Bob has been out of town all week. We all went to drop him off at the airport on Sunday evening. This was good because it involves the kids and Bob took us out for dinner on Kaiser. I hope I don't get him in trouble by posting that but really, Kaiser owes me. Dinner was pretty good and Sophia and Coulter were really well behaved. That being said, Kees was not. He wouldn't sit still, wouldn't eat anything but french fries, kept poking Coulter and was generally annoying. He is going through a really annoying phase. I guess that is his right since he is only 3 but I am done with that so he should be too. Have I mentioned that I DO know it's not about me I just have a hard time fully accepting that.
After dinner we all gathered in the area before security and said good bye to daddy / Bob. The moment he turned his back they all started in, "Can we go to the play structure? Can we? Can we?" I will tell you that using the term "play structure" is a stretch. I give in, we go. They all run around this thing like it's Disneyland. At first it's fine but 20 minutes in there are 15 kids running around and I think, "There is going to be an accident." So it's time to go. They are pretty good about leaving.
We walk through the terminal toward the car. They're all lagging behind. "Can we ride the elevator?" "Can we go up and down the escalator?" "Can I go on the evegator?" (that's Kees, the evegator, I love that.) We ride the elevator, get out and are approaching the car when Sophia says, "I can't wait for daddy to get home." And I say, "Meee tooo" apparently with a lot of attitude in my voice. Sophia stops and says to me, "Why do you always say it like that?" I say, "What do you mean?" and she says, "Like we're a pain in the ass." I stop dead in my tracks. She's right. I said it exactly like that. Like my beautiful, wonderful, healthy and generally well behaved children are inconveniencing me. I feel about 2 inches tall and am shocked into her reality. And I know that if she is able to articulate that, that her brothers feel it too. I walk around the car and get in facing her in her seat. I say, "I am so sorry. You're right I did say it like that but I don't mean it. I'm not going to do that again because I love you very much and you are not a pain in the ass. We are going to have fun this week. Sophia, I am really, really sorry. Do you forgive me?" She says she does but it still stings. I still feel badly thinking about it. If she said it now she must have been feeling it for a while.
I remember when she was a baby and you could say whatever you wanted around her. As she grew we all learned to refrain from certain words. Then, of course, we went to spelling. And until last weekend it hadn't occurred to me to worry about my inflection. They say that body language is 90+% of what we convey and isn't inflection verbal body language? We can all say, "Are you wearing that?" in 50 different ways. Some are excited like we love it and others are completely condescending and rude. And I, by saying that I couldn't wait for daddy to come home conveyed a message that I never intended. I meant it, but didn't intend it for the kids. So I have learned a very valuable lesson. First that I need to be very careful about how I say things. Kids are smart, very smart and they know what we mean. They carry things around in their hearts so we must be careful what we put there. And secondly, I needed to adjust my attitude, and I have. I need to be grateful for my time with them, and I am. I need to be grateful that my husband has a good job, and I am. I need to be grateful for my smart, wonderful kids, and I am. So rather then just adjusting my inflection I have tried to take a different perspective, a perspective of gratitude. We all get busy and in those times we can treat our kids as a bother and they feel that. I am trying to show them that I have gratitude and that is what is most important. I want them to carry gratitude not sadness in their hearts.
It's been a pretty good week. We got a new movie and they have all seen it twice. We don't usually have TV during the week but this week was different, plus they didn't have school on Monday or Tuesday. We've eaten pizza, had play dates, friends came over for dinner, we've done art and I even got to chaperon a field trip with Sophia's class. I love my kids so much that I can't imagine my life without them. I am grateful for their existence and for my opportunity to raise and support them. They are little people with all the same feelings and perceptions as big people I just needed a reminder of that. So now I am going to carry gratitude in my heart and let that be the feeling that's inflected in my voice.