Monday, May 24, 2010

Wondering About the Wonder Years

As I get closer to summer vacation, I find myself in a confused state. Am I relieved? Am I dreading it? Should I take off without leaving a forwarding address?

What to do?

Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy spending quality time with my kids. And I can’t wait to have the possibility of sleeping in until 7 AM. But as they get older, I find that that it’s harder and harder to please everyone. I’m not entirely sure, but I think this all started when they began walking and talking. The first kid…I couldn’t wait to get up and running. By the time the third one rolled around, I was just about ready to duct tape her little onesie to the carpet.

As the years roll on, I get nostalgic for that 2 week period they each seemed to have when they could sit up as babies and not go anywhere. Just plop ‘em in the middle of the floor with a 24 hour loop of Baby Einstein and they’re good to go. And if they start speaking Spanish due to the educational tapes I’ve exposed them to…all the better. I’ve heard whining sounds more poetic in a foreign language.

These days it seems like if I take them to the water park, one is disappointed that he didn’t get to go to the zoo. If we play in the sprinklers, someone is mad because the backyard is wet and she wanted to play baseball. And, unfortunately, none of them seem to want to do what I want to do which is hole up in a 5 star hotel with some wine and a good book.

Activities have become a hassle too. Since there is only one of me and three of them (not very good odds), we are all forced to go to the activities of the other ones. The girls have no option but to sit through T-Ball practice. My son has to muddle through an hour of watching ballet. And they all have to sit around while I drink my glass of wine and read a good book.

Are you starting to see a pattern?

My ability to tune out everyone in the backseat has become almost super-power strength. If you ever pull up next to a woman at a stoplight who seems to be humming with her hands over her ears…that’s me. If she looks like she’s rocking back and forth in a catatonic state…well…that’s still me.

I personally think the makers of minivans are missing out on one very important feature: That window separator thingy that limos have. When they start in on each other you could just roll that sucker up and let them have at it. People would look at your shaking car mysteriously as you just sat calmly in the driver's seat, blissfully unaware of what was going on behind you.

Think of how handy that would be in the teenage years.

I may have a home, but I still live in my car. I spent 4 years in college when really all I needed was 4 months of drivers ed. Every once in awhile, I want to just round my kids up, get in their faces, and say, “I used to be somebody! I used to plan million dollar meetings! I had business cards and my own extension! I used to brush my hair in the morning and wear clothes that needed to be dry cleaned!”

But something tells me that they would be more impressed if I told them I used to drive an ice cream truck.

I often wonder if things would be different if my husband were here. Would I still be getting pulled in 3 different directions (actually 4, because during all of these activities he would probably be telling me he’d invited 10 people over for dinner)? Or would things be easier having someone here to put on a tutu while I laced up some cleats? Would there still be the same level of frustration, only doubled?

Would the activities be different because he would be here to influence them? Would my daughter be racing go-carts instead of taking a pottery class? Would my son be on a 4-wheeler instead of taking a class on rock climbing? Would I be less afraid that my 4 year old might turn out to be a menace to society if I had more back-up?

More importantly…would I have someone here to pour me a glass of wine?

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© Catherine Tidd 2010


  1. If he were here...

    life would still be hectic because that's just life with three kids. However, you hit the nail on the head: He'd be there to pour you a glass of wine and each of you would be less fearful about whether or not you were raising them right because decisions were made as a team.

    I'm scared as heck about making decisions that affect the futures of my son and daughter. Which school? Which activity? Which play dates? Which friends to invite / which to avoid!?

    I keep asking myself what my husband would want for them, as if his ideas would have been the key to not messing up our kids.


  2. Barbara--

    I do the same thing! It's like he's my own Jiminy Cricket (sp?) sitting on my shoulder. And chances are, if he were here, not too much would be THAT different as far as the decisions being made.

    Thinking of you...