So my last post was kind of sucky. Why was I so determined to end it on an idyllic note? Here’s what the late Friday hours and Shabbat were actually like: First Daughter completely flipped out that the cake she was decorating was not pretty enough, and therefore proceeded to scream at Second and Third Daughter, while demanding to babysit Fourth Daughter. Husband got angry at the noise level and decided to contribute to it (which is apparently logical in the world of Fatherhood common sense.) I got frustrated and tried to find various places to hide in our 80 square meter apartment. I think the dog ran away at some point as well, came back when she bloody well felt like it, and several hours later, I took out all my aggression on poorly cooked mashed potatoes, angrily dismissed myself from the holy Shabbat table, and passed out at 8:30 PM.
Lest you thought that I had managed to achieve the function of a neurotypical family – never fear. I am still a member of the extra ordinary tribe.
And each day since then: Bickering, yelling, threatening, punishing. Heavy working hours, virus sharing and bill collecting. Kids demand new clothes, it’s rained a lot in the last two weeks, and our winter boots are still in the mail, not entirely sure if they’ve left Sweden’s shore yet.
3/4 of the paperwork for Third Daughter’s Occupational Therapy have been submitted, and we are now waiting for our appointment, which will most likely be at least 4 months away, and during working hours.
Second Daughter’s teacher keeps calling me. “Are you aware that she never brings her homework or school supplies?” she asks.
I retort, “Do you recall that you’ve called me three times over the past year about this problem? Do you recall that her First Grade teacher also told me that Second Daughter does this?”
“No, I don’t recall that,” her teacher replies.
“Then I’m not aware she has a problem,” I say back. Really, I’ve tried to organize Second Daughter’s schedule, but it’s outrageous. School subjects are: Social Studies, Religious Law, Torah (which contains “Religious Law”, but is not limited to it), Math, Science, Language (possibly Hebrew, but again, not entirely sure – shouldn’t it just be called “Hebrew” then?), English, Art, Music and Friendship. I’m probably forgetting something. Anyway, each subject has a notebook, workbook and at least 1 textbook – sometimes 2.5 text books. And sometimes the text book needs to be brought, while the workbook only on alternate Sundays, etc. Not to mention some days call for markers, and other days for crayons. Glue must be rationed and brought on demand. And sometimes we are ordered to go out and buy a binder. Goodness sake!
“When does Second Daughter prepare her backpack? At night or in the morning?” quizzes the teacher.
I sigh. “The morning,” I answer.
“Aha!” concurs the teacher.
“No, no ‘Aha!’. We tried this, remember? We conducted an experiment, and made Second Daughter prepare her bag at night as opposed to the morning, and found no improvement in the results.”
“Oh,” says the teacher. “Well, just tell her to do better then.”
“Fabulous,” I reply, “Thank you so much for this call. I feel that I’ve truly grown as a human being.” Ok, I didn’t actually say that, but only because I still have no idea how to do sarcasm in Hebrew. I’m still convinced that the language actually isn’t suited to sarcasm. Israelis are kind of like Yoda that way: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
First Daughter has tried to pitch in and help Second Daughter with her schedule and supplies. A bag check is squeezed in at 7:20 in the morning, approximately 20 minutes after First Daughter’s spontaneous English lesson, that all of her sisters are obligated to attend. Note taking is mandatory. Hey, at least they are learning, so I don’t interfere. Anyway, Second Daughter really thinks we’re all a little nuts to care so much about whether or not all of the books are in her back pack or not. She is sweet and tries to humor us though. “Eema, today, in my class, I actually had all of my homework ready,” a declaration pronounced so carefully to me it was practically gift-wrapped. I know better than to follow up such a statement with “Just one of your lessons, or all of them?”
“That’s wonderful, sweetheart.” I tell her. She asks if she can go out to play, and I tell her yes. No more insisting that her homework must be completed first, or any of that. She’ll be prepared when she’s good and ready.
I don’t believe that we are entitled to families that are smart, gorgeous, organized, healthy, employed, friendly, popular, best. We should be entitled to happiness, or at the very least, if we come close enough to it, everything else should be allowed to fall by the wayside. This is going to be my check for my girls. Yes, I will appreciate any achievement they bring home, but my heart of hearts question to them is always going to be “Are you happy?” If so, then all will be right with the world.
I have to end my blog post here. Fourth Daughter just yelled at me from her crib. Another child with probable sensory issues – she doesn’t sleep, she touches everything, and needs her food texture to be just so. Then again, she’s only seven months, and a lot can change. I walked over to her crib and she was so happy to see me, giggling and looking at me with such joy.
No matter how many meltdowns, our children are little for such a short period. Each moment is going to be special, and if need be – sugar filled. After all, artificial happiness can be just as enjoyable, provided you have a great relationship with your toothbrush.
Shabbat Shalom, and a super sweet weekend to all.