PTSD: Post Traumatic Summer Disorder

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It is with a generous amount of certainty that I predict I will suffer from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Summer Disorder, at the end of next month. I had no idea how difficult it would be to go from two kids in school five days a week to two kids in no school for five days a week. Now, I am acutely aware of how difficult that is.

candylandJohn Morgan on Flickr

It’s not that I don’t love my children. I do. More than I love anything on this earth. They are literally the only things I wouldn’t think twice about dying for and would take a kidney out myself in the bathtub if they needed it, with or without ice (for my chardonnay, of course —I wouldn’t want it to get tepid while I sawed into my back … ).

But that doesn’t mean that I want to spend every single second with them, refereeing fights, settling property rights issues, doling out screen time that seems to go too quickly for all of us, and managing expectations on how many activities Mommy is going to plan for them in a given week. In fact, just coming up with that list just now made me cranky and itchy for a calendar with big red Xs on it counting down the days until school starts again.

Here are just a few of the reasons that I am about to click on Amazon for a big white paper calendar and a red sharpie:

The Law of Beverage

I can be alone in a room for five minutes as long as I am holding a drink in my hand. The second I put down said drink, on the floor or ground outside, one of my three progeny will be present within five seconds with lumbering feet worthy of a Sasquatch to kick it over. Coffee on the carpet is one thing, but spilled Chardy is a crime punishable by blood-curdling screech.  This same law applies to freshly painted toenails. My kids NEVER step on my actual toes (my proverbial toes are constantly trampled) unless I have applied a fresh coat of polish. Again, this can occur in five seconds or less.

The Importance of Being Earnest

I’m a talker. My husband is a talker. My kids have inherited both of our love of the spoken word. My toddler adds his two cents, too, but it’s in Chinese so we have to ignore it, since none of us was smart enough to become fluent. Among all of us, absolutely no one knows how to yield the “floor “ to another speaker, as what we have to say is always of the utmost importance. Add to that the fact that my actual floor is tile, which does zero to help in sound absorption. All of these factors result in a cacophony of voices, each raised to be heard over the others that could make the unflappable Ms. Brady scream at them to “Shut their Pie Holes!” Being just a hair short of her patience and G-rated language skills, I have been known to scream a few times myself.

Candyland Conundrum

Honestly, I have had a hard time with how to handle board games. On the one hand, I think kids need to learn that no one wins all the time and how to take it like a champion. But on the other hand, I don’t think it’s fair that when we are playing Candyland, they pull the gingerbread card when they are close to landing on King Candy. I have been known to hide the gingerbread card under the Candyland board so no one will have to go back to the beginning when they were about to win. I have also drawn the ice cream cone fairy card on one of my early turns and quickly put it back in the stack so one of my opponents will find it on their turn. I suppose this is because they are little and they should experience the joy of winning. So then the part of me that thinks that my kids need to learn to lose graciously to be prepared for the constant competition of life that has its ups and downs for all of us is frustrated by my softness. Before I know it, a simple game of Candyland devolves into an internal parenting philosophical battle. Don’t even get me started on Chutes and Ladders … a game bent on dashing the hopes and dreams of every child with its capricious punishment based on a random roll of the dice.

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