What a long strange trip it’s been

We are back. Home. It feels so good. It was a very long three days away. Even Rebecca commented on that when we got home yesterday evening. “I love my house!” She exclaimed. “I haven’t seen it in forever!” At times I wanted to pack the bags (it’s amazing how many I brought) and turn around and come back home. It’s hard to watch your kids without help when they are all running in three different directions. But at home I am home and I have a pretty good idea as to where they are even if I can not see or hear them. I live in an area where I can leave them out in the backyard together and not have to worry. But this all changes as soon as you enter someone else’s home. Even if that home belongs to your parents. Especially when your parents were super diligent about your upbringing. Especially when most of their house is not geared for children. Especially when most of their furniture is white. (A dream of mine one day… or maybe not!)

There was a playroom, small but it was theirs, until my mother turned it into her office. Their toys are still there, neatly put away in wicker baskets and carefully placed on closeted shelves. They can play in there but they have to be quiet. It is very hard to keep three children quiet, especially when two of them are boys. There are also toys aplenty in one of their bedrooms. But most, at this point, are more appropriate for the youngest child. Still they find ways to play and entertain themselves. And then they get bored. My kids do tend to get bored easily. I have still to figure out why! So we are best left to play outdoors. They all love to swim and jump in the swimming pool. But even that only lasts so long. We have a trike for Alexander and he can ride it on their tennis court. And draw with chalk. And jump rope and play with the basket ball… and sweep the leaves which I do believe is his favorite thing to do. But when we are not outside things get tougher. The kids are expected to be quiet. The older two can control their noise level — somewhat, but this is still hard for Alexander. Their manners are not perfect. They do not like all kinds of food. (I have never thought of them as fussy, ever!) They are too loud. They do not have a set daily schedule. (During summer vacation — unless they are in camp — they absolutely do not!) Well, according to my mother they need a set schedule and they need to be less fussy and quieter. Apparently I was a perfect child. I ate all my veggies — everything that was put in front of me as a matter of fact. I always did what I was told. I was not loud and my manners were impeccable. Well, I certainly don’t remember this as the case! Raising three children is vastly different than raising one. I have chosen to stay at home with my children. My mother did not. I grew up in New York City where skyscrapers and taxi cabs outnumbered actual Manhattanites. I live in a town where cows outnumber people! I have to schlep three kids to school and to all their activities after school and on weekends. If I don’t want to serve lunch at Noon in the summertime because I am not ready to do so then that is my prerogative. My kids graze too much. They do not eat enough. It was a lot to have to listen to. I understand that our lives and lifestyles are vastly different. But I also realize that there are many different parenting styles and what works for one might not work for another. My mother was super organized. Still is. Everything has a time slot and a spot. I can not function that way. I most likely would not like it even if I did not have kids. I hate routine and repetition. Obviously my kids (during the school year) need routine and day to day life requires repetition. Some days I need to keep them busy and fill their days to the brim. And some days I need to do absolutely nothing. My mother’s ways worked for her. Mine work for me.

My kids chew with their mouths closed and know to put their napkins on their their laps. They always thank me for a cooked meal. Always. And they never need prompting. They always look an adult in the eye when spoken to. They say please and thank you. They really are pretty good kids even if they piss me off hourly. I know I haven’t done everything wrong even if my mother believes that Alexander should be punished for every little thing he does wrong. There would be way too many punishments if I did it that way! I don’t believe that would be constructive at all. I save the punishments for the big stuff. I really think it is a more effective means of parenting. I am pretty certain my pediatrician would agree with me. Apparently a peach AND a bowl of popcorn is too much food for an afternoon snack. I should not let them snack so much. Rebecca’s hair is too messy. She should know how to take care of it herself even though I, myself, struggle to remove the knots. It went on and on like this for 3 days. it was tough and yet I kept reminding myself that we are different people with different views and different parenting styles. I kept reminding myself this. And I wonder how much the kids heard, grasped? If they could sense the same tension I did? I felt like a kid all over again. I am closer to middle age than childhood. Despite it all they had fun and want to go back. And despite all I will bring them back if that is what they want.

As you can see from the above slideshow I did manage to take some great pictures of the kids! I hope that I might be able to use one for a Christmas card picture…