I have lost a little bit of my drive in these past few days. I am not unhappy or depressed, but it’s a weird feeling to have such little control over things that I like to do. This is how kids must feel like all the time I suppose.
Asha started remote school this past week and it’s been nice to have appropiate activities planned out for her by professionals. Her teachers are doing an amazing job. Everytime I take a peek at her live online class, I am stumped at how Ms. LaSala can have so much patience when 16 kids are un-muted and bouncing around with a million questions that need to be asked at the same time. But somehow she still finds a way to get them to focus without uttering a single mean word. Wow, I say to myself every single time when I witness it. Not a single mean word.
Arjun is digging deeper and deeper into his dinosaur obsession. He walks around like a dinosaur, growls like a dinosaur, eats dressed as a dinosaur, and is forever quoting dinosaur facts. I am trying to stay encouraging and amused by his interest. He is getting Ajay interested too which is sweet because they will often wrestle with each other as dinosaurs, laughing and giggling the whole time. Until one of them gets hurt.
There is still an immense amount of fighting, arguing, whining, crying. So much so that my role is now 40% Mother, 60% Step-mother. No offense to any real step moms out there who are probably very nice and kind.
There are two things that really drive me bonkers. One is whining. If they would only remembered to make their crazy requests in a straight normal voice, I’d most likely say yes to keep them out of my hair. But no.
Second thing is being asked stupid questions. Mom where is my … ? When it is right in front of their eyes if only they actually looked. What else is for lunch? A question that doesn’t even deserve my reply, but only my mean eyes. Well, can you help me? When clearly they know how to do the task but are only asking because they want my attention or are being lazy. These questions are not about their curiosity, but more about their determination to not have a good time without me being involved in that task.
I am feeling so mean these days. And then I dwell on it for longer than needed and make it even worse for myself. The other day, having run out of words to share how miserable they were making me, I came up with the Patience Scale. I explained the 0 and 10 and told them I was at a 1, so they can either choose to fill my bucket or watch me blow a fuse. They thought it was funny. Now they wake up every morning asking me where I am on my Patience Scale. It has accomplished nothing, but at least they are being aware of my mental state and it somehow dissipates the situation in my head and makes me chuckle a bit.
I have also had to enforce a couple of forms of punishments for when things get really really out of hand. For Ajay, this means, physically taking him outside and locking the screen door behind him. He can’t return until he has calmed down. For Asha and Arjun, they have to go lay in their bed and stare at the ceiling until I call them back. No looking at books, no playing in their room, but just laying. It’s surprisingly hard for kids to do such a thing. Overall, whoever doesn’t listen to the instructions is locked outside on the front or back porch. I can only imagine what my neighbors think of me. I wouldn’t have good things to say about me if I only saw crying, half naked, snot covered kids outside my house at all hours of the day. Ce n’est pas normal, as the French would say.
I have half a dozen emails from friends who sent me the “recipe exchange”. Sorry ya’ll, I’ve been the hold up in this otherwise very thoughtful and fun quarantine activity. After having every single meal rejected by three humans, I have no strength left to give anyone else advice on what to cook. I have given up in that department.
It’s not all terrible of course. Not at all. There are many good times mixed in with the bad. For instance when we all went to Dix Park and flew a kite. Or when Asha practices her bike outside with such determination. When the older two come run laps with me in the cul-de-sac. When we work on a craft together. When we write letters to our friends, When all of us play UNO every single evening before dinner. So many of these moments would not exist if all of us weren’t cooped up together.
I am also having an amazing time with Masterclass. I won a year-long subscription and now I can’t stop listening to all the lectures. I just finished David Sedaris and am in the middle of Judy Blume and Malcolm Gladwell. It’s good stuff that is helping me become a better writer.
That’s all folks. I hope you are all well and good too. Sending you love and strength and positivity.