This post could go in about 100 different directions from that opening line, but today, at 10pm, when I am finally sitting down and everyone (almost) else is lying down, and I've got just enough Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale down my throat, and just enough energy left to ponder the extremes of the day, the post will go here: It's hard to follow children down all the different paths and into all the different choices and through all the different things that happen to them.
• One kid dealt with jerks today, real assholes, to tell the truth. I don't usually curse on this blog, but tonight, there's no other way to describe the people my child had to deal with. All I could do was tell him how proud I am to have a kid who is not a jerk, not the kind of person other kids have to talk to their parents about.
• One kid dealt with mosquito bites. No biggee, you say? Well, the kid in question has an extreme reaction to them, so when a child has 8 bites, all about the diameter of grapefruits, swelling painfully, itching maddeningly, and when that child is weeping with pain and craziness, it's no small thing. It's hard to not be able to make a child feel better, even with medicine on board, topical remedies deployed, ice packs called into service, and everything else we could think of being thrown at the problem.
• One kid dealt with-- no, she made ME deal with repeated, frustrating, exasperating behavior that we've been trying like hell to change, but which I find myself dealing with every. damn. night. and which I find exhausting and infuriating, and which leaves me with the very real need to control my hands so that I don't grab her too hard in a furious attempt to again convey to her how much we need her to get. with. the. freakin'. program.
So. After a pretty exhausting day, I found myself ping-ponging from one kid in need to another, kind of amazed by the demands parenting sometimes makes upon us, and wishing I could do more than caress a mosquito-bitten forehead, encourage an asshole-weary boy, and futilely reprimand a monkey-girl-child who doesn't seem to care one bit what I have to say.
(I have two other kids. They are total rock stars. One helped dad fix a window and deflate 15 soccer balls. The other ministered to her itchy sister, bringing her applesauce, offering her a soft blanket, offering her water, a pillow, kindness. The two of them are signs of hope and goodness for me tonight.)
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What's the best way to handle jerks, anyway? All those platitudes we've offered our son?
Don't let them see how much it bothers you; if they know they're getting to you, it will only make it worse.You're better off being a nicer, more sensitive kid, even if you don't see that right now. You will someday.Just do your best. Hold your head high, and remember that as long as you are taking the high road, you can be proud of yourself.Beat the crap out of them. (Did I say that out loud?)Jerks are everywhere; quitting won't help, because wherever you go, you'll have to deal with people like that. As much as you would like to get as far away as possible from those people, wherever you end up, there will be jerks just like them.
All those platitudes are great when you have the benefit of age and experience, when you have the hindsight to see the way life and people work out. They are of little significance or value in the moment for a kid who is righteously pissed off at the injustice of the fact that assholes exist.
Those words will help him. Someday. They are worth saying. They just do precious little for him tonight, and that makes me feel helpless and lame.
It is not right that assholes exist. How do we help our kids negotiate them?
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