That’s it. I admit it: I don’t get kids. Three and half years of one-on-one experience with them, daily interactions, full-on intensives that revolve around hurt feelings and spilled yogurt and broken crayons, and I’m still clueless. When I used to tell people that I taught high school students, their reactions were often along the lines of “Oh, wow. I couldn’t do that. Good for you.” I never quite understood. Teenagers were easy. They were just almost-grown-ups you interacted with like adults, but knew they were really just kids. Real kids, though? Like, children children? I have no idea what I’m doing, which is proven to me on a daily business by Daughter the Elder.
You know from my last (oh, I don’t know, 37?) posts that Saoirse is still struggling with sharing, with everything from attention to toys to the amount of bubbles in the bath. This, of course, means that I’m struggling, because let’s face it: I have no idea what I’m doing. Wait, I already said that, didn’t it? Well, it bears repeating. Just don’t ever tell the kids. When they find out, I’m sunk.
See, our dear Saoirse is, like I’m sure your child–what, not yours? Oh. I’m sorry–a sweet, loving child at heart, who gives hugs and kisses and “I love you”s away like beads to drunk girls at Mardi Gras (and Saoirse, if you’re reading this as a young adult while at the same time planning to go to Mardi Gras, NO). It’s just the rest of her that is screaming “Mine! Mine! MINE!” most of the time. In fact, just the other day, the girls and I were at the table, most likely at one of the myriad mealtimes we have over the course of a day. Saoirse, who was sitting across from Quinn, got this sad little look on her face–mouth pulled down, eyes sort of misty-wet–and said to me, “Mom? I’m going to miss Quinn as a baby. I don’t want her to grow up.”
I was a little surprised. I’d just been thinking the same–that Quinn is more little girl than baby to me now, and it makes me sad, because I do love me my children as babies–but hadn’t said anything out loud to her. She’s repeated the thought a lot since then, often giving Quinn a sidelong look and telling me she wants her to stay a baby. I keep discovering all these bruises and scratches that will randomly appear on Quinn’s face. Saoirse, I’ll ask her. Do you know what happened to Quinn? “Oh,” she’ll reply. “Quinn hurt herself.” Oh, really. “Yeah. I tried to kiss her.” Or, “I gave her a hug, and she hit a wall.” (Needless to say, we’ve had a little talk about the use of violence as demonstrations of affection, though you try to tell that to the lady who approached me in Target.)