Sunday, August 26, 2012
They are just children...
It’s an adjustment really. I haven’t lived with small children for many years. I haven’t worried about baby-proofing, potty-training and/or snacks before dinner. This has been a wakeup call.
Before I moved into this house, Nicole would call me and have only one nerve left which one of the children was always standing on. I wanted so much to be able to help her get some rest and take the kids off her hands even if just for a few minutes. I thought it would be a simple thing to just play with them while their parents took a nap. They are children – how hard could it be?
Six and two year olds have minds of their own. They may not want to play the same game you want to play. The TV may be turned on to cartoons, but that doesn’t mean they will sit like zombies and become enthralled in the program. They are, in fact, little people who have their own wants and desires. My great-grandchildren are independent little souls who march to the beat of their own drummer. When the heck did that happen?
When my children were their age, I don’t remember them being so set in their ways. I imagine that sixty years of hindsight has probably changed my personal vision of reality. I do remember being frustrated and wanting to lock them in their rooms until they were adults. As they became teenagers, I wanted to locked them in their room and just throw away the key. But, I didn’t and – lo and behold – they eventually became responsible adults. Who’d a thunk it?
Emily and Brian, my great-grands, have places to go during the day. Brian goes to DayCare and Emily usually goes to Nana’s. When school starts next week, Emily will be spending her days at school until her mother picks her up. I don’t really have them during the day and for that I’m, surprisingly, happy. That’s OK because Barkly, the dog, makes up for lack of chaos.
My day usually starts at 5:30 a.m. pouring coffee for Riley, Ryan, Nicole and me. That’s about a whole pot, so with the last cup I make a fresh pot. Then I help Nicole find shoes and other things needed to get them out the door. They all leave at once. Now it’s just me and Riley. I find something for his breakfast. Sometimes it’s as simple as cereal and other times it’s bacon and eggs or waffles. He is now situated and I can go on to other things. I straighten up the living and dining rooms, gather up the laundry and start a load of wash. Next it’s doing the dishes and coming up with a plan for dinner.
I take little breaks between the tasks, but getting comfortable on the sofa is difficult because Barkley must be next to me at all times. Getting comfortable with a 55 pound dog laying on me, is not easy. Barkley is a blue-nosed pit bull that Ryan got long before he should have been taken from his mother. Ryan bottle-fed him and is afraid of his own shadow. He must have a trusted human around him, or he cries – no, he doesn’t bark or howl, he cries like an infant. He simpers and you can see in his eyes that he just wants someone to tell him he’s going to be OK. I’ve never liked pit-bulls, but this one is different than any other I’ve ever seen. Ryan and Nicole are very careful about Barkley being with the children. Barkley is never left alone with them and the children have learned not to lunge for the dog. They have been taught that Barkley needs gentleness and that’s exactly how both kids and dog behave. I’ve been extremely impressed even though Barkley’s constant following me and sitting with me is a pain in the neck.
Dinner is planned and probably started and a load or two of laundry is complete. I’ve been checking on Riley throughout the morning and if he’s had an accident in the bathroom, I must go clean that up. It’s time for lunch which may be leftovers or a sandwich or soup. I go down the hall, for the millionith time, to take him his tray. If I am lucky, he will finish before Young and Restless comes on so I can lay on Emily’s bed with Barkley gated from entry and settle in for one and a half hours of rest and enjoyment. Sometimes I fall asleep, but most days I do not. Riley always naps during this time and it’s a relief to know I don’t have to make another trip down the hall for a while.
After my respite, I continue with my dinner plans, fold the laundry and put it away, and clean up in mine and Riley’s room. Now I have a couple of hours before everyone gets home from work, school, etc. I can get on the computer and see what’s going on. I check on OARS, the blog, comments, bank account, Facebook, etc., etc. If I have time I’ll write a post.
Everyone piles in the door at the same time. The toys I put away this morning are instantly scattered back throughout the living and dining areas. Both kids want a juice box or a snack or something to digest. When I first got here, I was freely giving the kids anything they wanted. But, their parents reminded me that if they get lots of sugar before dinner, they will not eat. I’m not as quick to oblige them anymore.
My great-grands are the most talkative children I’ve ever seen. It seems they do not know how to stop. They use their indoor voice, but it’s like a bunch of magpies at a convention. I try to pay attention, but they often loose me in translation. Somehow, their parents are able to sort through it and know what is important from what is just chatter. I’m amazed at their ability. I remember trying to explain to my daughter that everything she thinks doesn’t need to be vocalized – but I wasn’t successful. She’s now an adult and has out-grown her need for vocalization.
We have dinner and then Ryan takes charge of their baths. In between we keep expressing to Brian that big boys potty in the toilet, but he insists he doesn’t want to. It is frustrating because he will tell us that he is busy pooping, but when we tell him he needs to go poop in the toilet he becomes quite adamant that the toilet is not his preferred repository for bodily functions. We agree that we don’t want to use the toilet as a punishment. We are patient. All things in due time.
There are no set bedtimes. It really isn’t necessary. Emily will just quietly disappear into her bed. Brian gets extremely hyper as he gets more tired. He plays “red light, green light” which involves him running in circles and suddenly starting and stopping. After a couple of runs around the room, he crawls into his mother’s lap and falls sound asleep.
It’s quiet in the house now. Nicole and I can now spend a few minutes talking about the day, house-hunting, budgeting, meals, plans and other things. I’m exhausted. I need sleep. I climb into my bed and listen to Riley. He’s now sleeping on his side rather than his back and the apnea seems to have subsided. He talks in his sleep. Eventually I fall into a welcomed slumber. My mind and body prepare for the next day.
We are looking for a house where Riley and I are more separated from Ryan and Nicole’s family. We want to be in the same house, but not in exactly the same space. It will happen, but we must be patient (OH! There’s that word again!). The right place will come along. In the meantime, we’ll just keep doing what we are doing. It seems to be working so far.
at 10:38 AM