I’m currently sitting alone in the kitchen basking in the glorious quiet that is currently enveloping the household. I do not hear siblings fighting. I do not hear the request for another snack. I’m not being berated with question after question about everything under the sun. The quietness feels so foreign to me but I accept it with open arms.
I don’t realize how exhausting you are until the first ten minutes upon your arrival home from school and the tension and anxiety comes flooding right back into my bones. Please know how much I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you but son, you never shut the fuck up. You talk constantly. You ask so many questions that often you’ll interrupt my response to a question, mid-reply, to begin your next question. Not only do you ask questions relentlessly, you demand that I have your utmost attention. If my eyes wander or it appears for even the slightest moment that I’m not fully engaged with you, you either repeat the question until I respond with an acceptable response or you say my name over and over again until I respond and then you proceed to ask the same question again. Just looking at you is not an acceptable response. No, no. I have to respond in a matter to assure you that yes, I’m listening and I can’t wait to hear what question you so dearly would like answered.
This exhaustion carries over to many things. In addition to your riddler ways, you’re also learning to read. The patience involved with facilitating a new reader is my life’s greatest challenge. I sit down with a book and 58 minutes later, we finish with our 6-page easy-to-read beginner reading companion. Perhaps life is teaching me to slow down or perhaps this is life teaching me to be more accepting and nurturing to those who need extra help. My personal struggle comes when you ask me to sit down with you and listen to you read while I’m in the middle of cooking dinner or attempting to answer an influx of emails in my inbox. In a perfect world, I would carve out a little slice of life just for you and your reading but life doesn’t work like that. I have to somehow convince you that the book you’re reading is the most amazing book I have ever heard. Pedro wants to be president?! Please, tell me more! I have to remain engaged because you need help with just about every other word and if I falter or don’t help you within the appropriate millisecond you deemed an acceptable response time, you make it known that I’m not paying attention.
I’m not saying I don’t enjoy helping you with reading and your homework but I really need to be in the right mindset. When I’m stressed about an email that requires me to think and Olivia is yelling at me to help her with her homework and why the hell is the dog barking mad at the door, suddenly my life just took a shit and I need to be calm and collective as we read, Spiderman’s Colossal Conundrum. Most of parenthood is multi-tasking but sometimes moments happen in parenthood that don’t allow you to multitask. That’s when I struggle the most.
In addition to you learning to read, someone somewhere thought it would be a really fun idea to give kindergartners homework. It’s not a lot but it’s enough to make me want to stick a fork in my eye on most days. You’re stubborn as hell and believe you already hold the answers to life’s most basic questions. Ironic isn’t it given how every other statement that spews from your mouth is a question? You fight me about everything. Just the other day, I was helping you with your homework and you asked me how to spell, afraid. I told you and you said, No! What do you mean, no. Afraid is a-f-r-a-i-d. You proceeded to tell me the ‘a’ in afraid is spelled, ‘ah’ and ‘fraid’ is the second part. Basically, you were convinced afraid was spelled, ah fraid. You were so convinced and I felt silly for arguing with you for an unreasonable amount of time that I finally walked away and you let you spell it, ah fraid. Picking your battles is the only way one can survive parenthood in one piece.
We recently returned from a trip to Disneyland after a 3-year hiatus and wow, what a whole new experience that was. The last time we went to Disneyland, you were just shy of three years old and from what my emotional scars remind me is that it was a struggle. You were tied to a stroller and were unable to ride most of the rides much to your chagrin. You were impossible. If you weren’t crying, you were seeing what you could cry about. Those were dark times. Our most recent trip was nothing like that and it makes me question why I actually spent hard-earned money for those past experiences. If I could do it again, I would have waited. Pushing a stroller that becomes a storage and garbage receptacle while waiting in long lines in the heat with a toddler who has no ideas what’s going on, sounds like crazy town. And it was and I paid top dollar for that!
You have little to no memory of our past trips to Disneyland, what a shame, so this truly was like your first time there. I’m thankful we put in the hard work when you and Olivia were younger and and forced you guys to hang with us on our timetable because you two can really go the distance now and for someone like me who tries to squeeze every penny out of every purchase, I appreciate knowing that my crew is willing to stay in the park from the second they open to two seconds after we get kicked out. We didn’t have a stroller or a giant tote of offerings. We carried one backpack with a few snacks and other basics but other than that, it was just that. We attempted just about every ride and you had a blast. Your sister was still upset from the last time I made her go with me on Tower of Terror and refused to attempt that ride again. You, always scheming for an opportunity to make yourself look greater than your sister, happily jumped at the chance to show her up. You handled the ride like a champ only briefly making a weird sound upon exiting the ride–AHHH, AHHH, EHHH. I wasn’t sure if you were having difficulty breathing or you were attempting to process what just happened by emitting a strange sound but once you settled down, you were quite vocal in your enthusiasm for the ride.
We had two brief moments of a potential tantrum when you learned you were not tall enough to ride California Screamin’ and Indiana Jones but thankfully, you are easily distracted with Pokemon Go at the moment so crisis diverted. Overall, it was a wonderful trip. It was so enjoyable experiencing the park through your eyes and being able to sit back and relax without worrying if a full-blown tantrum was imminent. No diapers, no mandatory meals, no tears because the height minimum wasn’t reached. We explored the park the way it should be explored and you and your sister are already talking about foregoing the birthday party next year so we can make a return trip. Is this happiness?! I think so!
You have boundless energy and this has been apparent since you were a toddler and your pediatrician suggested we run you like a dog to help exert your energy. Your Dad being the avid runner saw it as an opportunity to gain a running buddy and voila, you’re now an avid runner as well. You and your Dad have been running various 5k events around the Bay Area for some time now but after the latest event when you stopped to pee, stopped for a drink of water, talked nonstop and crossed the finish line completely unscathed, your Dad has announced that he plans to push you a great deal more at the next race. Dad’s goal for your next race is to have you complete your 5k in under 30 minutes. I think it’s a goal well within reach given how you crossed the finish line last time at 32 minutes without one drop of sweat. I’m pretty sure your breath wasn’t even labored. It’s time to experience the pain. I’m sorry you have two parents who are extremely competitive. Just know we do it with love and with the utmost desire for you to reach unobtainable success.
So, you’re six years old and I’m still tired. Not much has changed in your lifetime but now we can go on enjoyable family vacations without me crying publicly and confiding in a stranger. Now that you’re beginning your academic path, I can see how you and Olivia will once again take very different approaches and I will have to muster the strength and courage to help you along your way. Patience has always been my weakness so it makes sense that this is where you and Olivia test me the most. It’s a good thing you’re cute and charming. You’re creepy too but I can push that aside on account of your charismatic nature. We’re all screwed with your bewitching ways.
And the prize pictures for the month: