit with a cup of tea and the answers would come to me. Or maybe the answers are in a book that I just returned to the library, unread.