So, with all the help from Nanna and other family and friends since my mom entered hospice care I have not been at the helm around here for a while. I mean, first my sister and I were at the hospital for the better part of every day for most of a week, then my mom started hospice at her home and Emily and I spent each about 16 or more hours a day at her house, including each night. Then we started to alternate half days and then whole days with each other, then that got too exhausting so we brought mom to my house which proved to be even more chaotic. Four weeks of intense decision making, loving care giving and family juggling. Now mom, aka Bubbe, is in a benevolent hospice home and tonight I was on my own with the four children like old times.
At first I was quite shaky with this whole parenting thing. Really, it's been weeks since I had not given being a mother much thought , short of nursing, baby rocking and occasional book reading. This afternoon all I wanted was for the children to all go away so I could just be alone with my thoughts and maybe even catch up on my housework, but the girls were up and Art was busy with his friend and Lewis was needing to woken from his long nap. I knew Art shouldn't play a video game for more than 15 minutes or so but I couldn't really think of what I should do with him when I took it away. I know Lewis shouldn't sleep past 4pm but I had no clue what to get him started on once I pried him out of bed. I was irritated with Art's bad manners and unnerved by the girls' restlessness. Gone was the parenting prowess I had developed and boasted three weeks ago.
Then, after being repeatedly pleaded with for chocolate sauce on vanilla if there was no chocolate ice cream I had a stroke of my old genius. I knew what I wanted - "I want you to be more of a gentleman, Art!" And I thought, that's it! We will be gentlemen! So I said, "A gentleman would say May I please have some chocolate ice cream? And if there is no chocolate ice cream the gentleman would reply, Quite all right. Whatever you do have is fine. Thank you." And so for the rest of the evening I would say, "Be a gentleman" and get a very gracious response or request out of either boy. Brilliant. Because all my reading lately about children and play is that they will do so much more in the way of self-regulation and control if they are pretending to be something or someone. Asking them to use their manners is one thing, but asking them to be a gentleman is quite different.
And so I feel more in control and have regained a little confidence. Excellent. Quite. Now I will go visit my mom tomorrow...