There are many, many days where staying home with the kids feels like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the mountain. Making meals, cleaning up after meals, reinforcing consequences, directing activities, laundry, diapers, laundry, laundry, laundry: its endless. Then there are moments like the one I had with R last night.
The boy would. not. go. to. bed. This happens all the time. It means endless trips up the stairs to sit with him for “just one minute”, to bring a snack, to get him a drink of water, to listen to him tell us “just one thing”. So, I resigned myself to not watching the season finale of Breaking Bad, but to coddling my little boy unconscious. It never ceases to make me curse the sleep gods that I can lay Baby A in her crib fully awake and she takes that as her cue to go totally comatose for 13 hours, and my three year old routinely takes more than an hour to put to bed and wakes up (sometimes multiple times) during the night. Having a baby who sleeps, but not being able to sleep through the night yourself, is like getting a gift you can’t unwrap. So, realizing that tonight was turning into one of those nights, my mood soured and I morphed into Sisyphus.
I went upstairs to sit on the edge of his bed to listen to him tell me “just one more thing”. He started to tell me about how all of his teachers like to punch him in the face and tell him to go home to his mama. How the kids at school won’t play with him. How he’s sad, sad, so sad when he’s at school. I might find this alarming if I hadn’t recently watched my son turn into the biggest drama queen in the entire universe. He’s started hanging his head and moping over to the stairs where he plops down, throws a glance over his shoulder and sighs, “there’s no one to play with me” and then hangs his head again. This is usually his response to me telling him I can’t take him to visit his cousins because, well, they’re in school, or it’s 6 am or some other obviously groundless reason. I’m fairly confident that his teachers don’t punch him in the face, and he’s always pissed off when I arrive at school to pick him up, because I’m RUINING HIS LIFE! So, I attributed this litany of woe to R wanting me to sit up there and love him up until, oh, midnight or so.
After hanging my head in my hands for a minute, I thought I might be able to turn him from his sob story by asking him what he likes about school. And do you know what he said? “I like it best when you come and get me from school, because you’re my mama and I miss you all the days.” Gah! Heart melting, tears forming, highlight moment. And before I could even start to gush about how much I love him too, and how I’m so glad he’s my boy, he launched into the most charming description of what he loves about school. He loves “tivities” and “go to the park” and “Leslie, cuz she’s my real friend and I wave at her and she wave at me and she wears a headband and it takes a few whiles to make a new friend….” And I’m so glad that I had the good sense to just sit on the edge of his bed to listen and ask him questions even though it was way past his bedtime, because I’ve never heard him say so much about his thoughts at one time. It was the most charmed ten minutes of my life with him, and I loved it and soaked it up and tried to will myself to remember it forever.