I often wonder if other moms out there experience the same cycle of crazy in their house with growing children.
Today, I was spared a morning with my son. Don’t get me wrong – I love him crazy awesome lots, but I don’t love how he loses his ability to think when he goes through a growth spurt. As I was saying, I was spared my son: The Husband remembered that the Vacation Bible School (VBS) that we had registered and paid for The Spudder to go to had started exactly one hour ago. So, we scrambled out and he had a great time for two hours of VBS. And I’m just thanking my stars that he had a great time with competent moms and other kids learning about Jesus and Mary (thank you Cat.Chat!) as I’m certain that wouldn’t have been our morning had he stayed home.
Upon his return, however, several things seemed to occur nearly at once.
After lunch, I worked at getting the two girls down for their naps while The Spudder played with his Lego (or so I assumed). I came upstairs and proceeded to call The Husband to go over some logistics for dinner. I wandered over to where The Spudder was, just make sure everything was all right. It was not great. He had decided he wanted to paint, which is not terrible in itself, but he was painting the inside of a bottle reserved for non-paint stuff. So I asked that he clean it up in the bathroom. He conceded. In the middle of the conversation with The Husband, I hear from the bathroom, ‘Help! Mommy, help!’ I obligingly go to see what’s up. My 5-year-old then proceeds to explain, ‘I was just cleaning up and I peed my pants.’
Now, do you ever just stand, staring at a child and think, ‘You’re absolutely out of your mind’? If you do, congratulations! You can relate. And therefore, both you and I don’t feel so isolated. Yay prize.
This child of mine has been accident-free for about a year (maybe more). This is an absurdly preposterous thing to happen at this stage of the game! So, I disconnect the call with The Husband and start trying to figure out how to start this process, as he’s also covered in red paint from his *ahem* cleaning. He washes his hands (which, of course, takes 10 minutes) and takes the soiled clothes down to the laundry (I have yet to verify this claim) while I disinfect the area. It’s at this point, when my nose is closer to the ground, that I notice little red dots walking their way to the stairs. Paint. Red paint has traveled its way across the floor. Thankfully it’s laminate and not carpet. When the child arrives back I get him on cleaning that up. OK. So, things calm down. Call The Hubby back. Explain the goings-on and attempt to continue with dinner conversation. I hear the boy head out the back door to the deck. Should be fine. He’s out there all the time without causing trouble.
I decide to head outside, as there’s laundry that I’ll have to fold after the phone conversation. I reach for the doorknob and catch sight of the boy. When he sees me, he jumps like he’s just been caught doing something and the sunscreen goes flying from his hands. The Hubby offered to chat with the boy about life while I investigate.
Turns out he thought it was a great idea to squirt the sunscreen onto as many things as he could. As in: the stairs, the deck, the lilac bush, the rosemary plant and the car seat that, as it was, already needed cleaning.
And that, my friends, is when the Husband pointed out that he’s really not thinking well today at all. And that is when my experience with adolescent-brain-thinking clicked in (being a former Coordinator of Youth Ministry) and I realised, this is most definitely a picture-perfect scene of what it looks like when children go through growth spurts. Basically, in easy terms: their brain stops working well for a period of time. Things happen and decisions are made where the parent (in this case, The Husband and I) think, ‘What on earth did you do with our Spudder and who are you?’ and the ever-classic: ‘But he never does this kind of thing! What on earth happened?’
Yes, my child can listen better. Yes, my child can make some better choices. My life might feel ruined because it’s just not the stress I needed while trying to get a meal planned for company coming over in about three hours. Knowing that he’s going through a growth spurt doesn’t make all things better, but it does shed light on it and help me to see that there is an end. All that we can do now is attempt to get through it without anyone being injured. Hopefully it won’t last long. In fact, it’ll likely last just long enough to push that last button that puts me over the edge before he goes back to a new normal. That’s just the way things seem to go here. But there will be an end.
So today calls for putting the TV on so that I can keep prepping the house and the food for friends coming over. I don’t like to succumb to the call of the TV, but it’s better than losing my sanity and getting more and more frustrated and angry with my child today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to hold it together better, but maybe I won’t. As much as my first desire would be to extinguish the problem (child), I’m glad we have the ability to rationalize with ourselves. I really don’t want to murder him, even if I watch my sanity walk out the door sometimes. My mantra in these moments is this too shall pass., and I know I’m not the only one who uses it. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring and I’m not going to think about it. Didn’t Jesus say something about not worrying? Something about flowers and dresses and pretty and delight and don’t worry, God has it (Luke 12:27-31).
Copyright 2015 Jane Korvemaker.
All photos and images copyright 2015 Jane Korvemaker. All rights reserved.