Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Social Reproduction...

Or, the struggle is (semi) real.

Or, on raising feral boys.

Oh, hey. How's by you? Remember me?  **I** don't.  I feel no shame in saying that the last two week's have ROCKED me.  And you know what?  It's 10pm on a Friday night.  I stayed late at work to sort my emails, get up to speed on files that I had been neglecting, made a task list for next week, and otherwise, set myself up for success.  Came home, ate a healthy dinner, banged off a batch of Thomas Keller Oreos.  Put the kids down to bed with minimal fuss.  Did a long stretch while listening to a podcast (this one, if you're interested, which I kind of adore), had an even longer epsom salt bath while catching up on my Book Club reading, and I'm listening to the Anderson .Paak album in preparation for tomorrow night's show while catching up on my online shopping and getting ready to blow the dust off my keyboard and do some serious, processing, practice writing in the form of a blog post...WHEN A GIANT FUZZY BUGGY (I think they're called house centipedes?) just scurried down my shoulder and arm and disappeared into the couch crevices.


I get it, universe, I'm f**king done.

First days. A wave of shiny, scrubbed, beaming kid faces junking up my FB feed and I'm yelling at all my kids in an increasingly frenzied tenor: "HURRY UP WE'RE GOING TO BE LATE" and I made a commitment to taking the Big Yam to school for his first day of grade 1, even though my manager was kind of being not chill about it when I gave her the head's up on Friday before the long weekend.

Grade 1 is a big deal.  They go from being in the idyllic world (Songs of Innocence) of the kindergarten playground/pen...separate recesses, separate the gen pop (Songs of Experience).  The yard is BIG.  EVERYONE is there.  The first day was chaotic.  A teeming mass of confusion and scared looks.  And I couldn't even watch him go in.  I had to leave him there as soon as I found his teacher and hop on my bike and haul a** to work, because...I don't even know why.  Because I needed to be reminded that leaning in is hard?  Because I sadistically wanted to carry with me all the day the memory of his little clueless face in that gongshow sea of heightened emotions?  No wait, it's because I had to work on an RFP for procurement.  Right.  Of course.

I mean, he was fine.  I didn't get my first day photo.  The world didn't end.  Mom guilt is real.  And look, the Dotytron is ONIT.  You know that package of about 29 different forms that comes home on the first day?  Lice checks and snack programs and media releases and codes of conducts and classroom procedures and school procedures and signing up for a million different ways of being contacted (text message, email, app, phone, passenger pigeon, parchment scroll, cuneiform tablet)...he did it all, bless him.  He packs the lunches, most of the breakfasts, supervises piano lessons, starts dinner, and does most of the homework supervision.  I couldn't do it without him, as evidenced by the fact that last night, when he was at school late because of curriculum night, the entire house dissolved into a mess of uneaten dinners and unorthodox tv-on-a-school-night, and the twins rolling around naked on the back deck in two (!) giant upended bottles of bubble solution, and a whole lot of stern shoutiness (from me, obviously).

Anyway, we collectively got rocked the last two weeks.  Downside to being a professional cottager, I guess?

When we came back from the house in Prince Edward County, we rolled into town, unpacked, started laundry, began the slow process of putting our lives back together, and met my mum at Petit Potato for dinner.  Petit Potato pros: extensive menu of Asian desserts, most of which you don't get outside of Taiwanese snack bar type places; we get 10% off there thanks to my Congee Queen loyalty card; the space is nice.  Petit Potato cons: the non-dessert items are kind of meh - I'd rather go to Phoenix or a dedicated ramen shop for ramen.

Image result for petit potato giant toast

People go to Petit Potato because of their "giant toast" which is in fact, the giant-est, rendition of giant toast that I've ever seen.  They pride themselves on this giant, 18" stack of soft, white bread, that has been toasted, the innards scooped out, cut, buttered and toasted to buttery-crunchy-crouton-y perfection and then the whole thing is stacked and slathered with whipped cream and ice cream in various flavour permutations.  They're famous for the mango but I find mango puree cloyingly sweet so we got the Oreo flavour to appease my kids.  Anyway, the Dotytron ordered ramen which was good, but not exemplary and I had the Japanese "omurice" which is Japanese-style English food and consisted of an omelette, wrapped around fried rice, with some kind of protein (in my case, pork tonkotsu) and a slathering of decent (read: from the Glico box) Japanese curry.

My kids needed massive appeasing because after a whopping 15 days away from regular life and "Lord of the Flies days" and general abdication from any semblance of a routine outside of being a beach bum, they got smacked in the face with the "giant toast" of reality sandwiches (I'm quite proud of what I did there).  I remember when we were sharing with Momma D and Ehdmo, at one point, as the twins chased each other in endless circles around the main floor of the country house, screaming at the top of their lungs, Momma D turned to me and said, exasperated, "IT. IS. QUIET. TIME. THEY SHOULD BE QUIET RIGHT NOW." And I was like, "IF I COULD MAKE THEM BE QUIET, BELIEVE ME, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS PURE AND GOOD IN THE WORLD, I WOULD."  (except not quite like that).

Later, when the Roomie and the rest of the gang had joined us, there was a moment when she came down and was super-freaked out at how hard the twins were hitting each other and wrasslin': "It just seems like they're being very rough with each other.  Is it normal for them to slap each other?"  Now, I know the Roomie.  She's a sweet, classic hippie.  I get that.  I really do.  But I ALSO get that I felt incredibly judged by this perception of my children as violent.

I carried that with me for quite a few days.  And it all came to a head at Petit Potato.  The kids were fractious and non compliant.  The food took too long and we ordered the wrong things.  The meal was unpleasant on all counts and all the hissing and threats and hauling stiff bodies out to sit in the car didn't make a lick of difference.

I was done.

And then...and then I sat with it for a few days, and really looked at my kids.  I looked at how sweet the Big Yam is with little ones and how caring and helpful he is.  I looked at the fact that the twins NEVER, EVER (*knock wood*) hit anyone other than each other, and how the majority of their time they're rolling around on the floor wrestling and grunting like a pair of labrador retriever puppies, and I settled on this: the twins are rambunctious kids.  That's who they are.  They have a lot of kinetic energy.  I don't know where it comes from, I don't always know how best to serve it, but I know that this is them, and they will tussle, and they're not unkind and they dish it out to the people they think can take it (each other).  They only very, very rarely hit us, or any adults, really.  They don't hit other kids.  They are two exuberant, slightly wild boys, and I don't know where they came from, but they are ours and we're doing the best we can with them.

Things I want to always remember:

Twin B clumping down the stairs with the iPad, unsanctioned, under his arm, repeating the mantra, "Please say yes, please say yes," which he does sometimes before asking the question he wants the yes, to.

Dr. Rei going into the dining room at the cottage and I overhear her say, "Twin B!  Where did you get that?  Should you be playing with that?" and Twin B replies, "Don't tell my mom. Don't tell my mom. Don't tell my mom."

Twin A doing the entire opening sequence for Sponge Bob Squarepants, complete with growling pirate voice.  Hearing him try to say, "absorbent and yellow and porous is he..." is a gift.

Walking the Big Yam to school and the ridiculous conversations that ensue.  Most of which requires me to say "Uh-huh" "wow" "really?" at appropriate intervals during an interminable Minecraft-related monologue.

Week 3 folks!  We made it!  Stay strong!  I will try to post more regularly.  I have many, many things to share.


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