Exchange with my eldest this evening when I told him to turn off the light:
Me: "Hey, if I wake up in the morning and I see you've picked up your room, I'll let it count as one of the four nights," referring to the offer I made him to earn his Legos back by having his room picked up four nights in a row at bedtime. I told him that yesterday and he flatly refused the offer. This afternoon I made a simple little chart on a piece of paper with four boxes and the offer on the top as a reminder. I pointed out that it would be really easy to earn them back right now, because his room is only about five minutes away from being clean, since we did a massive cleaning together last weekend. If he picked it up tonight that would be night one. He leaves first thing in the morning and won't be back until Monday after school, so that would be a simple day two, and then swimming is Tuesday and Daddy's on Wednesday and swimming again on Thursday, so there's hardly even the opportunity to mess it up in the next four nights if he started with it clean tonight.
"Nope." Is all he ever responds. Or, "I'm not gonna do it," despite being really mad about the loss of his Legos.
Me: "Have you thought about why you don't want to succeed at this?"
Me: "Or, what's making you want to fail?"
Me: "Seems like that would be useful to think about."
Me: "Even if you couldn't come up with an answer right away, it's interesting to wonder why you're wanting to fail."
Me: "Cause it's not just about your room, right?"
Me: "I think I'm going to have to start calling you Pierre."
Me: "You know why, right?"
Me: silently to myself, well at least that's not a 'nope,' then, "Goodnight ----."
Another day of parenting. I could write for hours about just how f-ing hard the last few weeks have been as a parent, how proud I am of what I've been doing and how much I've grown and on and on. And actually if I had endless amounts of time, I would do just that. I yearn to write it all down. But it's so big that I am paralyzed by the sheer volume and mass of it all. I don't know how to summarize the intra and inter -personal ultra parenting marathon I've been on the last few weeks. Like the stage race that never fucking ends. And I'm winning. I think. I don't even know what that means, but I think I'm doing a lot right a lot of the time. More than a lot. I feel pretty awesome about how I've been managing the challenges of this course, but it's a shallow and not very rewarding sense of daily victory because there's no clear roadmap to the finish line. And no sense of how long this itinerary lasts. I just want it to be easier. So, rather than writing it out blow by blow and emotionally processing much of the last few weeks in writing, which would be satisfying, I'm going to start a movie at 10:15 at night instead. Ah, for escapism. And homemade chocolate chip cookies.
(So I did go back and put the "previous" post in between these, thanks to backdating, because clearly I'm feeling a need to document this for some unknown reason.)