I take a dark sense of humor to most things in life, childrearing included. This does not mean that I do not love my life or my children, because I very much do!
If you have ever seen the classic movie, “Pollyanna,” then you probably remember a little game she plays called the “glad game.” I have actually been told by a particular adult that this is a very good mentality to adopt in life. Instead of looking at all the bad things around us, think of a way to find the positive.
Example: “Why do you kids keep following me up and down the stairs, into the bathroom… Everywhere I go?!” The positive alternative can be a number of things, including but not limited to: “I am so glad I have kids… How lonely would I be without them all around all the time?” or “My kids must love me SO MUCH they are willing and wanting to stand in the bathroom while I conduct business.”
So I have decided to make this a lighter post with the “glad game” in mind.
* When I have $13 in my bank account, I say, “Crap! I only have $13 in my bank account!” But one day as we were in the car, my oldest son counted his allowance he had been saving for several weeks to buy a new fish, and said, “Wow, I am rich! I have $13!! Mommy, is that a lot of money?” I suppose many things are a matter of perspective. If you have no money, any amount is a lot… And for a kid who diligently saved his allowance for two months, yes, he is rich and that $13 is EVERYTHING he has (aka A LOT!).
* When I see a puddle, I also see dirty clothes and feet and dirty carpets or car interiors. When a kid sees a puddle, they see FUN! You would be amazed how long water can hold a child’s attention, be it in puddles, sprinklers or hoses.
* When we approach downtown, I grumble to myself about the butt-head drivers I am about to encounter, the mess of one-way streets and traffic jams. But to my two and four year olds, they are glad to see downtown and say in their most excited voice: “Buildings!!!”
* But today as I lay frustrated at my parents’ house trying unsuccessfully to get my little three to take a nap, I had the best “glad game” moment in a long time. The baby was not happy for whatever reason, and was not making sleepy time come easy for his already resistant brother and sister. So I took him out of the room and out of the house to the back patio. All around the neighborhood is a huge, bustling city. I sat down, still bustling myself and frustrated that this sweet baby wouldn’t sleep so that I could have my own nap time, too. But then something happened. He immediately was quiet. He was intently looking at all the wildlife around him. And then I found myself just staring at it all, too. I watched a chameleon slowly walk up a very tall, tree, pausing every few moments to call for its mate. Several chameleons did this, and I watched them all until they were out of sight. A bunny was by the creek below me, foraging for food, undisturbed. Beautiful butterflies darted about, and I watched them, too, until they were out of sight. I was glad that I had been forced to bring my baby outside so that I could enjoy these precious moments with him and the beauty that surrounded us.
After 15 or 20 minutes, I decided I would give naptime with the baby another go. The 4 and 2 year olds were now fast asleep. Ahh… hopefully baby would join them soon. I laid him down. He immediately was unhappy. Naturally! So I decided to take him back outside to the hanging balcony and nurse him there where he had been so peaceful and happy moments before. SUCCESS! In about 3 minutes, baby was OUT. I stood up very carefully, went to the door and attempted to open it. LOCKED. I jiggled it. Then I TUGGED at it. YOU… HAVE… GOT… TO… BE… KIDDING… ME… It was only then, of course, that I remember my mom or dad mentioning something about that door having its quirks and not always working. Great. Fantastic. Glad I remembered this once I was ALREADY LOCKED OUT!!!!
So, the older boys were 5 hours away with Grandpa and Grandma. Of course, the 4 and 2 year old had decided to fall asleep, so no amount of banging was going to help. No one else was home and who knows when they would be. My sisters are busy little girls! I did not have on shoes. I did not have a phone. What I did have, was a now awake baby. But he was not upset. He was glad to be outside again!
My parents’ balcony overlooks the bayou. There is no way to climb around and out of the mess of trees, leaves, treacherous rocks and what have you with an infant. I could do it despite the no shoes thing, but not with a baby.
I hiked around where I could (with the baby) looking for a way out or through or something. No luck. I felt around the grill for a spare key. No luck.
Finally, I decided that I would have to just wait in the 95 degree humid outdoors until someone came home. There were some patio chairs and I was glad about this. There were also two fans. I was glad for those, too. I laid baby on the chair and directed the fans at him. Still, he was happy as could be outside with Mommy. And Mommy was glad he was not screaming.
After nearly two hours, my dear Uncle came over… he was coming to visit, as he had said. YAY!!! I was saved!!!! I was SICK AND TIRED of playing the glad game and I just wanted to be inside.
Once inside the cool interior, I heard a cry. It was the 4-year old. She had just awoken and was sad I was not sleeping next to her, as I had promised to do once I got baby calmed down. Sigh… where to even begin on that one.
The next day my dad and mom came back and listened to my adventure. When I was done, my mom casually replied, “If this ever happens again, there is a spare key in the grill.”
OF COURSE THERE IS!!!! Just not where I had been looking.