Morning With the Kids

I'm sitting at the kitchen table right now with my kids, contemplating whether or not I've actually entered a different universe. Life is never the same with kids, is it? You find your way into a little groove and start feeling satisfied with your life and children and parenting skills, but then the little ones turn a corner and it's like you're driving down Highway 1 through the Redwoods and you've taken a curve too quickly and your car has turned over. Everything's upside-down, everything is spilling. It takes a while to get the car back on its wheels and the contents cleaned up. (This actually happened to us once, when I was little, we flipped our little car on black ice and the donuts and coffee we had just bought at Tim Horton's were everywhere, but we were all fine, just upside down in our seatbelts in the snow.)

So anyways, just a few weeks ago we'd probably have been sitting contentedly eating our oatmeal like reasonable, sane people. Today, however, I'm caught between in the maelstrom of Kid A's endless debates with me over whether we eat breakfast or lunch in the morning and whether or not he is hungry, and YaYa's wild shrieking over the fact that she has to wear a bib. Wild, tear your hair out, apocalyptic screaming. It accelerates in zero seconds flat. Their terrible voices are like metal grinding on metal to me. Or that terrible tickle that you get sometimes when you scrape your teeth against your bottom lip. (Is that just me?) My love of a lingering breakfast with a book or magazine and a cup of tea is perpetually thwarted. I should probably get used to it, until they've grown up.

The other thing that has me thinking that I’ve been propelled into another dimension is the new dynamic of quarreling that has entered our home. This when Chinua and I have actually learned a lot about not quarreling. Or, I should say, I've learned a lot about not quarreling. A friend of mine whom I deeply respect said something to me about always treating my Chinny with respect and being very, very polite. This is so simple, but it has changed a lot. Kid A and YaYa, however, have a loooong way to go. Not that they're married, but being siblings is pretty close. You have the benefit of similar genes to help you get along, though.

This is all so good for me. I feel like I'm taking a huge gulp of the frosty air that we have up here in Canada, feeling it freeze my throat and lungs. What I mean is, it's bracing. It's like the first whiff of the challenges ahead. The two-year-old challenges (and the six months after and before) are here again, and will be in another two years also, when my unborn babe is going through this. Helping your children understand how to navigate the stormy waters of their emotions is such a huge part of parenting. I know this because it's still a challenge as an adult, for me. My kids need all the preparation they can get.

I feel less and less confident in my own abilities as I go. God will literally have to pour in the wisdom to deal with this stuff. My kids need a better shepherd than me. Or Chinua. Thankfully whenever I reach out, He is there. If only I could remember to reach out a little more.