Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I woke up this morning to sounds coming from Ethan's room. This is not uncommon. They used to involve the smashing and crashing of the train table parts. Sometimes they still do. Ethan's new thing is to (pretend!) he is Link from our new Wii Zelda game and swipe at everything with his fancy schmancy foil sword that Gramma crafted.
But this morning, before the "fighting" started, I heard voices. Something like:
"Nooo!" (in a deep voice). Then:
"Come back over here!" (in a higher-pitched tone).
He's creating voices, I thought, coming out of my slumber fully. He's playing and creating voices for his characters.
A half-hour later, the kids are jumping up and down, because for the first time in months there is actual snow on the ground that fell while they were sleeping. Anna has a 90-minute delay. Ethan is now doing afternoon pre-K. That can mean only one thing: we're all getting into our snow things and racing to the backyard before the inch that's out there melts.
Snowsuits, boots, gloves. It can't be much past 8am and yet we're out there and the kids are whooping as they whisk down the hill in our backyard. We all devour bites of snow. We have a relatively tame snowball fight (until Anna gets Ethan really good, right in the neck and the snow dribbles under his shirt). The neighbor's kids come out, too. I bounce around on the hill, my feet protruding off the sled, and wonder when I started to get so, well, rickety. I go down again anyway.
Inside everyone strips off their wet things and Anna gets dressed for school. I have hot chocolate waiting for the kids and of course they both spill on themselves. Next thing you know Anna's changing her clothes and we're running late and Ethan refuses to cooperate about putting on his coat to bring Anna to school and then we actually ARE late, and I'm yelling (particularly at Ethan, who is acting in his usual extremely subtle infuriating fashion). I wonder where our idyllic moment went. I wonder why so often I dissolve into yelling after resolving that I won't. I apologize to the kids and have a stern talking to with Ethan about his behavior, after we drop Anna off.
For awhile the car is quiet, as we drive down Route 159, past fields of freshly fallen snow, past the winding river.
"Mom?" I hear from the back after a few minutes.
"I disobeyed you. I'm sorry," Ethan tells me.
And somehow, after recovering from my amazement at his words, my little boy's apology helps remind me once again that I'm not a horrible mom. I'm just human, and sometimes in fact moms have very valid reasons for losing their tempers.
In the car, more questions. Ethan's been firing them all day. He's trying to figure out the difference between "by accident" and "on purpose." He knows doing things on purpose is what gets kids into trouble. Hence his yelling "It was an accident!" always, even when he wallops his sister because he's really, really mad at her.
"What if you throw a snowball? Is that by accident or on purpose?"
What if you hit a tree with your car?
What if you drop a radio?
A few minutes later we're talking about his four-year checkup, about the shots he just got at the doctor.
"You get shots to make sure you're healthy and strong," I tell him. "And you eat good foods and you get lots of exercise."
Silence for a moment. Then: "That would be on purpose."
I smile because he's so absolutely right. I think about the many areas of our lives in which we should be intentional. I think about the way we claim things just "happened" when really they are the result of our choices.
I think about living on purpose.
There's a lot to think about.