Thursday, January 17, 2013

Earning My Stretchmarks

There is so much angst in early parenthood, right? It's all about the babies' survival, and it's intense. From sleep schedules to feeding to the correct way to diaper, a lot of new parents consult myriad expert sources before making a decision. So much judgement, fear of said judgement, angsty angsty angst.

Then the babies go to preschool, and they're not baby babies anymore, and the parents catch a breath or two. We drop an angsty from the angsty angsty angst, but there are still worries. And then they go to kindergarten.

The past four months have been pretty nice around here, from a parental angst perspective. The kids are all in elementary school, and we've been in a good groove. I think the biggest worries have been when the kids slacked on daily routines (hygiene, chores). Other than that, it's been easy-peasy.

Well, until the other night. Terza somberly got off the bus, which is the exact opposite of normal. She kept trying to tell me something that happened at school, but I was busy herding all the kids (my three plus two more) into the car. Finally, we got home and she spilled her guts. My, oh my, she was a wreck. I spent quite awhile talking with her, hugging her, drying her tears...this was the biggest deal of her kindergarten year. Understandably, Terza continued to think and worry about it at dinner, so The Man of the House and I had a big talk with her.

Meanwhile, Prima had her own situation. Earlier that afternoon, her friend lied to me, and when Prima figured that out, her friend made her promise not to tell. Prima would have kept her promise, too, if I hadn't sniffed a fib and pressed Prima about it. So, after we were done with Terza, The Man and I had a big talk with Prima.

The middle child always gets left out, right? Not this time, my friends. Seconda's been navigating some upset feelings in inappropriate ways. Basically, if she gets upset, she takes that opportunity to have a big ol' bad attitude about everything. It sure is easy to have a good attitude when you're happy and everything is going your way, isn't it? But here on Earth, in reality, that blissful existence doesn't last forever. So, The Man and I had a big talk with her.

After the kids went to bed, I had a good chuckle realizing what had happened that night. We were firmly in the character-building phase of parenthood (also known as the lecturing-the-crap-out-of-them-so-they-become-decent-people phase). My little bit of smooth sailing between keeping them alive and building their character was nice, but now I'm growing and stretching right along with my kids. Maybe all that early parenthood worry and angst was preparation (perspective, really) for the long-haul phase of raising good humans.

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