Changes are the enemy when you have little kids. They are sultans of routine. If they know the rules, and they know who is there, and they have the things they need, usually keeping the day pretty even keel is fairly attainable. It’s when changes start coming that stuff gets weird. The shitty part for us adults is that we know change is a constant in this life. This whole existence is about change. There is no day that is the same as the one before.
We have recently been through a lot of changes in our household. There has been nothing earthshaking, well at least to the adults. My wife has gone back to work, which is hugely fulfilling for her, and I honestly could not be happier for her. But this means the girls don’t spend as much time with mama. I take it as a bonus, because I get to spend more time with them, but they still see it as change. We now use a nanny each day, which puts another person in the mix. This is quite the luxury for us, and to be honest really good for the girls, but it is still a definite adjustment.
When you have small kids 3 and under logic is not a part of interaction. It is starting to be sometimes, but when sleep is running low, hunger is banging down the door, or something is out of place, logic was gone hours ago. With 2 of them, this basically makes up 92% of the day. You can see where this goes, and it goes there faster than you can blink most times. Diversion tactics begin to become implicit to existence. How do I take this little forsaken mind to another place quickly? How do I divert from this intense tantrum to blue skies and marshmallows. Not literally marshmallows, unless they work, wink wink.
They just get locked into the frustration part, and they have no outlet for this. So logically they scream, cry, throw things, bite things, and many more glorious behaviors. To stay out of the emotion of these situations when you are sleep deprived, late for your day, and frustrated is unquestionably what embodies sainthood. Getting caught up in the emotional tornado that is whirling out of control is so easy its terrifying. I can assure you nothing good comes of this. There is a definite teaching moment here if this happens, and it is no doubt, a look in the mirror moment. Look at yourself, and get your Sh*t together. Your job is to lead them, to show them how to work through things. Some days it feels impossible, and I hate to say this is more often than not in the beginning when everyone is learning. Its a relief to know, that children get over things very quickly. Now see if you can. Don’t hold grudges against your 2 year old.
During this employment rotation, we went on a fantastic week long vacation to my parents farm. The girls could not have been more at home, and more free. Then we flew back to LA. A man had a seizure 2 rows up from us on the plane. He survived thanks to a medic on the plane, thank the Good Lord. Then we landed at LAX to 4 billion people, with 2 sleepy kids. Huge change. This sent them over the edge for about a week. Our job at this point was to reestablish routine, and go about our days as if everything was cool. THIS EFFIN SUCKS is all I could think for about a week after. People may tell you having kids is the greatest, and it definitely is. But don’t you forget. The sun is only so bright, because the night is so dark. These emotions they express are the exploding contrary of the polar opposite.
It was about 4 days or so into this week after the trip, that we were all just cooked. We hadn’t really slept normally in days. We were all short tempered. Routine was a joke. Eating was a joke. Sleep was a joke. Attitudes were in the damn drain. We were pretty much striking out on all cylinders. This is when she said it. My oldest said “No Papa do work.” (Translation: Papa don’t go to work.) I almost died. She basically just stomped on my soul. We had just spent a week with them and to see their faces, and the joy in their every moment was breathtaking. Now we were back to our lives. We work, and thats just how it is. Kids don’t know vacation, they don’t know the work week, they don’t know about time, they don’t know about money, they don’t know about space, they don’t know about meetings. All they know is us. And thats all they want all the time.
So I find myself lost. I find myself searching. I find myself unsettled with this whole experience. I don’t have a lesson from all of this for you. I am not sure if I can even come to a conclusion about this experience, but I can tell you I think about it, and it is like a needle is pricking my soul. It is gushy in there, my girls go right there all the time. They know how to find the part of me that is pure and vulnerable. All I can tell you is that I want more of that. I am not sure how much of this is available in our lives, but I can tell you I am gonna pursue it with vicious hunger. I am going to chase this connection down for as long as I can. I figure what a better way than to spend your time seeking this connection with your wife and kids. After all, the only thing that is truly priceless is time. Yours and mine is expiring by the day. Seek connection, find the greatest wealth any of us will ever know.
Family is where its at.