Rocks have a cycle, water has a cycle, even energy has one!
Back a million years ago, when I had time to obsess over and read about every minute detail of my children’s development, I discovered a couple things. One was, there are very few developmental books that talk in detail about whatever the phase was that makes me want to pull all my hair out, take a Valium, hire a nanny, and retreat to a spa. It would have been helpful to read more about how to alleviate THAT. The other was that kids cycle every 6 months or so, depending on age, in and out of developmental milestones. Little leaps of progress, if you will. And that preceeding these miraculous developments (one day they can’t walk, the next they can outrun you across the park! One day they can’t say a word, the next they’re demanding colder milk and warmer oatmeal! One day they can’t lift their hands above their heads, the next they’re reaching out and grabbing for the car keys to take the ride out!) is a slump where they actually regress for a bit. They sleep fitfully, get whiny, become sensitive, and generally become a big drag.
I’m glad I read that, because it’s saved my sanity for the last 12 years. Whenever my kids become big drags, I repeat to myself, “It won’t last forever. And when it stops, they’ll do something amazing that they never have before!” I tell you, I’m always pleased with the end results. Even though my kids aren’t toddlers anymore, they still leap ahead in certain areas at random times. Just this year, in fact, I’ve watched them leap into doing the dishes without complaining, sorting and washing their own clothes (folding too!), and preparing simple meals.
It’s the ‘before the leap’ slump that kills me. Especially when all three hit it at the same time. Right now at any given moment, any one of my 3 will be slumping, whining, arguing with me, or even worse, crying for no apparent reason. (**edited to add sheepishly: this kind of sounds like PMS, actually…**) Chores and routines that are well established become unbearable. Apetites change, sleeping patterns shift, and I feel like I’m walking on eggshells during the day. Now, I’m a pretty flexible gal (schedule and eating wise, that is) so a lot of that is workable. But the WHINING! The CATERWAULING! The SLUMPING SHOULDERS and HEAVY SIGHS OF FRUSTRATION! It all puts me into an emotional straightjacket. Today alone I’ve seen all 3 of my kids crying at one point or another. One time because we ate all the oranges and didn’t have anything to make orange juice out of. One time because we were playing a game he didn’t like…and then he cried because we stopped playing the game he didn’t like to play another game. One time because my very strict schedule (yeah…this one…) was too constrictive.
I’ve had one or two do this at the same time, but not all 3 at once. I think I’m handling it well, but then again I did have a dream last night where I sent myself into space in a rocket. I ended up on Mars, and for the rest of my dream I sat in my rocket ship looking at the rocket dials but never moving to get out of my quiet little spaceship haven.
I’ll just wait this out, knowing it’ll end soon and who knows…maybe they’ll start speaking latin or something. It’d be nice if they started spontaneously solving math equations or writting a history thesis. Heck, even whipping me up a perfect belgian waffle every morning would make it worth it.
A mom can dream…