Fire and Empathy

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Latefordinner goes to job 2 on Sunday afternoons until the evening. Also, the neighbor kid who is NOT COMPATIBLE with my kids comes to his grandparents next door every weekend. They don’t know what “not compatible” means, only that they’re kids and neighbors and that means they should “play”. Their play is mostly fighting, because they exclude Binker. He tries to play with the big kids, but he is just four, and not quite there yet. I do my best to stop him, but he gets really pissed off and even offended when I try to create activities with me and Squishy that are separate from them. So short story long, I spend Sundays putting out fires between asshole neighbor kid and my boys. I send that kid home at least four times a weekend. I actually (sort of) slammed the door in his face when he rang the doorbell during dinner. I am that bitch neighbor mom who doesn’t let my kids in his house because they smoke inside and he can’t share his skittles with my kids at 9:30 a.m. (WTF?!). We ARE building a fence. Boundaries, man. It’s time.

There was a short explosive period of time today that I need to talk about. I had called the boys in for dinner (early, just to get rid of that kid). I had nuggets and fries in the oven (Don’t judge. We also had brocoli, ok?) Tuna was playing the piano, which is awesome, except he started to freak out about forgetting a song from the winter and couldn’t find the music and needed me RIGHT THEN to help him find it and THEN after I found it he needed help reading the music because the notes were NOT RIGHT.

At the same moment, Binker yells that he needs Squishy out of the bathroom where he is pooping. I am ready to talk about how we need to show the baby how we go potty, etc. when I find this scene: Squishy is sitting in a puddle of urine because apparently Binker did tuck but, the pee came out between the bowl and the seat. Squishy is sitting and splashing in Lake Binker #247. I strip and wash both of them, and the floor (I made him wash the stool, for those of you who tell me to make him clean it), and the oven timer goes off. I leave both babies naked in the bathroom, tell Binker to flush and wash hands, and go to the kitchen. As I take out the nuggets, four of them fall to the bottom of the oven and one catches on fire.

Seriously?

Tuna is still playing the piano loudly throughout this scene.

Naked Squishy comes running into the kitchen. I manage to get the tongs out of the drawer and beat the nugget fire out with one hand while holding the baby back from the oven with the other. (No joke, I did that. I was a ninja.) With the fire out and oven still open, I grab him and secure him behind gate number 1, which keeps him in the living room. Back to the kitchen, I fish out the other nuggets, and Binker starts yelling “MOMMY! I NEED CLOTHES!” over and over and over. Meanwhile, Tuna is still asking for help with his music, then figures it out (phew!)

Finally, I manage to get us all to the table with hot food and cold water. Tuna is the only one with clothes on.
Then he says, “Why do I feel like I want to cry right now?”
And I stop everything, look at him, and say, “Well, I think you are feeling me. I am feeling very frustrated right now. That is called Empathy–when you feel someone else’s feelings.”

I took a big breath, and realized what a unit we are, even when everyone is flailing. We are seemingly out of control sometimes, and the need for me to be in multiple places at once is overwhelming. I did feel like crying. But, our connection as a family is growing as they grow, and my boy showed such emotional maturity tonight. I am so very proud of him.  I have greater hope that our family bond will outweigh the fighting.

My sensitive boy then said, “Well, I love you, and you’re the best mom ever, and I hope that makes you feel better.”

And it did.

 

 

I realized a few things tonight:
1. I hate Sundays.
2. In order to not hate Sundays, I have to take the boys on excursions from now on to keep us busy.
3. The circus monkeys that drive me crazy also bring me peace.
4. My Sunday cyclone started with flaming nuggets, and my baby’s words were the center of the storm.
5. Never underestimate the power of your words (something I have been teaching him for a long time, and he re-taught me tonight)
6. Never underestimate the power of a child’s awareness.

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5 thoughts on “Fire and Empathy

  1. Ok, I’m so proud of all of you right now. Calvin is sensitive and loving because you, Jen and Mac, are such awesome parents. Your love and caring will also rub off on the babies. XOXO Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rhea

    This made me have tears! I truly believe empathy is the number one “skill” that kids need to learn to become kind and loving adults. Good job, mama! Also, I can empathize :), because I had a rough day yesterday and Kai told me he was sorry I was frustrated and gave me a big hug. Then I took him by myself to the lake for 4 hours where a random older child with no boundaries would NOT LEAVE US ALONE and apparently had no parents or caregivers anywhere. Anyway, I have one, you have three – you are a strong lady! P.S. gluten free nuggets are AMAZING!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Martha Cassell

    He is an incredibly beautiful human being 😇 and such a gift to you that he chose you to parent him….and, an overwhelming challenge to you as to parent him at the same time!!😃😝😇✨💖 All is well, sweetheart. Feel and believe that 💖✨

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  4. Megan

    OK, now I’m crying at work. This is such a beautiful story. I felt like I was right there with you (empathy) because you are such a gifted writer. And what a wonderful perspective you have on even the craziest moments. And what a loving boy.

    Liked by 1 person

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