There are plenty of challenging, minor annoyances involved in parenting four children: too much to do, too little time; balancing the wants & needs of distinct individuals who each clearly (occasionally) believe the world revolves solely around him or her;trying to do what's in their best interests even when it's not the fun or popular or most energy-efficient thing to do. But, there are two things about parenting that really, really get to me on a regular basis--not nagging irritation get to me, but nails-on-a-chalkboard-over-and-over-in-my-brain-get-to-me.
First is the noise. As I mentioned in an earlier post, at least one of my children has a habit of making pointless and painful noises for absolutely no discernible reason other than to annoy the crap out of Mom (at this, he is an unqualified success). When these noises are layered on top of the rest of the household noises--TV, video games, "normal" conversation (between adolescent males this seems to consist of insulting one another in increasingly loud voices and then laughing about it), the "MOM!" whine of Daughter-Only when yet another tragedy has befallen her--they become almost unbearable. In fact by around nine most nights, I feel like I'm suffering from a sensitivity to external stimuli to rival poor Roderick's in "The Fall of the House of Usher." The sound of a faucet dripping two rooms away causes excruciating pain.
Second is the repetition. I feel like I say the same things over and over and over...and that's not because I'm suffering from some medical condition/family curse, it's because I actually am saying the same things over and over. "Pick up that stuff." "Did you put away that stuff?" "Do you have clothes for tomorrow?" "Is your homework done?" I'm starting to feel like one of those pull-string dolls with a limited number of installed phrases, like a Stepford Mom with a short in my verbal interaction program. The most frustrating thing, though, is that even though it clearly annoys the kids when I do it, it doesn't occur to any of them to just do what they're asked the first time. Or, even, quantum leap though this may be, to just do it without being asked. It's not as if they don't know the routine at their advanced ages.
With the seventeenth birthday of Son-One in the rear-view mirror and the eleventh birthday of Daughter-Only just days away, I've started to have serious concerns about what's going to happen when they all go out into the world. How will they function? And how will I? Will I miss all the racket? Will the deafening silence beg to be filled? Will I spend every evening on a five-way conference call, listening to them bicker, talk over one another and play their stereos too loud until I can't take it for one more second? And then call them all back (twice, each) to be sure they have clothes for tomorrow?
On the Other Paw
11 hours ago