Partway through today I decided to give myself a break. Today I was not as patient and positive and calm as I like to be with the kids, and especially my 'handful' child, but I realized that the older he gets, and the more experienced I become, the fewer and fewer the days like today. Which wasn't awful, by any means, but there was this niggling voice reprimanding me all day (until the 'partway' part, then I just told it to shut up) for less than stellar parenting. Mainly, I wasn't connected to him. I was a bit 'yell-y mom.' I didn't look him in the eye a whole lot, and there were only a few times after dinner where we had nice, relaxed, reciprocal interactions. But dang, we've come really, really far. And so today will just have to be one of those days where it's okay to just let it be what it is and start fresh again tomorrow.
Brent has been on holidays almost continuously for a month now, and today was his first day back at work. Which sucks, because I miss him and we're an awesome team, and we have way more fun when the six of us are all together than when one of us is gone for the day. It also sucked because I had 40 pounds of tomatoes that needed canning TODAY. In fact they needed it yesterday but I pushed them back a day because I wanted to enjoy Brent's company while he was still around. Not that he's gone when he's working, like a six month navy stint or something, but a 12 hour workday plus commute is pretty long. So, I canned tomatoes while caring for all the needs and refereeing all the fights of four small children at eleventy billion degrees (30) and sixty hundred percent humidity (100) in my kitchen. At one point Amarys was sitting on the counter in her bumbo seat, crying so hard there was snot running down to her chin, and Riley was lying at my feet whining about something, and Matthew was screaming while Ayden was pounding on him, and I was midstep in my canning at a non stoppable moment.
Some days, I wonder what the hell I'm thinking?
But it wasn't really that bad. [which sounds hilariously untrue, but it isn't!] That was the worst moment of all. I had asked the boys to choose a movie to watch while I canned, and I had a pile of toys and several chair options for Amarys so I could keep her happy while I worked, but things kind of devolved at a moment where I just couldn't stop what I was doing so it got a bit hairy for a few minutes. WILD TIMES in the Vose household, I tell you. When I finally got to pick my girl up, she was all
What were you thinking, bitch?! Oh, but you're nice to snuggle with, and you're going to offer me BREASTmilk, well then in that case maybe I like you a little, no maybe quite a lot, and maybe I'll drift off to sleep in two minutes flat and oh, I love youuuuuuu.....
Riley was a quick fix with a snack and the older boys I separated because they really just need to learn to take some time apart from each other to help them not fight so much, and better enjoy the time when they're together.
Matthew said to me this afternoon,
Mommy, when Ayden and I grow up, we're going to be best buds. And we're going to live together in the same house.
Ayden, who are you going to marry? I want to see if I like her. And Ayden? We have to live in Victoria so you can work at the Bug Zoo. We should have a big house in Victoria and we can live there together with our wives and lots of kids.
Wow that kid is hysterical. And so sweet. We're going to be best buds. Yeah, especially if you learn that drop kicking objects into Ayden's face isn't a popular way to get his attention while he's reading.
I also had to drive to South Langley to pick up our dog [who still has no home. Or manners. Anyone know anyone who wants a dog who isn't good with kids? Free to a good home!] and swipe some flyers from the rural newspaper boxes down that direction, and on my way all three younger kids fell asleep.
The day before yesterday Brent took the three boys to the PNE in Vancouver for their annual Fair Day~I hate carnivals and fairs so I refuse to go but the boys think its fabulous and it is now a tradition for them. Bonus: I get the day off. Except for whatever baby happens to be hanging off my hip (or tit, depending on how you look at it). So they usually leave the house around 10 a.m. and don't get back until 1 a.m. They leave when the park closes at midnight. They are the last ones on the rides. The lights shut down as they get off. They are diehards. You can appreciate how tired this makes them in subsequent days, so I'm pretty sure the scrapping and whining and crying are a direct result of the PNE. So cute. So annoying.
I paid for my day off today, I tell you. Four crabby children (Amarys is teething) and forty pounds of ripe tomatoes. But I made it! Forty pounds canned and only one jar busted: $27 and some hard work, and we're set for the winter for tomatoes. Awesome! Next week is pasta sauce and blueberry picking/freezing (we already filled our deep freeze half full of strawberries and raspberries), and the week after that is applesauce canning, and we will be stocked for winter. I have made strawberry, raspberry, cherry cinnamon clove, and apricot jams this year. The apricot jam just might be the best thing of 2011; we'll have to see. Cherry cinnamon clove is generally popular =)
Oops, my last three jars are in the canner and I think I heard another one explode on me. Le sigh. What a waste of time, money, a jar, and tomatoes. Grrrrrr....
Yeah, so My Handful lied to me today, so he won't be going to his friend's birthday party on Sunday. He's pretty upset about that but he has a dishonest streak, which obviously isn't okay. I am constantly second guessing myself; I want to be firm but not harsh, create boundaries without squelching emotional connectedness, and let him play freely without harrassing or injuring other people...It's a tall order, and I don't often feel like, YES! I got that one right! with this child. You can explain til you're blue in the face but unless it costs him something, there's very little buy-in. He's my wild card. My crazy eight. The one who will blow all your cherished parenting philosophies out of the water, and streeeeeech you a mile long and a millimeter thin, and at the end of the day, catch a wasp in a cup for his little brother and squeeze you so hard you fart and yell
over his shoulder as he runs away.
Actually only in the last few months has he started initiating verbal affection with us, for the first time ever. He will spontaneously say he loves us, and give us hugs, and give out compliments. I think his verbal skills have finally reached the point where he can articulate his feelings on a deep and spontaneous level, and Amarys has really brought out a soft side in him so his feelings are closer to the surface. It's remarkable. Miraculous. So, so surprising.
Ah, Matthew. You with the surprises, always. Wrapped in exasperating paper.