Some days, I'll admit, I don't cope well. Some days the St. Johns Wort doesn't work as well as others; it's cold and my knees complain every time I have to walk up the stairs; the kids are feeling more ornery or less cooperative than usual...any combination of things can make the day a blessed heaven or a hellish pit of screaming and insanity.
I was pretty harsh on Gus today. I feel crappy about it, so no need to beat me up - I've got that covered. It was one of those bad combinations and it went all wrong pretty quickly.
He's usually pretty tired when he comes home from school so I let him have a snack and chill out a bit before starting homework. Today I made an apple pie just to give the kids something fun for a change instead of just fruit. They seemed to appreciate it. Then we went up and got ready for homework.
Now Mondays are usually tough because I have a schedule to keep. I've got the get homework done, kids bathed, dinner cooked and eaten and then off to work. It is not the best day for the type of homework that Gus despises or for his lovely sister to decide this is the day to torture him. We got a nice sized helping of both.
Spelling words. He had to trace them and then write them twice more. And there will be a test on Friday. Not something I can really blow off. The boy hates to write. The boy was tired. The boy didn't want to hear noise, but the girl wanted to do spelling like her brother. The mommy was about to ram her own head through the wall.
Here's the thing: She needs to learn empathy and to not kick people when they're down so to speak, but at the same time, he needs to learn to cope and that he can't expect the world to shut down when he needs quiet. Usually we make her stop, but why does she always have to be quiet? Why shouldn't she be allowed to sing if she's moved to (so what if she sounds horrid - she's four!) or to spell or laugh or whatever. It's her home too and all she was doing was being a four year old. She has the right to exist in her home too without being scolded for making noise. But of course as soon as I ask her to stop or she hears her brother getting upset over whatever she's doing, she becomes compelled to continue.
So, I lost it - on him. I ordered him to stop the crying and to deal with it. I told him that the world is not a quiet place (and I was being none too quiet about it) and that he had to cope with the noise sometimes. I asked him what he would do when he's in a bigger class and people were talking - would he tell everyone to be quiet? Would he cry every time someone spoke in class? And what about how he talks when other people want quiet - like at three in the morning when we're trying to sleep? Oddly, he actually responded to what I was saying in between crying more. I really suck at being a mom sometimes.
Then there was the added issue of trying to finish the damned homework. Usually his teacher wants me to make him form the letters properly and neatly. I gave up on that. The last couple of words were a mess, but at least he did them. I'll write a note. Once I got a grip on myself (which I did fairly quickly - not quick enough, but it was a short outburst) I decided to cut all our losses and just get through the best way we could. We have all week to learn to spell 'bicycles'.
We're all back on good terms and I'm dragging my creaky knees out into the cold to work. And I'll just have to hope that tomorrow will be a better day.