Friday, May 15, 2009

Taming the Wild Animals...Or Euthanizing Them in Your Driveway

I had a difficult day today. There was really no reason for it other than the fact that it was Friday and Griffin and Peyton weren't in preschool this morning. Instead they were home all day with me. Per usual, as the day progressed I found I really enjoyed it. Both were cooperative and did very well with one another. Griffin was his charming, happy self, and Peyton stayed dry all day! There were successes to celebrate and moments to share. It was at the end of my day, when I realized I had accomplished nothing on my to-do list and our house looked worse than it did when we started out, that I found myself reevaluating my last 10 hours and deciding that they left much to be desired. It's a sad thing when efficiency and progress are hallmarks of your personality because when your day is being orchestrated by a 4-year old and a 2-year old, efficiency and progress are nowhere to be found. This is one of the things that makes me terrified of the career change that I am slowly crawling toward. You can modify how you spend the hours in your day. The question is whether or not you can adapt your personality to appreciate the new ways in which you are spending your hours. Can value be found in a day in which nothing was accomplished?

Also affecting my current life experience is that Carter is struggling at school. Today, for example, he told a bunch of kids at recess that he had taken a leak on the playground - a scenario for which he was sent to the principal's office a few weeks ago so it's not exactly an unlikely story. Then later this afternoon he angrily gave his teacher the bird. Admittedly, he has no idea what the gesture means, but he does know it has a negative connotation and the spirit of the movement was still readily interpreted by a bunch of kids who did know what it means. Today marked the 12th day in a row of his reign of naughtiness. On a high note, he seems to have moved past his kleptomaniac stage. Now he just lies constantly.

When Jeff and I lived in the DC area we attended McLean Bible Church. The Pastor, Lon Solomon, used to say about parenting, "You've got to get in the cage and tame the wild animals." At the time we had not yet begun to procreate and thought that statement was hilarious. Now we think it's profound. All this to say, we've got problems over here and I can say with great certainty that they aren't going to be solved efficiently. Worse, it appears that none of the disciplinary measures we have taken thus far have had any sort of impact whatsoever.

I took my crummy mood with me to dinner tonight. Dinner I was simultaneously thankful not to have had to cook, and frustrated by the need to constantly correct my dinner companions: stop turning around, use your napkin, get your feet off of me, stop pulling on my shirt, sit down on your bottom, be careful with your water, hold my hand. It would appear I am a relentless nag. Jeff, on the other hand, was patience incarnate. I'm sure there is no correlation to the fact that he, "had a quiet day at work and was able to accomplish some items on his to-do list." And here I thought I was the only one programmed to achieve.
On our way home tonight, we happened up this slithering across our driveway.

I'm positive the kids were not at all alarmed when Jeff and I both leapt out of the car to get our respective tools of the serpent-killing trade.

Mick Dundee at work. Incidentally, Mick claimed afterwards that the snake was around 5-feet long. But I'll let you all be the judge of that. I'm just here to report the events of the evening in my unbiased and objective way.

Time of death: 9:00pm. Which explains why I spent so much of the evening nagging our children. They should have been in bed.

Alas, if only parenting were this easy.