Thursday, October 14, 2010

Toe-Knee-Chest-Nut Knows I Love You

*** It's not easy being the middle child ***
The Fif goes to this little class in our town called Kindergym. It is really adorable and is ridiculously well priced. The kids sing little songs, learn to wait their turn, to be good listeners and how to play fun old games like "red rover" and "simon says". The Fif loves it and thinks of it as her "school"...and I love watching her; blowing her kisses + giving her excited "thumbs ups" from the sidelines while she sings songs and learns to play games.

Every so often, the kindergym teacher will enlist the help of a mama{s} to help with an activity, like turning the jump rope or fluffing the parachute, however, I usually take advantage of the kindergym hour and spend it holding baby Liam {instead of plopping him in the stroller}. We mama's with other tinier littles in tow are usually exempt from any kind of participation...except for the other day when the teacher had the mama's and kids line up to sing a song.

When the activity started, I didn't realize that the class would be singing a song complete with matching arm movements meant to be pointed between mama + little. Once I did realized what what happening, my brain started racing. I didn't have a stroller to put Liam in and there was no where in the line up for me to squeeze meslf in without making a commotion. I wanted to vomit, thinking of my sweet little girl singing the Toe-Knee-Chest-Nut Knows I Love You song to an "adopted mama" {who likely had eyes only for her own child}. Panicked, I scanned the room. Could she have been the only child without a parent with them? It makes me sick to think of it now. Part of me didn't even want to post about it; secretly hoping that I could just forget it even happened.
In that moment, I talked myself into believing that if I didn't make a scene by squeezing into the song, {that if I didn't make a big deal about it...} then it wouldn't be a big deal. And that was kind of true, the Fif had a great time in class + was not phased in the least about anything when we left class. She's 3. I, on the other hand, sung Toe-Knee-Chest-Nut Knows I Love You all the way home, for the rest of the day...and have been haunted by it ever since. Whenever it comes to mind, I think of all kinds of "woulda's" and "shoulda's". I shoulda just gone over to the line anyway...I coulda put Liam on the floor in front of me...or I coulda held him and just sung the song without the arm movements. But instead I just froze + cringed with each verse until the song finally ended.
This event was a huge wake up call for me. I was reminded that sometimes one incident can speak volumes about a bigger situation... So while I was upset about the thing, I think I was reacting to the pervasive feeling I've had lately, that my little girl has truly fallen into that "middle child" role. She is only 3...when the Monks was 3, he was still an only child, yet at such a young age, she has to share me with 2 brothers + a job. This is nothing I haven't thought of before, but I suppose I had been hoping that these feelings were an adjustment to me working and the Monks being in school + that the situation would just sort itself out?
It can be hard enough to balance 3 kiddos...and essentially be a fulltime stay at home mama, yet also hold down a part time job as a college professor. But while I can't change my situation {hire a nanny or quit my job}, this past week I have changed the aspects of my situation that I do have control over. I've been setting aside special times for each of my kiddos each day {like reading a book with the Monks, having a special tea party lunch with Fif or holding the baby when we watch a movie} + have alotted only certain times for work. I'm trying to be more present + available; it's not an easy trasition for me, the uber multitasker, but I feel more grounded than I have in quite some time.
So today the Fif and I painted our toenails, played candy land and watched a movie. I decided to cancell my class for tomorrow morning....everyone needs a mental health day + I need to not stress about grading papers this afternoon. I'd hope that anyone reading this would say that I am being too hard on myself, and perhaps I am? However, I like to think that this situation was the catalyst that reminded me of the kind of mama I want to be. And you know, I have already seen the results from the changes that I've made. It can be easy to get caught up in life and even though sitting through that kindergym was a tough nut to swallow, I'm happy to have been reminded of what is truly important my life; my family. Ugh, this was a humbling and slightly painful post to type. But on that note, I'm off to enjoy alot of much needed snuggling down and loves from my most favorite people.

Wishing everyone lots of the same.



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