Thursday, November 14, 2013

"When I Grow Up"

Ava and I went to see Matilda in London a few weeks ago.  It wasn't my fave, it wasn't as good as the book and I barely remember the movie, but it was all right, and obviously, it was the experience of the whole thing.  The little girl was amazing, and Ava liked the music, so we've been listening to it in the car.  And one of the best songs is When I Grow Up.  And we listened to it today and it really got me thinking this time.

When I grow up, I will be tall enough to reach the branches that I need to reach to climb trees you get to climb when you're grown up

And when I grow up, I will be smart enough to answer all the questions that you need to know the answers to before you're grown up.

And when I grow up, I will eat sweets everyday on the way to work and I will go to bed late every night

And I will wake up when the sun comes up and I will watch cartoons until my eyes go square and I won't care cause I'll be all grown up

When I grow up

When I grow up, When I grow up, (When I grow up)

I will be strong enough to carry all the heavy things you have to hold around with you when you're a grown up.

And when I grow up, when I grow up (when I grow up), I will be brave enough to fight
creatures that you have to fight beneath the bed each night to be a grown up

When I grow up (When I grow up) I will have treats everyday and I'll play with things that Mom pretends that Moms don't think are fun

And I will wake up (I will wake up) when the sun comes up and I will spend all day just lying in the sun and I won't burn cause I'll be all grown up 

When I grow up

When I grow up I will be brave enough to fight the creatures that you have to fight beneath the bed to be a grown up

When I grow up

Just because you find that life's not fair it doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it, if you always take it on the chin and wear it, nothing will change

When I grow up

Just because I find myself in this story, it doesn't mean that everything is written for me, if I think the ending is fixed or ready I might as well be saying I think that it's ok, and that's not right!

Little kids, at least kids that are typical (I mean this in the broad sense, like kids who's parents don't abuse them, kids who are loved, kids who have adults around them that they look up to)- little kids think being grown up is magical.  You know? And truly, it is.  I LOVE being a grown up.

I am CONSTANTLY telling Ava how awesome it is.  I get to swear. I get to eat candy.  Stay up late. Watch ANYTHING I want on Netflix.  The list goes on and on and ON. You name it, I could do it.

I have COMPLETE free reign of my life.  Even the things that we moan about having to do, the getting kids to school, cleaning the living room, unloading the dishwasher, all that crapola- technically I don't have to do that shit.  I could keep the kids home every now and then, or sign them in late.  I could let the house be a wreck, as long as it wasn't dangerous. We could switch to paper plates and plastic silverware. I can basically do just about anything I want.  

But kids? 

Not so much.

As part of my new Peace Project (that I haven't given much thought to at all, as per my usual) I started thinking about WHY I get so frustrated in the mornings, what it is that's setting me off.  And obviously, what's setting me off is that the kids are getting set off, mainly the boys.

And, I think, at least a small part of it has to do with this fact that whatever word means the opposite of 'complete and total free reign of my life'- that's what they have.  I tell them when to get up (although let's be honest, I've had to wake up ONE child ONCE in my eight years of parenting) and what to wear. And how to wear it. I tell them they have to eat, and give them a VERY NARROW list of options. I make them put on shoes that I picked out, zip coats that I ordered, and go sit in the seats that I assigned years and years ago in the car. I take them to school, where their teachers tell them exactly what to do and how to do it for eight hours. Then I go get them, bring them home, make them put their belongings where I want them, make them sit where I tell them, give them a snack that I've chosen...I could go on and on and on.

What would you do if someone came into your room and handed you an outfit and made you eat fill-in-the-blank for breakfast at a certain time, shoved you into the car- it would suck, no?

I dunno. Of course, I understand that they're kids, they can't just rule the roost. And Scott especially, but all kids in general, they need structure and rules and limited options. It makes him feel safe.

But I think I can understand why he gets so upset when I snap at him to BUTTON THAT DAMN TOP BUTTON AND PUT YOUR TIE ON SCOTT!!! Why Warren loses his mind when I refuse to let him eat a bag of chips for breakfast. Why Ava bursts into tears every time I holler at her to GET THOSE TOYS OFF OF YOUR BED!!! 

I mean, I would NEVER spend the day with my top button buttoned.  If I want a bag of chips for breakfast, I'd eat it. I have eaten it. I don't put toys in my bed because I'm a lot taller than Ava and my legs take up all that extra room, but I can see the appeal of having the things I want close by, and besides, all that space at the end of her bed is just useless dead space anyway, isn't it?

You'd think I have a point, but I really don't. I hope that maybe realizing WHY my kids get so bent out of shape sometimes might hopefully help me react a little more peacefully. 

And another part, reading those lyrics, another thing I hope is that I can sometimes remember the magic of being all grown up.  Yes, some of it is silly. But some of it is awesome. I can have treats every day. I can play with things that I pretend I don't think are fun. I can wake up when the sun comes up and spend all day just lying in the the sun and I won't burn because I'm all grown up (and I know about sunscreen.) Now, I'm strong enough to carry all the heavy things I have to haul around with me.

And now? I'm brave enough to fight the creatures underneath the bed. The fury, the anger, the rage- all the things stealing my peace. I can fight them.  

I can, and they can't, and really, that's the main point.  

1 comment:

  1. My kids 4 and 6 have tons of books and shit on their beds. They choose their breakfast (within reason) and their lunches, too, and they pick what they wear (weather appropriate, and we don't have uniforms) unless it's Sunday or picture day. Our household is run this way for three reasons: I am lazy, I want them to have some say in their life, and I want them to have strong decision making skills. I do have to wake them both up almost every school day. Being a grown up is awesome. Pass the chips.