Guys, I’m going to get real here. I love my kids. I would do anything to keep them safe. But some days … some days they make me want to crawl under a rock and hide. Or just walk away and leave them kicking and screaming in the middle of the aisle.
I try to focus on the good stuff – the moments when they try their best and do a great job. But some days … some days are just rough. This was one of them.
Yesterday was science co-op. I help lead it, and all the parents chip in and assist during labs. Most of the time my kids are calm and behaving. Sometimes they are not. Yesterday, they were the opposite of behaving.
The obvious question here is “why are you leading co-op?” Well, long story, but basically I volunteered so that co-op would continue to run. My husband doesn’t agree that it was a good choice to make because I’m stretched too thin, but our kids need educational opportunities and that’s hard to find sometimes.
The worst part
The worst part isn’t the parents who know I’m struggling and who are very understanding. No, the worst part is the kids. The kids who watch when I have to wrestle my kid, prevent him from kicking me, or stop him from flipping the lights on and off while laughing hysterically.
These kids are my son’s friends. They’re generally pretty accepting, but kids have limits. Kids know when someone is different, and we’re reaching the age that kids begin to distance themselves from “different.”
This class was the one where I had to stop, put on my “mom” voice, and raise my voice enough to get my sons to stop fighting over the Duplos we used for a demonstration. Where I had to stop the class to get my son away from the switches and have him sit down. Where my daughter decided she wanted to be the center of attention and used her ear-piercing screech that I absolutely hate.
Yup, that was science co-op.
The craft store
After co-op, we had to go to the craft store to get supplies for art class. Let me tell you – you haven’t lived until you’ve gone into a public space and dealt with your child screeching “You’re hurting me!” at the top of her lungs. A few people wandered over to check it out. They walked away after they saw her laying in the middle of the aisle, kicking her shoes off and screaming.
Someone told me that things got better after the terrible twos. Really? When is that going to kick in?
After the craft store, we came home. Home, to the disaster zone of toys strewn everywhere, Legos carpeting the floor, and books that flew the coop. Art class was tomorrow, so we had to clean up. My kids think that’s pure torture.
My son yelled “I hate art class! I don’t want to do art class any more!” I asked him why – he loves art class and we both know it. He stomped over to me and yelled “I hate picking up the toys before class!” I burst into laughter, which made him scowl more. “Son, you’re going to clean up YOUR mess whether we do art class or not.”
When the toys were finally cleaned up, I started vacuuming up the dog fur. I came around the corner to find the dog peering mournfully at me while she cowered away from the kids, tail tucked between her legs. They were “playing” with the dog as ninjas fighting the bad guy with toys swords. The dog was the bad guy, and not enjoying it at all.
All the kids ended up on the sofa with me full-out bellowing “we don’t hurt people when we play, even if they have fur!” Yup, I lost it because I will NOT allow my kids to hurt others, period!
Triggered behavior sucks
Here’s the thing – in each of these instances, there were triggers that prompted the behaviors. I can’t always avoid triggers (vacuum cleaning has to be done) so we teach the kids to manage their triggers. Some days they do better than others, some days they flop. I can dwell on the flops and get angry, stressed out, and upset, or I can focus on the things they excelled at.
Despite having a rough time during co-op, my oldest managed to go to the craft store without issues. The craft store is one of his top triggers. He told me that he was really focusing, and I loved him for it especially during the rough moments with his sister.
At the end of the day, my focus was that the Engineer worked hard and focused on his behavior at one of his worst trigger points. That gave me hope. And that’s what keeps me going, even when everything else flops and I want to go hide because my kids are being horrible.
Note: I’m sure my kids sound like absolutely spoiled brats in this post. Sometimes they are. Like every other parent out there dealing with high needs, strong-willed kids, we’re doing the best we can one day at a time. I would give my left kidney for kids who can stop to think before acting.