Friday, November 16, 2012


Yesterday my high-maintenance child was sick by official guidelines, and thus, home from school for the entire day. He was not sick in such a way that he was low maintenance. (That does happen sometimes. I hope you won't judge me too sharply when I tell you that I sigh in relief on those days.) Yesterday he still had as many requests and opinions as a normal day. Constant boundary pushing. I try to see the positive side in this characteristic. He'll make an impressive manager! He knows how to push the envelope. Or I just cross my fingers that this behavior is something he reserves for me. Oh please, please don't act like this way around your friends! Then my mind drifts back to how wonderful the 7 hour school day is for me. Please let it be wonderful for you, your classmates, and your teachers, too.

I'm not sure why I feel compelled to share this. Maybe because his presence at home yesterday meant I DID NOT get to take a nap. I wrote this post instead.

Fritz has been busy a lot the past month. Conferences, meetings, retreats. He's been gone overnights and in the evenings. And here on the home front we've had three house guests. I now feel spoiled by the relatively calm pace of the early fall, when Fritz's presence was here and involved. The weekends were quiet and unplanned. All the recent change in routine (with lots of single parenting for me) has been hard. I cringe when I think about typing this: but, life and parenting are much harder without Fritz. The feminist in me wants to tell you that I can do it myself. I'm strong, I'm independent, I don't need a husband - I don't even need a partner! Fritz can travel all he wants! I'm fine. I can do it!

Well, the truth is, especially in parenting, I do need a partner. It's overwhelming to try to be everything the boys need. Eventually, I start slipping. It's almost always discipline consistent expectations that go first. Mattias will do something like intentionally pour a glass of juice on the floor. He's too old for that. But instead of addressing the action, I'll just grab a cloth and soapy water and start cleaning up. I just don't have the energy to make him do it himself, or give him a time-out, or any of the other various parenting strategies employed on better days. Sheez, I can't even find the energy to THINK about the right parenting strategy.

You might be thinking this is exactly how one ends up with high maintenance children. You might be right. I tell myself that I'm not often stretched so thin in my parenting. But when I am, it's not good for any of us.

In more cheerful news, the persimmon are here! Have you seen them? I didn't make the same greedy mistake as last year. This year I went with the fuyu and I have been happily enjoying them without losing sensation in my mouth. Last year, I must have waited WEEKS for those hachiyas to ripen. Sure enough, they looked more and more and more disgustingly, mushily ripe, and still my mouth went numb when I tasted them. I was on the brink of tossing them in the compost when a friend sent me this Bon Appetit recipe for persimmon bread. The persimmons were salvaged and the bread was yummy, but I did miss eating raw persimmons. The fuyu persimmon are crispy like an apple when you eat them, and that, in my opinion is a big part of their appeal. Also, the edible interior star design when cut latitudinally makes me smile.


Sara Struckman said...

I LOVE that you write what you actually think about parenting. If you could see me reading your post, you'd see me bobbing my head. I don't think you're any less of a feminist by admitting that parenting is hard and that it's better with a partner. I visited a friend with a newborn and she said, "I just want him to sleep!" My response: "That will never change." Hang in there!

Simply Bike said...

I just did three days of solo parenting while T was at a conference and I did it with only ONE kid, not two, and it was exhausting. Everytime I do any solo parenting, I think, my lord, give single parents a medal! How do they do it day in and day out?

I think the feminist response would actually be to demand equal parenting (or an arrangement that makes sense to both and that leaves both feeling good about the whole parenting/family/responsibilities sharing thing) rather than try to do it all on one's own.

Hope the little one is on the mend and that you geta good long nap in today!

Pregnantly Plump said...

I completely understand what you mean about needing and wanting help. Bob is a HUGE help with the boys. But he works 2 nights a week during the fall semester, and those two nights are almost always hellish. I find myself saying, "There's just one of me and three of you. You've got to give me some time to get to it all." And I usually end up yelling at some point, almost always over nothing.
And I also understand about the high maintenance child. I love that he goes to school for 7 hours. He gets to do his own thing without me standing nearby worrying about his fits and sensitivity, and about how other kids view his fits and sensitivity.
I also understand about sick kids. While I hate when my babies are sick, I love the warm snuggles I can get. And how I can also get stuff accomplished without worrying about them getting into trouble.
I hope the travel dies down soon.

Anonymous said...

You put so much energy and thoughts into parenting those last five, six years - I think it is okay if you are too tired to think of the right strategy right now. You built a solid base and your boys are wonderful, really! If people think otherwise (including teachers), they are just wrong! Now your boys might have to learn that even mom is not prefect all the time. Maybe it is a chance to get them more involved themselves - you planted the seeds, I am sure. You can't be everything, I know - but do you have to be everything? Welcome to the Third-Child-World. Which sometimes feels to me like the equivalent to the Third-World-Country. Especially if you try to compare yourself to the same parenting standards as for parenting two kids with a husband that is always there, grandparents around the corner, a house cleaner every week....oh, and of course a babysitter if one of the kids falls ill!