Ugh...back to the grind.
I thought the worst part of my day would be the dropoff runaround. It wasn't.
Then I thought the worst part of my day would be the pickup runaround. It wasn't.
Then I thought the worst part would be Katrina's still-daily dinner tantrum. It wasn't.
Then it seemed clear the worst part of the day would be the boys fighting before dinner. It wasn't.
No, the worst part was opening Gabriel's homework folder and discovering that he has two -- two -- "family projects" due Friday. One is a "Heritage Doll," in which he's supposed to decorate a paper doll with traditional costume from his family's heritage. (What traditional costume? We don't have heritage! "Be Creative!" the instructions call. Uggghh!!) The next is a "My Family Scrapbook." Dragging my reticent, literal son through these open-ended projects is torture.
I know what the school is trying to do: involve parents in the homework and the kids' lives, and get families talking about their history. But do you have to make me do that on a weeknight when I have lunches to make, clothes to put away, and a grumpy toddler to get to bed?
I had a telling conversation with a co-worker today, about kids playing together. She commented that her girls, ages 8 and 10, play together a lot; and I followed up by saying my boys do too, but they fight a lot. "Oh, my girls fight too, but I just ignore it."
Ignore it, really? How?
"Sometimes the older one just wants to be left alone and she won't talk to the younger one and makes her cry, but she goes to her room and...." No, I stopped her. I said fight. I'm not talking about hurting feelings; I'm talking about hitting, kicking, punching, pulling, tripping, pinching, biting, throwing things on someone's head, scratching faces with toys, grabbing clothes, shoving, rolling on the floor together, destroying things around them, and making a huge extremely annoying racket. That's fighting. "Oh," she conceded, "Boys."
I can think of maybe one or two times anyone's cried around here because of something someone else said. Ignore it? Fighting around here is too loud, too destructive and too irritating. If only.
Addendum: I video'd some sample semi-fighting, it's not great but gives an idea of the fine line between playing and fighting. This is pretty tame, but without me standing there with the camera, lines get crossed quickly. The funny part is Katrina's reprimand: "No throwing, Gabriel!"
And suddenly, they're friends again.