Work with me, please.


Mae’s school is closed today, and I’m off work entertaining her and running errands.

We had a good weekend. Hubby and I played paintball for the first time. We went with a couple whose son is Jay’s classmate and some of their friends. I had been warned that the hits would sting, and they did! The worst was a hit on my neck, given by none other than Hubby. There is a pink circle on my neck with bruise and burn marks around it. Still sore. It’s all good. I got a couple of shots back at him before the game ended.

It’s funny to me that, at age 40, I’m experiencing activities that will seem standard for my kids. A few weeks ago, I drove a go kart for the first time in my life. Ouch. Eight laps of bumpity-bumping around the track. I started with Mae as my co-pilot. It was girls against boys . . . until she realized that I am not as fast (i.e., wild) as her dad. She wanted to dump me. She bailed at the end of the next lap, and Jay jumped in with me. He was just as disappointed in my lack of driving prowess. He said, with disdain, “Boys are better drivers than girls.” A couple more laps and then we switched again. I have long been the less cool parent, so I wasn’t surprised that they were quick to leave me.

Both kids are continuing to adjust at school. Mae has made and lost and made again a friend who sounds a lot like her. At this point, Gigi is willing to be Mae’s friend “four days a week.” Fridays are out. (I have no idea why, and I didn’t bother to ask because I’m not ready for the answer. Call me crazy.) Mae says that Gigi is bossy, and Gigi says Mae is annoying. Of course, Mae thinks she doesn’t “do annoying stuff that much.” We try to point out to her when she’s talking too loudly, or being unkind and tell her that friends don’t like that type of behavior. I’m still hopeful that the natural consequences of being “annoying” will help her better self-identify what to adjust and how.

Gigi and Mae are in different 3rd grade homerooms. They see each other at lunch and recess and during aftercare, where they sometimes do homework together. I have yet to meet Gigi. Hubby did, and his first impression was that Mae had “met her match.” Gigi called him a “monster” when he picked Mae up “too early” from a parents night out event at the aftercare program. It sounds just like something my girl would say.

Mae has already decided that she can’t be friends with any of the girls in her class. There’s an “in crowd” and they won’t let her play with them. It’s incredibly difficult to stress good qualities and discourage the negative while also communicating the importance of being yourself and caring less about what others think.

Jay says school is fun, but he dislikes being the first kindergartener dropped off in the morning. Whereas his sister loves playing with older kids and has no qualms about approaching them, he is timid and more comfortable with his peers. He’s been sulking, having little tantrums, and plotting delays. I feel bad that he has to be dropped off so early. Right now, it’s the only way Hubby can deliver both kids and get himself to work on time.

It’s a constant balancing act, for which the kids have little appreciation. They want stuff and they want stuff done their way and they don’t care how you go about making it happen. When they are taking care of me in my old age, I hope I remember these days. I’ll pitch a fit when they take leave me at adult day care in the mornings and see how they like that.

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