Circus, by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – 1913. (http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=55807)
The children are trying to steal my inner peace. My plans and systems are the grapes. They are the grape pressers, barefoot, stomping, determined to make wine.
The fog Girl one generally lives in has turned to oatmeal. We have not been anywhere at the time I was planning to arrive in weeks.
Girl two (the ever cheerful) has begun raising her voice and banging whatever is closest at the slightest provocation. When she’s in the car and can’t make her feet talk, she pounds the windows or the arm rests.
Happy go lucky Boy two can concentrate enough to read. Experimentation with repetitive high pitched sounds is also in. Speaking, listening, and job completion are out of the question.
Boy one is somehow both bored and behind on all responsibilities. The pressure that comes from an inborn desire for completion does not exist. The need to tap and bounce and never, ever, under any circumstances stop talking fills his waking moments with boundless unfocused energy.
They’re ready for snow and Christmas holidays, but December has just begun. If I knew how to fix it, I would. Were the solution a quaint herbal remedy or a synthetic chemical injection with unknown side effects, I would be the first at the counter for purchase. We’d probably inject and ingest while still in the parking lot. For good measure, we’d let another bit dissolve under our tongues while watching a yoga class.
I am looking into the possibility of hypnotically induced human hibernation – for me (they don’t deserve it). Failing that I am considering some re-homing options – also for me. In the spirit of Christmas, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, and all the rest, my children are also fighting about everything. Patience is, well, we don’t know what it is because we haven’t seen it around for a few days. I think about Christmas, the upcoming birth of a baby. I think of the baby Jesus in the manger and then I think of my kids.
Would you consider a trade?
Girl one is different kind of bird than I am. Consequently, I admire her but am frequently at a loss as to exactly what to do with her. Maybe because her dreamy artistic self is sometimes lost to me in translation, I worry that others will pass her by. Her love of beauty and her need to create come standard equipped with a lot of distraction and a fair bit of stubborn. Following the crowd has never occurred to her. On the other hand, not quite knowing how to be a part of it, bothers her quite a bit.
She made recess fun for herself for a few years by creating her own school, appointing herself principal, and recruiting younger students to attend. This year her institution dissolved. Half the time she is cheery about friends. The other half, she thinks nobody likes her. I coach from the sidelines with limited success. Holding on to an idea not her own for more than ten seconds is not a strong suit.
I look for ways to get involved, but modern life complicates things. There are no other children who bike to our house, or vice versa. Kids get together by adult arrangement only, and therefore not very often.
Somehow in my mind, the answer to all of my worries became the birthday party this past Saturday.
Modest party goals were: fun, inexpensive, and child feels loved, not just by me but by all her friends. Conversely, the friends should feel loved, have fun, and leave wanting to come back. While providing good wholesome fun in the spirit of yester yore, avoid needless excess, needless waste or nutritional suicide.
So yes, I was a little anxious going into my daughter’s party. The bad weather plan was for the each girl to pick a kind of cake and make it. They played. It rained. I made the birthday cake. They played dress up and put on silly fashion shows. I called Girl one after an hour and asked if she wanted to skip the cakes and just keep playing. I heard, “keep playing,” and the sound of feet running back to join the others. I made some cupcakes for the girls to take home. They giggled and ran around and played. They made hats and purses out of old newspaper. After three hours they had satisfied every single one of my criteria for a party. I did nothing but listen from the kitchen, admire fashion displays and wonder why I worry so much. Or how in the world I ever thought it was up to me anyway.