Thursday, August 16, 2012

Maximum Quotient

My kids are awesome. I am crazy about them. They are smart, funny and fairly well mannered. They are also 11, 8 and 7. I realize that their age means they have had a fairly short window of opportunity to learn about our world and how it works. Throughout their days they feel the need to share their funny noises, jokes, perhaps a new “move” or story they’ve made up. And when they share they have to stop me from whatever I am doing and say, “Mom, momma, look mom or MOOOOOOOM.”

They are in that phase where every new thing they do is amazing to them. It’s unique. It’s probably the first time that anyone has ever done “the thing” and certainly it has never been done with the skill level that was just achieved. AND, as if to prove their point, they will say, “Mom, mom, mom….watch this.” and do “said thing” again with commentary. “I did this. And then you went like……. And then I went like……It was so cool.” Now I am supposed to act surprised or impressed….but I am not. Especially since 90% of the time I saw “whatever” the first time.

I am a terrible faker. If I was not impressed with that “whatever” that just went down you will know. I will acknowledge that it happened and smile but I am certainly not going to hop up and down with glee. My philosophy is when they do something that is truly impressive I will applaud loudly, sincerely and with great gusto but until that happens I will just acknowledge that they did something. I refuse to give great energy to the ordinary. I refuse to let my kids believe (and many kids are taught differently) that they are extraordinary at “whatever” when they are not. I have 3 kids and if I stopped to watch every little thing that they wanted me to I would NEVER get anything done. I am trying to train them to be extraordinary by giving proper attention to the ordinary. My kids will know when they are extraordinary because I will be in the front row cheering at the top of my lungs.

Yesterday was a day FULL of ordinary “Moms, mommas and Look Moms”. My kids said, “MOM, momma or Look mom.” Approximately 1000 times each. (See, it’s irritating just to read twice!) It was over 100 outside and our delicate northwest bodies stayed mostly inside to make sure we didn’t melt. Kees was out of sorts which doesn’t help because Coulter, essentially, has a button that says, “PRESS HERE FOR BEST RESULTS” and Kees can read. He was hitting that button with great precision and hitting it often. That brought rounds of “MOOOM. KEES IS BEING MEAN.” It is also hard to care about that after 15-20 times. Coulter does not have the capacity to ignore Kees.

When asked to do something Coulter generally goes about doing it in a happy and willing manner. Kees watches Coulter clean, unload the dish washer, pick up or whatever. This presses BOTH my and Coulter’s buttons. Kees doesn’t care AT ALL. I get frustrated with Kees and make him do the work and then Kees gets mad and starts yelling. He starts in with his own, “MOOOM” versions and I want to smack him. I don’t, I just want to. He eventually does his part but it takes 20 times longer than it should. Moms everywhere know about this one.

Sophia is getting over the hump. She knows not to annoy me with all the different kinds of “moms” and generally can read me when I am getting frustrated. She does like to talk. I know this too will end but for right now she is full of LOTS of non information that wears on me. She goes on and on often without making a point. Or she tells me things that she knows I already know. There are only so many mundane points one can hear in a day without wanting to pull one’s hair out. Again, I know this sounds harsh and maybe whiney but there are some days where it makes me NUTS.

I would like to ride in the car for 10 minutes and listen to NPR without 50 interruptions. Or I would like to pay bills without having to get up 15 times to help someone or to mediate a fight. I often find that I can go for hours without doing anything because I know the moment I start something I will have to stop and either start over or figure out where I was and pick it up there. Paying bills used to be an hour or two activity. It can now take me all day with my many delays. It is very frustrating.

I believe I reached my quota of pleas for attention at about 3 pm yesterday which made the time from 3:01 – 7:20 excruciatingly painful for me. When I get to that point I can hardly function because I so don’t care about what ever. At that point the kids have cried “WOLF” so many times that I can’t respond with anything left. I have nothing left.

Bob called me at 5:00 yesterday and I am pretty sure he could tell I was done. He volunteered to make dinner because I was at AWOL with the kids until 6. Bless you Bob! Sophia was having a sleepover at a friend’s so I took her at 7:15 and after that I headed to Fred Meyer. From 7:20 to 8:45 I was at Fred Meyer just walking around and being by myself. It wasn’t Zen, it wasn’t peaceful but it was alone. I could look at a label and not be bothered. It sounds boring but at the time it was what I needed.

I don’t know what the number of “moms” is that maxes one out but I certainly hit it yesterday. I couldn’t take one more “mom” or mundane “fact” I just couldn’t. Yes, I survived but it was painful.

Today the kids went with my mom to her house for 2 days and I am loving it. I am going to try and savor these 2 days and embrace all the “moms” that come at me when we get up to my mom’s. Until then I plan on getting my quotient of quiet, good food, adult conversation and Bob. “T” minus 48 hours begins NOW.