So, it's summer, and Gianna has been home all day. We opted against summer school so we could go on vacay, hit up the pool and the zoo a lot, and just generally chill before kid 3. Which is fine, it's totally fine, it's fine. It was just....an adjustment.
As we were adjusting, certain phrases became common-place, such as:
Why are you guys being so crazy?
It's crazy in here!
You are crazy!
You are making me crazy!
And other variations including the c-word. I didn't really notice how prolifically crazy I had become until I over-heard Gianna tell Dominic nastily, in a moment of frustration, "You are driving me crazy!"
It sounded so ugly. Moments later, I was wrestling Dominic for something he was not supposed to have and he looked at me and said, "You crazy!!" followed by, "NO! I not crazy!!"
Aight. That settled it... family meeting time. I sat the little tykes down and apologized for calling them crazy. I told them from now on, no one in our family would call each other crazy, that we would use better words to talk about how we were feeling. They listened and nodded but I had little hope that anything was getting absorbed. It was too easy to expect our little heart to heart to work after weeks of poor modeling from me.
The language we use to talk to our children is so important. Words can build a home of peace and understanding and safety or they can make a place where people feel constantly reprimanded and belittled. I want a peaceful home where my children can grow to be people who listen, who can communicate effectively and respectively even when they are angry or frustrated or tired. I just have to become that sort of person as well, and that's the hard part. The idea that Dominic, at 2 and a half, felt the need to insist that he wasn't crazy, revealed to me that I had labeled him as such far too many times. It made my heart hurt.
The next day following our little chat, things were getting..well...a little crazy....in the kitchen. Gianna was trying to tell me a story about a used Popsicle stick she found and dinner was burning and Brad was supposed to be home any minute and someone had dumped a laundry basket of clean clothes on the dirty floor and Dominic was alternately saying "Look-a me Mom!" as he chucked objects into the fan and tormenting Gianna by trying to steal her gnawed-on Popsicle stick.
I was sorely, sorely tempted to shout my stand-by, "This.is.CRAZY!!!!!!!" when in the moment of my weakness I felt a small hand on my leg. I looked down and Dominic was giving me a most earnest look. He patted my leg reassuringly and said, "You not crazy Mama. You not crazy."
I can report that being told by a pretty wild toddler that "you not crazy" is not exactly an affirmation of sanity, but it will make you laugh, and sometimes laughter is more critical to survival in motherhood than sanity. Things might get crazy, but at least it's pretty funny...eventually..
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