Disturbances of the peace

I am on my couch with a new laptop…replacement #2.  Somehow my 1-month-old laptop started confusing its numbers with its letters (a feature I found quite annoying) and I returned it and got a smaller, sleeker more fun model :). So I sit reflecting on the week, with a laptop in my hands, an empty ice cream dish beside me (my current concoction is a mix of Edy’s French Silk, Archer Farms Belgium chocolate, and a dash of Ben & Jerry’s VolunTirimisu – don’t even ask!), and a 3-year-old dreaming on the couch nearby.

I glance over at Noah sleeping on the other half of the replacement sofa (courtesy of the foam-hungry police dog’s owner. I’m going to shy away from leather sofas in the future though – they’re ice cold as our temperatures plummet and the boys have noticed – didn’t take long when they plop down in their undies in the morning – and now jump onto the comfy chairs).  Noah looks so peaceful….and I realize I wish I could be in that state – blissful slumber without a care in the world (other than the fact that Micah using the purple lightsaber all day was just “not fair”).

Instead, my peace this past week has been disrupted by too many “incidents” – teen boys in New Jersey who lured and killed a 12-year-old girl, two infants hospitalized here in the city from injuries by their parents, a nanny in New York killing two children in a family.  I feel the pain of these families.  I fear the world in which my boys are growing up.  And I wonder about my ability to prepare them for this world.

It seems parenting is hard enough just taking care of the physical aspects, like

–          Micah throwing up three times on Monday just as I put him to bed…and again and again as soon as I change the sheets

–          Stephen emptying a whole half gallon of milk onto the dining room table and splashing in it in delight as we hurriedly wiped it up with any and all available towels

–          Taxiing Micah to basketball for half a session, rushing by the house to change into soccer gear, and dashing off to stand in the rain for the final game of the season (shhh, don’t mention that we’re missing next week’s make-up game…there’s too much going on as it is already!)

–          Trying with all my will power to breathe quietly and drive safely as the 3 older boys chattered and teased and fought and screamed for an hour and 15 minutes after we left a Halloween party near Cleveland last night – and just as the third one finally drifted off to sleep – the baby awoke and whimpered and cried and spluttered for the rest of the way home.  7 minutes  from the house (according to friendly GPS Jane), the car was quiet….and then we carried them all inside!  (must remember never to do that again!  Or just give in and turn the TV on – who cares if they don’t fall asleep for a while – they didn’t anyway!).  And whose bright idea was it to give the boys tons of dessert and candy and then put them in the back of an enclosed moving vehicle and buckle them up?!?

But it’s more the emotional challenges that drain me, like

–          Trying (unsuccessfully) to stop myself from scolding Micah for soiling his underwear.  I know he didn’t mean it but I keep saying “you’re 6 years old….why do I have to clean you over and over?”  And I know full well that this is not only NOT a useful tirade to be on, but it is not healthy for his emotional state.  Yet, I am frustrated to be dealing with it again.

–          Worrying about whether my boys are in the “right” care settings and how well they’re handling them, especially when Micah states he doesn’t like one of his afterschool teachers because she’s always putting him in “time out.”  And I keep thinking that I don’t want him to develop a construct of being the “bad kid,” but he certainly does pull for a lot of disciplining.

–          And I’ve been very unsettled by an article written by two of our Child Advocacy physicians earlier last week about a recent court decision that would allow people who abuse children (as shown by “substantial evidence”) to not have their names registered as an abuser (because it’s not “clear and convincing” evidence). In which case, even though someone is a known abuser, they may still “clear” the background checks and thus drive my children to school, serve as their sports coach, even teach our children.  I’m pretty frustrated that my state shows so little concern for its children – the future for all of us.  And I realize that I need to be wary and even more protective of my children and yet not wanting them to grow up in fear.  What a balance!

So if you have any of this all sorted out, I’m eager to hear!

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