Tonight some ladies came over for the inaugural Moms Prayer Group Or Maybe Support Group Where We Pray For Our Kids Or Something Like That? and I think I referred to my children as "jerks" about fourteen too many times. And I am not sure this is the sort of group that will condone calling your children jerks. So. We'll see how that goes.
I think I was just frustrated. The ladies were meeting at my house because Phillip is out of town, but that only meant I had to jump up every ten minutes to lay down the law in the Den Of Sneakiness. Jack and Molly share a bedroom downstairs in the farthest possible corner of the house, so I understand that it FEELS like their own personal kingdom, but I keep a baby monitor down there and I hear every.single.thing. that happens in that room. Singing, fighting, bed gymnastics, ALL OF IT. I'm not sure why this is so hard to understand.
BUT ANYWAY. The final time I marched down there I had Had It and ordered the miscreants to return their toy cars to the toy car bin. (Sometimes I let them have two or three toy cars in their beds when they "can't sleep" which is my way of "escaping before I have to lay down with them".) Molly dutifully deposited her cars in the bin and Jack APPEARED to do the same, but when he dived back into bed I heard clanging under the sheets. Kid had kept his cars! And thought he could get away with it! By being as noisy and un-sneaky as possible! Blargh!
So I got right up in his face, My Dad-Style, and told him exactly what I thought of little boys who only pretend to do what their mommies tell them to do, and then I went upstairs to rejoin the ladies, flopped on the couch, and called my kid a jerk.
I really shouldn't do that. I don't like how it sounds. There are better ways to describe it. BUT IT JUST CAME OUT.
I had the same feeling when I picked them up from VBS this morning.
OH WAIT. SIDE NOTE: signing those two up for VBS this week may possibly be the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I dropped them off around ten, and because EJ had slept late, she conked out in the car on the way home and stayed asleep when I transferred her to the crib. I had an entire hour of quiet. REAL QUIET. Not "the baby is napping and I have decreed the next two hours a Be Quiet Or You Will Be Shipped To Military School" quiet. Not "it's the weekend and we're all chilling in front of a movie while EJ sleeps" quiet. Honest to God QUIET, coupled with a startling lack of any crucial task at hand. It was... amazing? All day I've been trying to think of the last time that happened AND I CAN'T. And all day I've been thinking: IS THIS WHAT SCHOOL WILL BE LIKE?!
Okay, so anyway, I picked them up from VBS. My first question was if they wanted to go back the next day. OH YES. Yes yes yes. They definitely wanted to go back. My second question was also relatively simple: what did they DO?
Now whenever I asked Jack this question after preschool he would ALWAYS give me a nice little preview of the teenage years. "NOTHING." Or sometimes "I don't feel like talking about it right now." WHAT? Whatever. I don't feel like talking to you either.
So I wasn't particularly SURPRISED when Jack didn't jump up and down and motormouth all the wonderful and exciting things he did that morning. I kind of thought Molly would throw me a bone, but either she was equally unimpressed or just following Jack's lead. They did mention one or two things that I could barely understand because when they DO want to say something positive they MUMBLE. Then Jack busted out this gem: "I was bored."
BORED! My five-year-old boy, the child who is constantly pestering me for ACTIVITIES was BORED at VBS which is basically ACTIVITIES GALORE. I said, "WHAT?" and he said, "IT WAS BORING."
And I don't know, Internet, but there's something about that word "Boring" that makes me INSANE.
Molly had been right about to tell me an additional VBS detail but as soon as her brother blurted out "BORING" she repeated it. "It was boring, Mommy."
"IT WAS NOT BORING," I started ranting from the driver's seat. "If it was boring you wouldn't want to go back tomorrow! And you said you wanted to go back tomorrow! And it's not nice to say things are boring! You don't get to say anything is boring! That's mean! And if you don't have anything nice to say about Vacation Bible School then I don't want to hear ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT IT EVER!"
That's pretty much verbatim.
There was a lot of quiet in the van, then. But not the good kind of quiet.
Right before we turned onto our street Jack hesitantly shared another VBS anecdote ("There was a boy named Zap. Because he Zaps things!") (later tonight I learned that this boy is named ZACK) but I was sort of over hearing about VBS at that point. It just bugged me. YOU ARE FIVE. YOU ARE NOT BORED.
There was another time he was not bored recently: at the Big Red House, where he was surrounded by his extended family 24/7, including a handful of fun-loving boy cousins. But poor Jack, he just could not hang sometimes. He was so tired, so out of his element at points. I would look at him and instantly recognize the need for alone time, I could FEEL it - if you haven't guessed by now, Jack and I have a bit in common. Ha. So it was easier than usual to have patience with him, easier than usual to know what to do. Several times I gently extricated him from whichever situation was causing the tears or strife and set him up in my bed with the iPad for a bit. A personal time out. A de-jerk-ifying time.
OH, JACKSON CHEUNG. That's how I'm feeling right now. OH, JACKSON CHEUNG. You are a sensitive and occasionally sneaky little sasspants and I ADORE THE SNOT OUT OF YOU.