I am at my parents for a few days, in part to celebrate my brother’s birthday on Saturday the 8th (note to self: start practicing the Birthday Cock-Punch maneuver). I am trying a novel approach to my visit: to relax and enjoy it, without constantly having half an ear cocked for the horrible ways my kids behave.
Of course, my kids aren’t horrible, not really. At my folks’ place with all the distractions, the large rooms, the dog, the fish pond, the slide-out garbage (that Nels often snacks from), and the endless parade of treats, snacks, and homemade goodies (upon our arrival my mom had, warm in the oven, Sophie’s favorite meal of chicken strips) – well, they descend into more of an animal-like state than anything else. As I type this they are helping themselves to ice from the icemaker and eating it off the table without hands. Anyway, I am forced to either hound their ass, whine at them from an exhausted state on the couch, or just let them go somewhere primal and Grandma-influenced for a period of time.
My decision to relax my standards without regret or edginess is also largely influenced by my mom herself, who has made a point to insist over and over how relaxing it is for me to be in her home (why she never asks me if this is so, is a mystery to me). It’s always been obvious to me my mom is a gracious hostess, and of course I enjoy coming back to the house I was (mostly) raised in. But any weekend with my children that does not include at least a half-time nanny, an exclusively outdoor arena, or a padded room is par for the course hardly relaxing. I am attempting to change that, dropping one behavioral standard at a time.
I’ll let you know.