Helpless. That is the word I would use to describe the majority of my children’s behavior lately. They are two intelligent boys, with working appendages and brains, who are more than capable of doing many things for themselves, but, they don’t. This especially is true for Parker, who spends all day at home with me, thinking that I am his faithful servant.
Mommy, can you?
Mommy, I need!
Mommy, I can’t!
If I had a nickel for every time I heard statements starting with those three prepositions, I’d have a sack of nickels every day to knock my annoyed ass out with. All day every day, Mommy Mommy Mommy! Can you, can you, can you? I need, I need, I need! I can’t, I can’t, I can’t! By the end of the day, that sack of nickels is looking like a welcome reprieve.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that for the sanity of everyone involved, most of the time, I answer the calls. I reach granola bars that are not out of reach. I have wiped butts that don’t need wiping (from me, anyway). I pick out clothes, and even pull them on and button them, even though I know they could do it themselves, it would just take a little longer.
As their mother, isn’t my job to help them when they need it? Of course, but, it’s also my job to teach them to do things for themselves so they aren’t living in my basement at 30 years old, playing WoW and eating nacho cheese out of a giant tub from Wal-Mart.
Even though their incessant baseless can’t/need/can you calls piss the hell out of me, in a way, they’re kind of my security blanket. Yes, I lament. I complain. I scold- but they NEED me. There’s comfort in the very depths of my annoyance. They need MY help. I can still Mommy the shit out of them, and as long as I’m mommying the shit out of them, I get the sense (no matter how wrong) that they aren’t growing up WAY too fast. It’s that pause button we parents aren’t forever searching for! Unfortunately, my stupid good sense has to kick in, and it is screaming at me- louder than the kids can ever whine- that I need to say no. I need to let them start to do things for myself that I know they can do, and SHOULD be doing. I need to stop letting them interrupt me, and figure it out for themselves.
This needed to be done. Especially for Parker. Today, it was.
Today, I decided I was going to say no to everything. I was pretty sure the kids would kill me by the end of the day.
As suspected, it started out rough. There was a lot of “Mommy, can you?” followed by “Mommy! I CAN’T!”
We had a hairy moment when I was asked to get Parker a granola bar, said no, and when he finally gave up on crying at me, went to do it himself, and dropped it into the bag of dog food. Life’s tough.
He nearly shat himself when I left the bedroom, told him to dress himself and turn the light off when he was done.
And oh LAWD the fucking SKY WAS FALLING DOWN when he was trying to reach the blanket hanging on the back of the couch (directly behind where he usually sits and SO within his reach it isn’t even funny) for his nap and insisted that his legs absolutely would NOT allow him to climb onto the couch to get it, so instead, he stood in front of the couch doing the worst impression of “reaching” I have ever witnessed in my entire life, and grunted like a fucking caveman trying to take a dump. Over and over.
“MOMMY! I CAN’T!”
“Well, I’m not getting it for you, so either you figure out how to work your limbs, or you sleep and freeze.”
He was not amused. I was holding back tears. Why is it that everything is funnier when you’re trying NOT to laugh? Of course, once he realized I wasn’t going to stop what I was doing to reach a damn blanket that was right in front of him, he got it himself. Just like I thought.
Just as I was thinking that I was never going to get through to the kid, I noticed that I hadn’t heard the familiar sound of can you, I need, or I can’t in hours… and that was when I saw Holden bring Parker, who was plopped comfortably on the couch, a friggin’ granola bar. That little…. ALL HOPE IS LOST!
Okay, I’m kidding. It was just the once, and Parker did end up doing a lot of things for himself today, so I think it was a successful experiment.
Thing is, the one who learned the most important lesson didn’t end up being me. It was the Parker. I already knew he could do all of that shit without my help- but now HE knows he can.
….On second thought, me knowing that he can do it is WAY more valuable, because now he can never get away with telling me he can’t ever again! I WIN!
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