Monday, April 4, 2011

Maybe it was easier then.

When your kids are little you are so very physically exhausted. At least I was. I'd see women just loving to play with their little ones and wonder how they had that energy. I had a child who didn't sleep through the night until she was 5 years old & another who decided she didn't like to fall asleep until about 2 a.m. some nights. That coupled with extreme anemia that I didn't know about just left me tired. A lot.

When my kids were little people did not encourage me with words like, "Oh, it's so much easier when they are older." I guess that's a good thing because they would have been lying. They told me that it wasn't as physically draining, but it was more emotionally and mentally draining when they were pre-teens & teens. Maybe they did lie, as I am still tired a lot! But the other part is true. I'm not sure if it's a roller coaster, a merry-go-round or bumper cars. Maybe it's just one big amusement park.

When Natalie was little, from the time she was old enough to do so, she was the child I'd pick up from church nursery with a little greeting from the helpers. Sometimes it was in the middle of the service and I'd get "paged" or it might be after the service if they kept her the whole time. The greeting was usually, "Today Natalie was hitting (insert any child's name in the room)," or "Natalie had to sit in the time out chair for biting (child's name)." The child was consistent: at home she'd also hit people. I recently learned she even hit kids in their houses. She cannot understand why she was so mean, but praise God she has grown up to the point that she no longer hits kids or bites people. She typically doesn't take toys away from others, either. LOL!

Now, though, there is a new issue. It isn't abnormal. In fact, I'm quite sure it's par for the course. It's something I recall as a girl about her age and it's something I know to be true from teaching. It starts when girls are around 9 or 10 and continues on until, well, I'll let you know. It's called having friends. I don't know if it is because hormones are starting to bounce around in their bodies or because they are trying to assert themselves (again, NOT new here) or exactly what happens, but girls hit a stage where they can be best friends then something happens and they are bickering. From my experience, there is rarely a right person and a wrong person. Often it is a perception issue. Sometimes it is a sleep deprivation issue. I am convinced that every girl born in the year 1998 was born with strong leadership skills, too. I can recall birthday parties for Natalie with about 7 girls all born that year & every single one being a leader! Apparently, other years have had this issue as well. I've seen this happen between girls over & over. Truth is I see it happen in my OWN house with the two girls who live here daily! Each girl is convinced she is right.

From an outside perspective, and as a Mom/teacher, I have to say that usually both girls are wrong and both girls are right. I'm remembering the year I had 14 boys in a class and 3 girls. One of the girls was smart. She just hung out with the boys! LOL! The other two, oh, my. They would go round & round from best friend to worst enemy. I must say with my girls & friends it has never been that bad. Maybe because they are under our watchful eyes so often we've had opportunities to use these times as teachable moments. Maybe because they have learned Scripture from a young age they're able to move through these times more easily. Or maybe I just take enough naps that I can pretend it's better than with some of my students or even my friends & me at that age! After the fussing, they typically will still chat and give each other a hug. It may be a few weeks before they are buddies again, but they are friendly. I MIGHT have not been as nice after fussing with a friend at that age. Just maybe. 

As I'm typing this I'm reliving memories of my own. I'm picturing Jo Carol and Lee Ann and Beverly and Denise. It's giving me hope that we will survive this roller coaster ride. While I lost track of Jo Carol when we moved away from the Houston area when I was in high school, my parents have stayed in contact with Lee Ann's parents over the years, and Beverly & Denise and I are in touch occasionally. Bev lives in a nearby town and is busy with her two teenagers and Denise lives out of state. I haven't seen them in awhile but they are the kind of friends that if we did get together with our kids (as we did a few times when they were young) we could laugh about those days in our youth. I'm trusting that as my girls & their friends go through this part of life they will be able to look back one day and laugh, too.

Look out. In the year 2038 you might find the first 40 year old pair of women as President and VP in the White House!

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