Saturday, May 26, 2012

I think I can; I think I can.

I get told pretty often that my kids are challenging. People tell me they are tired when they leave here. But my kids are difficult because they are used to a non-stop stream of energy and input from me. I talk all day. I answer questions. I interact. But my kids and I have an understanding. When I tell them I am at the wall and I need to rest they go play. We are learning boundaries slowly. I feel like it is mostly working because they are getting older and have fewer this minute needs. I tell myself it helps a lot that my kids have never known the feeling of having unmet needs. Not for more than a few minutes. We are working on differentiating between wants and needs. 

I'm having to work very hard on being patient and loving with the boy I am babysitting. I'm bloody well doing it because that's the deal--but it's so hard. I have to be patient even though his crying is very loud and I have a terrible headache. He's sad and scared. He doesn't understand why he was taken away from his parents. He has never been away from them for this long before. This is terrifying for him. And my kids scare the shit out of him. Their volume is jarring.

We are a loud house. I feel embarrassed about that. I consciously try not to speak when I am around people because I believe that my voice is irritatingly loud. I learned how to project when I was a stage manager. Then I was a teacher. I feel that I sound bombastic and didactic pretty much all the time. I feel like I don't know how to have a conversation. I feel bad about it.

I don't know very many men who waste time feeling bad that people can hear them clearly. I'm not screaming. I just have a voice that carries well. I did that on purpose. But when I see a little boy flinch when I speak I feel ashamed of myself. I try so hard to make my voice soft and gentle.

Right now I can't let that feeling of shame be part of me. I have to not think about it at all. If I let that tape run my behavior will change and I won't be able to notice. I'm not doing a thing wrong. I am a nice person. I am gentle with these kids. They do know they are loved.

He's just also scared and confused and he can't really communicate. Everything he is doing is the natural reaction to his biological state. He is not an inconvenience. If I have to wear ear plugs, that's ok. I'm not being mean. I am dealing with my physical needs in a non-obtrusive way.

I can be patient. I can. I will be nice all god damn day. I will find games to play and we will be excited and happy. Today is Shanna's birthday party. She is so excited she is bouncing all over. We have cooking to do. How can I get them involved.

This is my life. This is what I want to do. I am god damn lucky to be where I am and doing what I am doing. I have a lot of luxury and a lot of privilege. I don't need to be a whiny bitch while I'm doing the things that are involved in life. I will be a good example to the kids. I will help them learn things that are hard. And I will smile while I do it.

God damn it.

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