Saturday morning. Sick. Not running again today either I think. I probably could, I probably could push things, but I don’t want to. I suppose I feel like I deserve a rest after the week that’s just past, that it won’t harm all that much to take yet another day off (apart from maybe solidifying the habit of not doing), and that there are plenty of other things to be getting on with that I can spend the time on instead.
Like lying in bed watching The Fellowship of the Ring with the children. “Tell me all about Hobbits” says Twin2 and I never saw a person swell with as much pride as G. did. I don’t think there’s anyone who reads this that doesn’t know, but The Lord of the Rings trilogy and all the appendices ever are like G.’s bible. It must be like a pastor’s child saying “Tell me all about God. I want to know everything.”. Mind you, at Christmas the same child desperately wanted to know everything about Jesus, so maybe he’d fit in well there too.
They both seem to have a huge appetite for knowledge and understanding – on their own schedule and according to their own interests it’s true, but there’s something very satisfying about interacting with a child who has a thirst to learn.
I tend to feel guilty and wasteful about these lazy weekend mornings, but thankfully some subconscious part of me often overrides that Pointy Plague Doctor that wants to drive me on to “utilise” the weekend in some externally acceptable manner.
Mind you, it’s pretty frustrating when I’ve designated a chunk of time for “taking a break” and spending wonderful relaxing picturesque time with my family; MakingMemories(tm) and all of that, and it lasts for all of 2 minutes before descending into fights and demands and whining entitlement and I start to ask myself what I’m rearing here. Am I following the tenets of gentle parenting and trying to respect my children’s separate personhoods and needs, or am I being lazy and permissive and not in the mood for a fight.
Anyway right now whether I want it or not I’m in the middle of a fight with one of them. He wants to put his feet up on the couch right next to my hot cup of coffee. I’m even okay with his foot being right on the edge of the couch so long as I’m keeping an eye, but this is not good enough; I must not keep looking at it! It would be kind of funny – I mean it even is kind of funny to me, but to him it’s not. It’s deadly serious and very upsetting. And of course it’s not about where he can put his foot, it’s really about control and agency, and I guess as a four (nearly five) year old, you don’t get so much of that in your life.
When I think about it that way, I feel a little like acquiescing and moving my coffee – after all, it’s not actually that big of a deal to me, there are other locations where the coffee could be safely put. And then I get back to that niggling question in the back of my brain “What am I rearing here?”. Too much giving in and he’ll just turn into an entitled asshole – yeah, I believe that. And it’s not even that I think “I’m the adult and hence my needs wants and desires are above the children’s”, I honestly try and think how I’d react if an adult was asking for the same thing.
It’s a bit of a problem because mostly adults don’t want to do the same things as young children. If an adult wanted to put their feet next to my hot coffee I’d probably say “Hey watch out for the coffee” too, and they’d say “Oh yeah, sorry!” and it wouldn’t be a big deal. Or if I could see that they needed that space for something I’d say it and then move my coffee.
Communication doesn’t work out in quite the same understanding way with 4-nearly-5 year olds.
So, my baseline rule is that it depends on how I’m asked. If he asks me to please move my coffee in a reasonably nice voice, I will probably move it. Of course once he’s in the space of being able to ask nicely, he’s more able to hear a “no” without a meltdown too.
It’s not easy being small.
It’s not easy parenting a small either.