Tuesday, November 09, 2010

11/9/2010 Draggin' ragged

I don't know what's with me -- I am so unbearably exhausted all day and all night long, every weekday. I make it through work, sort of, then when I get home, there is nothing I want to do more than lie down and sleep for hours. It's like every blink of my eyes is a mini-nap.

But of course, when I get home, I'm ON, and the work really starts. I'd thought about going out with Mom friends tonight, but was so so tired again all day that I hadn't yet mustered up the mental energy for it, then it turned out Dave was going out for dinner anyway. So when I got home with all 3 kids, without even changing my clothes or doing anything else, I launched right into homework and project mode.

Julian has a big project due at the end of the month: a "book" about a country and culture. Ironically, he picked China. So tonight we worked on one of the minimum 6 pages he has to do, this one about animals in China.

I actually really like working on this sort of thing with him, he's very focused and knows exactly what he wants to do (mostly), and I don't have to push him. But logistically and organizationally, a 6-year-old can't pick a few animals from China, come up with a simple sentence about each one, or print or draw the animal himself, he needs guidance. This is a lot of time and work for the parents, especially working parents with 2 other children.

I go back and forth between feeling resentful at my life for making otherwise fun time with my child an exhausting burden, and resentful at the school for placing this level of work on us. Walking in the door already so strung out and tired, my patience is short, my creativity stunted, and my ability to enjoy my bright little boy's energy is limited.

Not to mention having to evict his chatty little sister from the room so we can work together. And not to mention getting dinner started, which tonight didn't happen until after 6:30 because of working on one small part of Julian's project.

But though I was frustrated with having to (and wanting to) work on Julian's project, and missing out on coffee with my Mom friends, and feeling completely depleted, a funny thing happened at dinner. Katrina was unusually calm, and I actually got to talk with the boys, and even with her to some extent. We had a rare nice dinner all talking together, without anyone make gross noises, or booming goofy sounds together that are very cute by themselves, but shut down all other conversation, or making rude obnoxious demands, or even fighting.

One thing I absolutely LOVE about our amazing camping and ski trips this year is that we've spent more time talking about reminiscing about them than we did actually on them! This is always a popular topic.

Is this how "regular" families usually work? Is this what people strive for with the "family dinner" ? Enjoyable, together time, exchanging, laughing, remembering, joking, anticipating future experiences together? For us, the family dinner is usually little more than an exercise in auditory overload and grit-your-teeth endurance.

Now the kids are in bed, and I have a few moments of peace before I kick into cleanup/lunch-making gear. Then I'd like nothing more than to collapse and sleep for the next 14 hours.


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