Thursday, January 22, 2015

the day the tooth fairy didn't come

We looked at the last dayschool, and, the more I looked, the more I just wanted homeschooling to work out, badly.

Now I get asked by other parents, who have seen us at the open houses: what do we think? They are usually impressed by something a teacher said, or the computers in the classroom, or the studious kids, or some other glossy thing a school can put on to "sell" itself. I still feel that homeschooling, following the kids' lead, teaching to each child's strengths, is much better than any school, no matter how professional.

But then we have one of those days... like the day that tooth fairy forgot to visit. In her defense, the whole loose tooth drama was taking place on Sunday, with each one of the kids taking turns giving advice and wiggling a stubborn tooth. When it was finally out, late on Monday night, right at teeth brushing time, and I was literally falling on my face after getting up at 6 am, it was not on my radar. It was not a first tooth, and they are too old to believe in tooth fairy anyway, right? Besides, our tooth fairy is cheap, only 25 cents per tooth, but she does leave little sweet notes.

This morning, as I stumbled out of bed (10 yo got 1 yo out of his crib), I was greeted by a sulking boy who was very clearly upset that a tooth fairy did not visit. And my insides fell. "I looked all over; I even checked on the floor, but there was no note! Did she forget?"

What's even worse, as the day progressed, from bad to worse, in case you are wondering, I again totally forgot. Only at tuck-in time, when he rearranged his pillow, and the Ziploc bag with the tooth, was I reminded again of this huge disappointment.

Now, the note is written, the quarter is taped up, and I'm just making sure that he is asleep before tiptoeing in and carrying out my parental responsibility. It is not the reality of tooth fairy that we are playing out here; it is the reality of love and care.

He still wants hugs, but now, instead of accosting someone, he sweetly asks. My 1 yo caught on, and is often trailing me, arms open: "Hug?" I scoop him up and hug him. Sometimes, that's all he needs; sometimes, he wants to be held.

5 yo wants to snuggle with me on the couch, just about every morning. 8 yo asked for a special cuddle time in my bed. They all need me, and my touch, and my love.

A homeschooling friend was talking about sibling rivalry, and she brought up a concept of scarcity vs. abundance. If there is enough parental love to go around, kids do not need to fight over it. If the parent is drained, and is rationing the affections, kids are more likely to squabble over them by climbing over each other.

I am drained, and I start every day feeling drained. It will not get better with this new baby. I am aware of how I'm withdrawing myself, trying to save some space which is just mine, and is not constantly violated. It is hard to be affectionate and giving in time of scarcity. It is hard to remember those gestures of love and care when there is no reservoir to draw from.

My mother almost prided herself on how she didn't "baby" us, but there was a clear indication for us doing things for her to show affection. I'm starting to get worried, as I am seeing 8 yo taking on too much of a burden: "I'm trying to make life easier for you, mommy. I'm trying to take care of myself, to make it easier for you." I know that as much as he has pure motivations, this is just a matter of having same anxiety come out. I keep reassuring him that he does not need to worry so much, that he is doing enough, that I will take care of myself, but I see that he does not believe me.

So despite me desire to make it all "work out", I probably need to send some of them to school next year. We all need to regroup.

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