So back to last night, my Other Half lay with No. 3 while I went into No. 2's room steeling myself for whatever issues might come up this time. It started out fine until he said, "I don't want to go to Vermont." Now he and I are going skiing with his team for a week, something he has been looking forward to for months. He counts the days off on the calendar and he has already started packing. Where the hell did this come from?
I took a deep breath and asked, "Why?"
"I just don't want to go now," he replied. Sticking his face into the pillow to hide.
Again, breathing deeply, I asked, "Why?"
Nothing. Now I was getting mad. He has been bugging us about ski trips and camps and everything else under the sun. His Christmas list reads like Best Buy catalogue and he has demanded everything under the sun from guitar lessons to workout classes which he does for a while and then gives up. I couldn't believe he was now saying he didn't want to miss school for a week to go skiing with his friends. He had already complained about the fact that we were driving with another mother and her son and sharing a condo with them to cut down on the expense and we would be making our own meals instead of eating out which had not endeared him to me. YOU ARE GOING TO MISS SCHOOL TO GO SKIING! What else do you want?
So now, ten days before we leave, you don't want to go? Huh? I lost it. Yelled about how ungrateful he is and how we don't have to go or maybe I would take one of his brothers instead. Finally he said, "I don't want to go because we have to play hockey and I don't even know how to skate and everyone is going to laugh at me."
This is when I should have calmed down, been understanding and made him feel better about his legitimate, if slightly ridiculous, concern. But I didn't. Instead I left the room and told his father to go in and explain why playing hockey while on a ski trip was going to be fun and not everyone will know how to play and it certainly isn't a reason not to go. He did all this and No. 2 calmed down somewhat and I did go back in and tried to be sympathetic but in the end I went to bed mad at myself, mad at my son for making me mad and generally feeling like once again I had let everyone down.
It's so hard. Right now it feels like there is no upside to this whole parenting gig and with Christmas around the corner the stakes are even higher. We are supposed to be fostering peace and goodwill towards all men and I can't stand the three junior versions I live with. I should be looking forward to decorating the tree and being together as a family and all I can think about is running away. My Other Half is incredible and he steps in when he knows I am going to lose it but what I need to do is break a really bad pattern that has developed around our house. One of jumping to conclusions, anticipating that someone is going to say something hurtful and generally being a very grumpy mother most of the time.
I should look at this week away with only one boy as a pre-Christmas gift. We will have time together, one-on-one. We are travelling with a fun group and I will have some time on my own while the kids are skiing and I will only be cooking for two not five. My Other Half and Numbers One and Three will have a more laid back time without us in the mix. It may, in fact, be the best thing in a while for all of us.