Sunday, April 30, 2006

Day 3 with a 7-year-old

1. Disney Radio is getting old.
2. But not as old as the Disney Channel. And what's up with all the sexual innuendo in The Suite Life with Cody and Whatshisface?!? I'm sure the kids don't know why what they're saying is a joke, but DAMN.
3. The Game of Life is much more fun when you're playing by real rules. I can't decide if I should call her on her cheating ("no really, I spun 10 and not 1") or just let her have her fun. The game is dragging on and I'm very glad bedtime is fast approaching. (She's on the phone with Daddy now)
---she's finally asleep---
4. It is amazing the value kids put on staying up "late". It doesn't matter even a little what they're doing -- it only matters that they're up past their bedtime. Even 5 minutes is enough. Also amazing are the excuses for not going to bed.
5. My brother is *finally* getting a headache today (if he didn't get one by tomorrow the surgery is off). They're hoping it gets worse, so he's staring at lights and turning the TV on too loud in the hotel room. Looks like their trip to the mall today did the trick. It's so weird to hear my mom squeal with glee "maybe it'll get worse!!"
6. So what to do for the rest of the night? Clean up the mess we made, of course. We baked a cake (mmm, chocolate frosting with NERDS in it... kids are weird.) We already cleaned up Life and tidied up her room (she got to stay up 15 extra minutes for helping me with laundry and tidying her room), but there are still some stray groceries to be put away, and the dishes need doing.
7. Thank goodness she is such a well-behaved kid. It was amazing to see the contrast between her and most (I really want to say all, but it's very possible the well-behaved ones slipped past unnoticed) of the kids in the store. "Can I have that?" So I make her choose between pop-tarts and granola bars, which she does without argument. All the while another kid her age (possibly older) is having a fit because he can't have the Cap'n Crunch. She bought her gumball with a quarter and proceeded to drop it right out of her mouth, and I didn't get her another one. She pouted a bit but got over it quickly, all the while other kids are being dragged behind their parents screaming "I want a quarter!" She's really a very good kid and making this very easy on me.
8. And while I'm enjoying this time with her, loving that we're bonding and having a blast, I still don't want one even a little.

It's hard enough to take a GOOD kid to the grocery store, but kids have to tag along to the grocery store even when they're crabby. She certainly gets crabby and doesn't win Kid of the Year 24/7. Today was just a *really* good day. I can deal with the good days, but even those require constant vigilance, seeing what she's up to, whether she finished her food, making sure she doesn't stick her hand in the Kitchen Aid trying to snatch some cake batter. It's the constancy I object to. Yes I have a bit of time to myself now, but it's going to be spent keeping the house in order, just to have a tornado blow through tomorrow. Some women find this life wonderful, fulfilling, and bless you all because the world needs you. But while I am so proud of her and I'm filled with pride that she's such a wonderful kid who is so smart and great and she respects me so much, this ain't the life for me. We didn't hesitate to say "yes" when she was left to us in the wills of my mother and brother, and we raise her in a second if it came down to it, but this isn't the life we want for ourselves if we can help it (hence A's forthcoming snip-snip, for which he volunteered awhile back and I refused to let him do until I recently agreed we're ready to make the call).

At Amy's shower yesterday I told her that she really cleaned up. "If you choose to do this," she said, "you'll get to enjoy all this too!" I smiled and said nothing, impressed that she realized this was a choice. Sister-in-law Joy piped in "of COURSE she has to do this! It's so rewarding/fulfilling/enriching/etc." This went on for a while, the other mothers (nearly all the women in the room) chiming in, and I just said nothing. I think Joy eventually got the hint through my silence (it wasn't my place to "come out" at Amy's shower), which either means in the future the subject will be dropped or pressed even harder. I KNOW it's all those things to the women who choose kids. I don't question that even a little, but I will ALWAYS resent the insinuation (which Joy made, quite literally) that my life and marriage can't be complete without kids. If I have no desire to have and live with a child forever, how could motherhood (a word that makes me actually cringe when I consider it for myself) make me complete? How is that a risk we could even consider taking, that we might resent the child, which is the only emotion we can see feeling toward something that would require 90% of our energy every single day? I'm learning, as I try to fit this well-behaved, well-mannered, helpful 7-year-old into my life for just three weeks that this sort of life is so not for me. I'm not built that way, many women are. We're different and really, that's ok.

The day A and I have the desire to live with a child, we'll set about acquiring one. But until that desire is whole and complete, no babies here. I don't see that day coming anywhere in our future. We've talked about it extensively, exhaustively, and we always come to the same conclusion: We like being grown-ups too much.

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