I wrote this long (unpublished) post about how, last Saturday, I tried to take Sam bike riding around the block but it ended up with us all in tears.
Here’s the shortened version: I had the grand idea to go around the block and get the kids outside while Nat was at Home Depot so Sam would ride his bike (with training wheels). Kit had her little soccer ball which she insisted on bringing. The problem: Sam would get a little speed and then stop and have trouble going again so I would have to push him. And while this continued to happen, Kit was kicking her ball into the street. And I was getting FRUSTRATED dealing with the two kids and them acting, well, like kids. And because I was FRUSTRATED, Sam fed into that energy and acted up more than probably would have if we were simply one-on-one or if Nat were there.
Anyway, everyone ended up crying and I seriously considered taking a Xanax at 9:20 in the morning. All because we went for a walk / bike ride around the block.
It’s still in draft form because it’s kinda boring and lame. I got frustrated with my kids! Who doesn’t? But while it’s been kicking around in my brain, I’ve thought about how on edge the experience made me. And then I realized I’m pretty much constantly “on edge” around my kids every single time we’re in public together without Nat.
One on one, not so much. But two on one, and I’m like this:
I’m just so nervous they will hurt themselves outside of the house! I’m not even worried about kidnapping or knocking over shelves or hurting someone else! I just don’t want an injury we would have to deal with away from the confines of our home.
If Nat were there, we’d have more eyes, more hands to deal with keeping them from catastrophe. (And maybe, just maybe, we could share blame if someone got hurt, but I won’t admit that.)
Does that make sense? Is anyone else like that? I mean, on the weekends, we’ll let them hang out downstairs by themselves for at least an hour while we catch up on sleep and I never give it another thought. But as soon as I hit the sidewalk or a store with them I’m KEYED UP. I act as though we’re on some kind of dangerous transatlantic journey and not at the Target 15 minutes away from our house. I stalk my own children and watch their every move!
At home, we all know what to expect. It’s KNOWN. In the outside world, there are so many shelves that could tip over onto them, or stray dogs (there are no stray dogs, but their COULD BE), or streets to run into or walls to draw on (even though they’ve never done that, I’M JUST WAITING for them to draw on a friend’s pristine Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist wall paint).
It’s like by being keyed up, my body is trying to will them to BEHAVE.
And I hate it. I hate being keyed up around them; they know how to feed off of it. It’s not healthy and not right. I know that soon they will be more aware of themselves and their surroundings. I won’t be as keyed up in the outside world as I am now.
Until then, however…