Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The parenthood battle

Remember how I wrote a post about my lovely weekend alone with the kids while Joey was in Manila? Only two short weeks ago?

This past weekend was a different story. Joey was gone again for baseball - this time to Beijing. My children - still sweet and lovable - and me were left alone (relatively speaking) once more. Missing this weekend was patience. They had little patience, which made waiting for only one parent to do things for them very challenging. Manners dried up and were replaced by whiney demands. And if what they asked for didn't materialize IMMEDIATELY, the reminders were instant (like, forget that I actually have to walk to the fridge to get the milk to bring to them). My patience for whiney demands sapped up just as quickly as their reminders appeared. They each spent a time out in their rooms. I lost my cool when Michael kept asking for something at least 15 times after I'd already said no.

They probably heard just a minute from me more this weekend than they heard I love you. Ella followed me into the bathroom on Sunday morning and innocently asked me if she could have milk or water (or something else I've forgotten) and then continued, just a minute mama?

Poor babies. I was glad to have Joey home and the kids were so excited to see his trophy for winning ALL their games. Though we all survived the weekend, I reached the end of it feeling like a lousy mum. I know it happens - I just wish the guilt and remorse I feel wouldn't hit me so hard. I can't ever seem to accept that there will be good days and bad ones.

* * * *

And our battle continues...
The closer Ella gets to turning three, the more challenging her behaviours are. She is so much more devious than Buddy ever was at this age. She almosts gets a sparkle in her eye as she looks at you while doing something naughty or runs away with something she shouldn't have. Most days, it's something she's snatched from Buddy. We're often met with furrowed brows and "no" when we ask her questions like "can you come sit down for dinner?" or "will you help me tidy up your tea set?" We try to explain to Buddy that there are some things that Ella does only to annoy him and to try to let us help him handle them rather than to chase her down and clobber her. I remember the almost threes as so much more difficult than the twos.

There is only one word for her - shaow tai. It is a term of endearment that is used in Hainanese. The direct translation is smelly shit. It more equates to our use of little stinker.

Then there's Buddy. Sweet, sensitive, complaining all the time Buddy. In the information we received from school, one of the characteristics of almost six year olds is that they complain - a lot. Yep. I can vouch for that. Nothing is fair. Nothing is good enough. He crumbles into a heap of tears - the five year old version of chucking a wobbly - at the first mention of the word no.

And we eagerly anticipate the arrival of baby number 3.

Just in case anyone is keeping score...this week it feels like we're losing. Two minutes before I added this to my post, Ella was eating paint.


Shan said...

I'm years behind you in parenting, but I do know that when I stayed with you in Hong Kong that you were more than patient with your children. One can only expect that when you are pregnant and your husband is away, that you are more than likely to have less patience.

emily said...

i won't believe a word of what you've written about ella until i see this behavior for myself. :)

in all seriousness, i can only echo what shan wrote above... you are one of the most patient, nurturing, encouraging mamas that i know. i am constantly learning something new from you.

Norbyah said...

you guys are so flattering. thanks for making me feel better.

Norbyah said...

you guys are so flattering. thanks for making me feel better.

gilly said...

Hey there! I have to say that from all the blog reading I've done over the last year or so on your sites I would say you seem to be extra special patient and a super duper mummy! I laughed quite a bit reading your post. Remind me that I laughed when in a few years time I'm saying the same things about my children inshallah!

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