My middle child, Henry, went to Kindergarten this year, and I hate to admit it, but it has improved my quality of life more than I thought possible. I love the little guy, but bless his heart I had no idea how needy he was until he wasn’t here to need me all day long. Okay, I take that back–I think I spent the last 5 years complaining about how needy this child is. But still: I am amazed at this quiet, restful, peaceful existence. Until 3:00 every afternoon.
That’s when my daughter and I trudge up to the corner to meet the boys on their way home from school. And heaven help us if we do not bring a water bottle for the excessively thirsty Henry. He stands on the corner and guzzles down a liter of water, mere blocks separating him from the water fountain at school and the kitchen facet at our house. (side note: If you want a really awesome stainless steel reusable, environmentally friendly water bottle, check out drinking bottles by H2Osmosis on sale now at Joseph Beth. The best part is they are dishwasher safe and plenty of room to put ice cubes in the top.)
It is a true phenomenon that when you are entrenched in hard work all the time, you do not mind it nearly as much as when you must do hard work only now and then. Case in point: For the last 5 years I endured the constant neediness of my darling middle child from sunup to sundown, and yet I went along with it because it was simply my reality. I coddled him when he screamed 10 hours each day with colic; I rescued him from near death when he climbed the furniture constantly as a toddler, and I provided the seemingly endless supply of snacks and playdough and animated book reading that were needed to entertain him as a precocious preschooler. I did all of it with 2 other kids in tow, and I never once thought that sitting down and resting was an option.
But now–now I spend the whole day with my daughter who never asks for a thing. I spend hours reading a book, or on my computer without ever being bothered. I spent the first week begging her to let me do something for her: “Would you like a snack? No? Then would you like me to help you with that? No? Play Barbie dolls with you? No? hmmmm” At first I felt useless and bored. A few times I forgot she was in the car with me, and then I felt guilty. Finally, I started to relax. Until 3:00 every afternoon.
My point is: now that I’m on easy street all day, I’m having an even harder time dealing with the needy child for the brief time I have him home at the end of the day. (“What do you mean you need something off the top shelf? Can’t you see I’m lounging here?”) Which explains alot about life, really. Like how taking a vacation makes it that much harder to go back to work the next week. Or how once you skip exercising a few times, it’s nearly impossible to get motivated again.
So what am I going to do ? Adopt a colicky baby so I feel more at home? Not a chance. For now my plan is to quench my own thirst for a peaceful existence (believe me, I’m thirsty!) and, of course, to keep filling up the water bottle every afternoon at 3:00. After all, it’s nice to be needed.
It probably couldn’t hurt to get the Kindergarten teacher a really nice ‘thank you’ gift, either. Perhaps a nice water bottle…