Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh, Man!

Wait a minute. I've just really come to terms with the fact that it is important for me to recognize my own lessons for what they are and work through them. And, by 'lessons' I mean those biggies in my life - learning over and over again to LET GO, stop taking responsibility for the feelings and reactions and disappointments of others, you know, that stuff.

Cue the crowd groaning noise. Yup, here it comes: now I'm finding out that I'm also in charge of helping my girls realize what their lessons are. That means not only seeing them for what they are, but accepting them and working through them. Yeah, you just try explaining the concept of "this is your challenge for right now" to a six-year old and an eight-year old. Uh huh. This, my friends, is work.

My girls, who have been described to me by strangers, their grandparents, and their teachers as "responsible, polite, respectful" and "hardworking" are having trouble. Big trouble. They are forced to be in contact with another child, significantly younger than them, for half an hour at a time, four days a week. She makes them nuts. She turns them into intolerant, ranting, screaming frustrated balls of volcanic heat. Never before have I seen either one of them scream at another child (besides each other) or accuse them of being "so annOYing." I am astonished at the passion ignited inside my two normally kind children.

To be fair, this little girl is three. A good deal of her speech is difficult to understand. She is constantly interrupting them to interject some fantastic story that we all know is not true. She confuses the girls and calls them by each other's names. She is three. She is never grumpy. She greets us each time with a smile and twinkling eyes, ready to go. She asks a million questions. She is wide-eyed and sees everything as a new wonder. When the girls yell at her she tilts her head to the side and looks at them inquisitively. She doesn't get it. She is being three. She is being who she is. When the girls fight with each other she asks, "Why is her yelling? Why is her so mad?" Beats me.

I have considered the option that my girls are jealous of the attention she commands. I have done my best to include them in everything we do, but honestly that makes things more volatile. My girls have lost privilege after privilege for treating her unkindly. They have endured evening lecture after evening lecture and family meetings where we discuss their behavior around her. They are so distraught that every morning I get the question, "Do we have to take ______________ today?"

I am not willing to terminate this arrangement simply to end the fights. I have decided that this is their lesson. They have to learn to tolerate people they can't stand. They need to find the good in her. They need to approach her differently. I don't know how it will work, but I do know that there is some message here about loving others whether or not they make you nuts. Simply because they are. She projects nothing but light and admiration on to them. Why is it reflected back as frustration and hatred? I don't know, but I'll be damned if I'm letting them get away without finding out.

Cross your fingers that this little girl doesn't get too traumatized in the process.


Michelle O'Neil said...

"I'll be damned if I'm letting them get away without finding out."

Good for you and for them. 1/2 hour isn't such a long time. They can handle it.

megan said...

Oh man.. I had to laugh at this one! Thanks and good luck to all of you.

Deb said...

What a wonder of a mom you are. The three year old doesn't seem to be too impacted by things at all. Your girls are good - they'll get the lesson. Such a gift you're giving them to not rescue.

The Boisterous Butterfly said...

You're a good Mom. Kudos to you.

Jerri said...

There's no doubt you will not let the little girl get traumatized. Just like there's no doubt you will help your girls learn the lessons she makes available to them.

Blessings to all.

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