Sunday, March 8, 2009

Not So Static Cling

When the Prince and Princess were wee little ones, they would occasionally have "clingy" days. All they wanted, all day long, was to be held, rocked cuddled, and played with. In short, to be the center of Mom's attention all the time, all day long.

Now that they are asserting their independence, they can go nearly all day without needing dear old Mom. That is unless they need food, clean clothes, or a ride somewhere. Mom can referee the game, but she can't play it.

Back in the day, I used to get so frustrated thinking about all the things I wasn't getting done: the laundry, the cleaning, the dishes. I used to long for the day I could use the bathroom by myself. I still do. Nothing draws a crowd quite like heading off to the throne room with a good book.

These days I have a lot more time to myself to do chores. Just mention the possibility of work and the children who were about to die of boredom miraculously find something to do. I feel a bit like the Little Red Hen, if she had been a washerwoman instead of a baker. I wash the clothes, I fold the clothes, I put the clothes away, but everyone wants to get them dirty!

Yesterday was a throwback.

Yesterday was a "clingy" day.

The little Prince had two teeth pulled, and he needed a little TLC. On his own terms, of course. He didn't want hugs or cuddles. But he did want Mom to fix his drinks and snacks.

He didn't want Mom to hover, but he did want to have contact every 15 minutes or so. He needed to ask me a question, to give me an update on his Wii scores, to show me his latest creation. Short, but frequent interruptions that made it nearly impossible to concentrate on the work I'd brought home, or my on-line accounting class, or on finishing that book I was reading.

When the little Princess arrived home from school, she sensed the game and upped the ante by wanting not only my attention, but my participation. She wanted to know where the finger nail polish was and if I would paint her nails. The Prince countered by needed help finding the teeth that he had kept in his possession all day long. The Princess needed help with her homework. The Prince wanted to read with me. The Princess couldn't figure out how to use the TV guide by herself. They both took a sudden interest in learning how to cook and needed to be right beside me while I was making dinner.

I wish I could say I put aside all my chores and basked in their attention -- with a smile on my face. I wish I could say I didn't obsess over all the things I wasn't getting done. I wish I could say we all sat on the couch together and cuddled and read a book. Yeah, right, like that would happen.

I wish I could say I didn't snap at them out of frustration when they wanted me help them get ready for bed. I wish I could say I didn't feel relieved after hugging and kissing and tucking them in. Finally, a little alone time!

I wish I could say that relief didn't quickly turn to guilt. I wish it wasn't then that I realized how few and far between these "clingy" days were, and that they won't last forever.

I wish that evil little part of me hadn't thought "Someday, children. Someday I will have my revenge, and you will be waiting on me hand and foot!"

I wish that thought hadn't grown: "Someday I'll ask you to delete the messages on my voice mail, and I'll ask you to explain -- for the umpteenth time -- how to do that. I'll ask you to move a picture just a fraction of an inch, putting it right back where it was the last time I asked you to move it. I'll show you the angel I think someone just brought me, because I won't remember it's the one you gave me for Christmas."

I wish I hadn't realized those "clingy" days won't last forever either.

Touche', Queen Mother. Well played.

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