I’m coming to you in advance, asking for forgiveness. I’ve got back to school brain. I haven’t been officially diagnosed, and it’s a manageable case, but I’m suffering nonetheless. Everyone else is, too. My brain seems to be locked in a semi-constant state of chaos. My brain is only operating in brief, list-like thoughts.
I miss summer. It’s only been a week, but let’s go back. Although the final weeks were busier than I’d have liked, I miss when we weren’t rushing to school early for Hall Monitor duty. Dance started the first week. Piano starts soon. We keep a minimally overscheduled schedule, but it gets nuts from time to time.
I’m glad my kids are back in school. Parenting is confusing like that. Y’all know I love my kids, but Lordy pete. I don’t miss the fighting. To be fair, The Boy doesn’t necessarily start fights. He does terrible things to his sister, which makes her terribly upset. He touches her and looks at her. He doesn’t just look at her. He looks at her like that. He’s smiling the whole time. At least he’s having a good time.
This summer required a revised set of house rules. The Kids are getting older. It seemed we were well overdue:
First, absolutely no touching, unless it is clearly and unquestionably a hug or an accident. You’d think I was being clear, but accidents are often hard to determine. You know the drill. You whip the wet towel close enough to your sister’s leg, missing every time but one. “It was an accident,” doesn’t work when she’s crying over the softball-sized welt on her calf. Some things just aren’t accidents. Hugging only counts when you’re actually, well, hugging. No pushing allowed.
If your sister screams, you’re probably gonna get in trouble. As a former kid, I fully realize that she just removed your arm with a dull, rusty knife, but I can’t take the screaming.
Your brother is older, and therefore his rules are different. It’s that simple, and I’m not going to debate his later bed time each and every school night. When he turns 16 he will drive. You will be 14 and will not. It’s time for you to learn it: life is not fair.
For the most part, I don’t care why it’s happening. Please don’t tell me every little thing that he just did which is now requiring you to tattle. I just want you to stop.
You’ve finally figured out that “we’ll see” can mean whatever I want it to mean. Sometimes, I’m just buying time, because I don’t feel like telling you “no” yet. It’s my privilege and pleasure.
“No” really does mean “no.” For the life of me, I can’t figure out who taught you otherwise. Don’t ask again and again, expecting different results. If you’ve asked, and I’ve answered, we’re done here. In the words of a dear friend, “Can’t grant.”
While we’re on it, this all might go more smoothly if you don’t ask for ridiculous things. “No, you can’t have ice cream. Dinner is on the table.” See how silly that sounds?
Don’t ever ask if a friend can spend the night if that friend is standing with you. I’ll always say no.
I know you are growing very, very tired of hearing me repeat myself. Rest assured, I don’t do it for kicks. Saying “please empty your laundry basket” eleventy billion times per day isn’t my idea of a picnic. If there’s some other language I can learn to expedite this process, please clue me in. Rosetta Stone is expensive, but I hear it’s worth it.
When I pester you about this being “your only sister” or “the only brother you’ll ever have,” I’m not trying to depress you. Y’all will need each other someday, when I’m gone. You’ll be surprised when you’re suddenly real friends. Right now, while you’re telling each other to BE QUIET YOU ARE SO ANNOYING, it’s hard to imagine, but it’s true.
Addendum: Just as y’all started to get good at this, we went back to school. The all too soon arrival of August. I heard y’all talked on the playground, and I hope you were kind. Always look out for each other. NO. That doesn’t mean watch his every move, hoping he screws up so you have a chance to tattle. Just love one another.
If you absolutely cannot, at least try to whisper. We wouldn’t want to draw attention to any questionable behavior. Of course, my perfect angel children would never, ever have to worry about that.