The “magical” part of Christmas in our house seems to be the fact that my children, BEFORE MY VERY OWN EYES, were transformed from sweet, docile, mostly reasonable children into raging wild beasts capable of terrorizing entire neighborhoods. I GET it, you know, I understand that they're overstimulated and off their routines and were getting less than the ideal amount of sleep over the last few weeks, but I mean, HONESTLY KIDS. Today, for example, I am doing a Really Nice Thing for them (NOT THAT KIDS EVER NOTICE, what with the whole world REVOLVING AROUND THEM) and taking them out to lunch with a friend and then to a freaking BOUNCE HOUSE GYM for an hour and a half and they are actually spinning themselves dizzy in a Potbelly Sandwich Works and then careening wildly into people carrying trays laden with HOT SOUP AND SANDWICHES. While GIGGLING.
I had to be the mother that YANKS CHILDREN BACK TO THEIR CHAIRS BY THE HOODS OF THEIR COATS. I don't want to be that mother. I don't want to be reduced to yanking, for one thing (they just flop at the ends of the hoods which is possibly even worse), but I just hate feeling like I am powerless against them. I am not, for the record, powerless very often against just ONE of them, but when they COMBINE their powers, they're virtually UNSTOPPABLE. This is mostly because they zero in on nothing but each other, TRACTOR BEAM SIBLINGS, and block out the rest of the world, so they don't hear my voice even when it approaches Super Screech Level, as I am attempting to prevent them from power-chest bumping each other into (and then under, as in THEY THEN ROLLED UNDERNEATH) other people's booths.
I don't know what is suddenly different, but in the last few months it is ALL I CAN DO to keep my children from writhing around on the floor in public places. Restaurants, grocery stores, CHURCH. I have held God knows how many lectures in the car where I shake my finger in the rearview mirror and detail ALLLLLLLLL the terrible things that can happen when children roll around on the floor in public places. They include heads being stepped on and hot food being dumped down people's backs and PARASITES (it's a stretch, yes), and as a last resort, I have included the possibility that perhaps someone might get mad enough at them to YELL at them. This would have TERRIFIED me as a child; the idea that someone might reprimand me or that I might get in TROUBLE for misbehaving. Not my children – at least, not at this point. Asher seemed very concerned about hot soup down his shirt and the fact that we'd have to go home and change, therefore forgoing whatever fun thing we were poised to do; Lucy was worried that someone would squash her head with a boot. This is a step forward, as far as I'm concerned – I intend to bring up Hot Soup and Head Squashing each and every time we step inside a public place.
Honestly, we'd wandered out into the church lobby after the Christmas Eve service, and I turned around to find both my children dancing on a marble-topped coffee table (!!!) and then after they were reprimanded and removed from said coffee table, I caught Lucy playing hopscotch from one ottoman to another. JUMPING FROM OTTOMAN TO OTTOMAN. I give her one minor MINOR pass for perhaps not knowing what an ottoman is for, seeing as how we do not have one, but let's be honest here, it is a large stuffed piece of furniture, a very small COUCH, if you will, and we are not allowed to jump all willy nilly on those at home, so WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS AT CHURCH? Asher does it too – for attention? I guess? We often have to peel him off of our legs because he tries to wrestle us in public (WHY) and then when are finally able to wrest his arms from our knees he falls comically to the floor. Well, HE probably thinks it is comical; I am SEETHING.
Are my expectations too high? It's not like I'm expecting him to sit at a table and eat a four course meal, you know? I'm just expecting him to stand upright in a crowd of people; to not break into a run the minute we step foot inside a place of business. I just want them to walk beside me and not treat line ropes as a jungle gym. IS THAT SO HARD?!
WOW, I needed that vent. I know that when routines go back into place and children go to school and feel like they don't have to fight for my attention during the day, that it will be better. IT WILL BE BETTER. But until then, I have and plan to exploit my secret weapons, Hot Soup and Head Squashing.