We had another rough start this morning. As is the case most mornings, my son wants to know what we are going to do. It doesn't vary a lot from day to day, but I think he holds out eternal hope that one morning I will say "We're having ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then we're having a TV Watching Marathon!!" It's starting to grate on my nerves, because he is never satisfied with the answer of "school" and always follows it up with the request to play with a friend. He has befriended a couple of boys, 8 and 10 years old, down the street and wants to play with them every day. Why a 10-year-old would want to play with a 6 year-old makes me uneasy and the 8 year-old hasn't been very nice, so I struggle with this. I know he loves being with other kids, and he doesn't have that opportunity like a child in public school. Some days I think it's okay that he doesn't play with a friend every day. Some days I don't. If he would just stop asking it would save me a lot of emotional turmoil. But he doesn't. I tell him I don't want to talk about it right now. We will do school and see how far we get with that before we discuss it anymore. He whines. He complains. And that is exactly how the rest of the morning goes. His attitude rubs off on sister and I'm going nuts. So, I decide we should go get our shopping done and out of the way. Brilliant, huh? Take three whining, grouchy kids to the Wal-Mart Super-make-me-go-insane Center. Well, we go forward with my wonderful idea and take our grouchiness to the store so we can share it with everyone there. I certainly shouldn't keep it all for myself. They fight over who pushes the cart, who rides on the front of the cart, who checks the price of the 409 Kitchen Cleaner on the price-checker-scanner-thingy. They whine because I don't get them a cookie at the Bakery (even though I have two dozen in my cart). They whine because I won't let them look at toys. And brother asks me AGAIN if he can have a friend over. I tell him I will call another homeschooled friend so we can set up a playdate. "Today?" he asks. "I'll call today but we'll plan for another day," I say. The child (who will be 7 in 4 months) sits himself down on the floor right there in the middle of Wal-Mart. Have you ever seen Bruce Banner turn into the Hulk? I'm not sure because I can't see outside myself, but I'm pretty sure my reaction went something like that. Eyes bulging, veins popping, heavy breathing. I didn't yell. It was more like a growl. And he got up very quickly. We paid for our things (which was everything on my list, by some miracle) and hotfooted it home.
I give Brother two sacks and Sister one sack to carry in, none of them even close to being heavy. Brother starts to whine, then Sister joins in. Once I get the door open I send them both to their rooms. They complain about being hungry, but then Hulk starts to come out and they decide to comply. I bring in the other groceries and start putting them away while Baby eats a banana. All is quiet for a few moments. And I start to have a little pity party. Why don't they appreciate all I do for them? Don't they know what I have given up to be here with them? When Brother was first born and I quit my job, I didn't even spend $2 on a bottle of makeup so we could make ends meet on the one income. I went without makeup for several months!!!!! Talk about sacrifice. I feel myself wanting to cry. Why do my children seem to be miserable at home? Then I get angry. These kids don't know how good they have it. By golly, I'm gonna teach them. I make them lunch, not bothering to ask what they want. Then I let them get up, one at a time, and wash their hands. I inform them when they come to the table that the first one to complain about what is on their plate will go to bed with nothing. They will be nice to each other, nice to me and use their manners or else. Sister says, "I want milk!" Trying not to scream at her, I tell her to ask. Once she asks nicely, I give it to her. Then Brother says, "Where's my milk?" Are you KIDDING ME?! Through clenched teeth I proceed to tell him that God didn't give him a Mom to make all his wishes come true and if he wants something he should try asking. After lunch the kids run off to play for a few minutes while I finish feeding Baby and gorge on 4 of the 2 dozen cookies we bought. I have earned the right to be a disgusting pig. Once I have drowned my sorrows with sugar laden junk, I take Baby to her and Sister's room to change her and get her ready for her nap. As I near the room, I smell the funk. No, no, it can't be. Please, God, NOOOOOOO!!!! I walk in to find Sister standing akwardly and looking at me with a very guilty expression. I stop and just look at her. She says, "I need to go potty, " though it's obvious from the wicked stench that she already has. I walk past her and tend to Baby.
"Eww, Mommy, I'm poopy. Will you change me?" she asks sweetly.
"No," I reply.
"Mommy, will you wipe me up?" she asks, sounding a little more desperate.
"No," is my answer again.
"Will I go to bed with poop?" she whines.
"But I want to poop in the potty!" she cries.
"No you don't," I say. "You want to go in your pants. And if you're going to do that, then you can wear it, because I am not cleaning you up."
She is now napping in her bed with a stinky, sticky mess on her backside. Will it work? I don't know. But I am at a point of desperation.
I want to be sweet, happy, fun-loving Mommy all the time. But I want to be appreciated, too. I know one day my kids will look back an perhaps be appreciative (at least, I hope they will). I also want my children to understand that there is a time for fun, and a time to do things that aren't. That we all work together to help each other and build each other up because we are family. I want them to know that God commands us to love everyone and that we should be kind and giving. I don't want to raise spoiled brats that never give others a second thought. How do I teach them compassion and thankfulness? It's a challenge to be sure. I pray for wisdom. I pray they will see compassion and God's love in me.