Tuesday, April 24

Phases and Phrases


Before having kids I heard all about the "Terrible Twos." This phase was something to be feared and dreaded. A time of new found willfulness combined with limited verbal skills, which, I was told, led to inevitable and unbridled temper tantrums the likes of which no childless person could imagine.

Well -- the twos came and went and no such calamity hit the Hart house.

I was told not to get too comfortable. If it doesn't come at two - you'll get hit when they turn three.

Well. My oldest breezed right through. No "Thunderous Threes" at the Hart House.

And then, just as I was starting to feel cocky and pat myself on the back for being such a 'great' mom, Alex turned 4! At the same time, Rachel stopped being a little lump of clay that Alex could mold or push any which way she chose.

So. Cocky no more.

It's not temper tantrums. It's a constant (meaning pretty much EVERY waking moment that the girls aren't eating, drinking or watching TV) need for interaction with ME. If I'm unavailable - dealing with 'adult stuff' (bills, etc.) I'll get maybe 5 minutes before a referee is required or someone is standing on the counter, banging a hammer on the entertainment center, 'feeding' the fish, 'walking' the dog (generally, gently, tormenting the animals), or making toothpaste and sunscreen soup. Anything that will get Mommy running and involved.

And since I limit their TV time to the time it takes me to shower and dress in the morning - you can see that they're A LOT of work these days!!

The mind-numbing part is having two people call your name literally every minute! Each one of them has recently developed the habit of starting every sentence with "Mommy....," or "Daddy....," And, because I'm home with them each day, it's usually "Mommy...."

"Mommy, why are you feeding the cat?"
"Mommy, can you play cards?"
"Mommy, why is Nadine on the phone?"
"Mommy, Rachel did...."
"Mommy, Alex...."
"Mommy, can I...?"
"Mommy, hmmmm...." This is what they say when they want my attention but really have nothing to say. It's also what they say that makes me feel like my head might actually explode!

And after the longest day of mothering - as we're sitting in a restaurant - a woman from the next table leans over and compliments Dave and I and our parenting. "Your children are so well behaved," she said. "They seem to know that a restaurant is not a playground. Its a pleasure to sit next to you and your kids."

OK - I admit it. I got a little teary eyed. It had been such a long day (OK, week) and I was bleary eyed and numb. She made my day & sometimes, many times, that's all it takes to make it all seem worthwhile. Just a simple "you're doing a good job" means so much.



Anonymous said...

Even though comments are few and far between, it is always a pleasant surprise for me to hear others' compliments on my two daughters' behavior. My husband's and my challenges mirror yours in that our daughters' love for each other means they often (constantly?) need a referee just when we were counting an a spare 13 minutes to read a recipe, review a job posting, or take the laundry our of the washer and into the dryer.

Dave said...

You're doing a good job.