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I might actually miss them when they’re gone

Submitted by on Tuesday, 4 January 2011 No Comment

I’m doing a little better at this work-at-home/parent-at-home gig now. This year, it took me until Day 17 of their 18-day Christmas break to cross over to losing-it loony.

That point came this morning, as I stared at the wall hoping that an idea for the copy I was trying to write would magically appear there. The guys don’t understand that about writing. They think that if I look like I’m doing nothing, then that must mean I’m free to settle their disputes.

“MOM! He tookted the Wii remote!” Boots said, tears streaming for emphasis. He hasn’t said “tookted” in months and that, paired with the tears, told me he was trying to play the “baby” card. It didn’t work.

“We have four remotes. Pick another one,” I said.

“But me tookted MINE!” Boots thundered.

“He wasn’t using it,” Big Guy boomed back. And on and on for seconds that seemed like hours, until I snapped.

I stomped into the living room, unplugged the Wii cords – I like that the Wii is easy to send to timeout like that – and snarled. “If you can’t play nicely, you can’t play with the Wii. Now go outside.”

Still, I’m pleased with myself. Last year, I didn’t even make it to New Year’s Eve before begging them to watch TV. This year, aside from occasional outbursts of “did not/did, too” followed by flurries of “you’re MEAN,” it’s gone as well as could be expected when you’re juggling work and kids in the same building at the same time.

For a family that’s made only two trips out of town, one to the allergist and the other to find a light bulb for an Easy Bake oven, we’ve had a whole lot of fun doing, well, nothing much.

We’ve baked cookies and conducted science experiments. We’ve romped in an open field every morning with the dog. We’ve gone to and hosted sleepovers. We’ve battled it out on “Just Dance” and “Band Here.” We’ve even, miraculously, played in the snow.

With the exception of today, the guys have let me work in peace in the mornings because they know we’ll “do something” in the afternoon. It’s been nothing as spectacular as Disney – the “we’ll do it when Dad gets home” list grows daily – but it’s been enough for them.

Not long after after I started this blog almost four years ago – sheesh! has it really been that long? -  I remember writing about a day at the ballpark that turned disastrous. I wondered in later comments when or if it would ever get better.

It will, a dad assured me. Just wait until they’re 8 or 9. Life will be pure joy.

It’s the Golden Age, another father agreed. They’ll be more independent and less whiny at that age, but they’ll still be young enough to be curious and excited about life.

Though Boots still is years away from the Golden Age, Big Guy is ever-so-close. Close enough that I can see that the dads were right. Close enough that we can have almost three weeks off from school without having a riot. Or, at least, without having a huge one. Annoying bickering, yes. But knock-down-drag-outs? No.

We can have semi-adult fun now – mild PG-13 movies and music beyond “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Not that I didn’t have fun during their toddler and baby days. Parts of those eras were awesome, but parts also were very stressful. It’s like that when other people are depending on you for their every need.

So as much as I won’t miss the silly skirmishes over the Wii remote, I do believe that I will miss our care-free afternoons when they go back to school later this week and I’m left alone to stare at the wall in peace. Maybe they can train the dog to interrupt me if it looks like I’m doing nothing.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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