Expectations

I’ve already been up for an hour & a half when I walk into their room & turn the light on. “Boys, it’s time to get up & get dressed.” They both acknowledge me with a, “Good morning, Mommy.”

My hair is still in the towel I wrapped around it after my shower. I’ve woken the boys & given them instructions. I have grand expectations of how well this will go for me. Walking back into my bedroom, I tell M, “Babe, it’s ten after.” He mumbles a thank you & comes into the bathroom to shower after I’ve already started the blow dryer.

Dry hair, brush hair, finish getting dressed. Walk into the boys’ room, fully expecting my four & six year old children to have actually – I don’t know, listened? – for once. They haven’t. Bear is just climbing back into Butter’s bunk [they switched last night, as they sometimes do] after retrieving his beloved Blue Blanket from the floor. Butter is snuggled up in the covers with a book I know he’s probably read seven or eight times. But it’s a book, so he’s reading it.

“Guys, I told you it was time to get up & get dressed. Butter, you’re going to miss the bus now because you still need to eat breakfast.”

“I don’t want to miss the bus!”

“Well you should have gotten dressed when I came in here.”

“Fine. I’m not going to school then. I want Pop!”

I turn on my heel & walk back into our bedroom. I tell M, “You deal with the insolent six year old today. I just. Can’t.”

M, God love him, understands. He had sole possession of the insolent six year old last night.

Lunch has not been made. Heck, the lunchbox hasn’t even been cleaned out from yesterday. There are dishes all over the kitchen from dinner last night. Eventually, I pose a question to M. “Would you leave your commercial kitchen like this?” He apologizes. I appreciate his apology, but this morning, I think I might appreciate more if it actually rinsed the dishes instead of just stacking them in the sink. Again, he understands.

And then, on the drive to work, with Bear telling me the story of the baby who knocked down the tower of blocks he built last night while Butter did karate, I realize something.

I expect things of them. I expect the boys to obey me. I expect M to realize I want him to know how I want things. I expect them to  do these things without me telling them & that is most certainly not fair to them. I expect things to be done without having done them myself.

I examine myself. I leave dishes unrinsed. I’ve crawled back into bed with a book rather than face the day. I’ve been the person whose block tower was knocked down. I’ve been the person who’s knocked someone else’s tower down.

Gentle. Grace. Understanding. These are all words that strike me as I’m reflecting.

I need to be these things.

For them.

Six.

I’m trying really hard not to tear up as I write this, but somehow, I don’t think it will work.

Butter is six today. He now needs two hands to show people hold old he is. In a month, he starts first grade. It’s the first birthday since his birth day that he’s woken up away from home.

Oh, Butter. How you’ve grown since last year. Not only in stature [I’m convinced you’ll be taller than me before you hit double digits], but in knowledge, in courage, in discipline, & in faith. You still love to read. You played soccer & tee ball again this year, & started your most favorite activity to date – karate. You lost five teeth over the course of Kindergarten.  You were so proud the day you lost a tooth in school & got to come home with a special necklace housing that lost tooth.

You love, love, love Ben 10 [much to Mommy’s chagrin] & the Power Rangers. You love to play Wild Kratts with your brother. He still looks at you like you hung the moon, by the way. I think you think LEGOs are just about the best things ever, even though Mommy typically ends up building your sets with a little assistance, not the other way around. You’ve spent the last year pushing buttons, but that’s okay. You’re a kid & that’s what kids do. Maybe just go easy on Mommy & Pop on the number of buttons you push in a single day? We’d appreciate it.

You’ve learned the art of sleeping in this year. I think your love of sleep rivals mine & there are definitely days when I’m envious of how much sleep you get vs how much sleep I get. I think it’s pretty darn adorable that you complain that your brother won’t let you sleep in because he’s been doing that to us for the past three & a half years, dude.

We can’t wait to see what Year Six brings you. Keep on keepin’ on, Butter. You’re a rock star in the eyes of your parents & we love you more than you could ever imagine.

Waiting for the 4th of July parade to start.

Making silly faces at VBS.

I Can Watch My Brother

It started simply enough.

Last Saturday, we had karate & then some errands. I told the boys what we were doing & they seemed okay with it. But Butter does this thing where he gets into the car & wants to read ALL THE THINGS. I pretend to be annoyed by it, but in reality, I love being Mom to a bookworm. One of the errands we had to run was going to the post office. It’s not too far from the karate school – when I was a little girl, most parents wouldn’t have even bothered to strap their kids into the car, that’s how close they are to each other.

But I’m not that parent. I strapped the boys into the car, explained that they shouldn’t get too comfortable because we’d be there in less than two minutes, and headed to mail a few letters. When I parked & opened the door to get Bear out, Butter said to me, “You can run in & mail your letters. I can watch my brother.”

My heart jumped into my throat. I had just read this article & tried gently to explain to Butter what happened to that mom. I told him that she could have gone to jail, all because her little boy told her he didn’t want to go into the store & she made a split second decision to just run her errand. My child has the most sensitive soul ever & teared up. He didn’t want me to go to jail. I told him I didn’t want to either.

We live in a much different world than when I grew up. I can remember staying in the car while my parents ran errands. I had a book, I had windows down, sometimes I had the radio on. It wasn’t something people thought twice about. Then again, I can remember being allowed to walk down to the corner store when I stayed with my grandma with her neighbor’s daughter to buy cigarettes for her mom, so there’s that.

It bothers me that we live in a world where people live in such fear. I don’t like that I don’t feel comfortable letting my kids run around outside without having at least an ear on them because we live on a road where people regularly speed. AND we’re close to the stop sign that marks the end of said road. That being said, I usually never let them in the front yard because all it takes is one thing. A ball that rolls out into the street, a feather that they’re chasing, a rock they want to kick just a little farther. So they’re generally restricted to the back yard, where they have a play set & a deck with an awning that protects them from the worst of the sun or lets them play outside when it’s raining.

So, yes, Butter, I know you are the best big brother ever & are more than capable of keeping an eye on your brother [especially while you’re out in the back yard], but no, I won’t let you stay in the car. Just like I won’t let you stay home while I run that errand to get yarn.