When I was a young mother and just had Taryn and John I used to scoff when I heard people say, “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” From where I was sitting, with two babies screaming or two toddlers running around, nothing was harder. It was just not possible. No matter what stories people told me, I was secretly sure that it got easier as kids got older. I always thought that eventually I would be able to relax and they would sort of raise themselves.
My re-creationist memory of middle and high school had me as a star child who never had drama and was never, ever difficult.
I am sure my mother and father would disagree. Luckily only my mother reads this blog and she is restricted to commenting on Facebook. (Now that I have said that I know she will break the rule!)
Here is how I know that having big kids is harder than having little kids. Little kids are frustrating. They cry and whine and are impossible to please. Big kids are equally frustrating. They cry and whine and are impossible to please.
And they know it.
They know that they are making you crazy. I think they do it on purpose. It’s like a game of sink the sub, every single day.
In addition, they can make mistakes or errors in judgement that affect the Rest. Of. Their. Lives.
With little kids, you might worry that what they just ate off the floor at Target will give them diarrhea. With big kids you worry that the new friend they made is going to give them crack.
Today I played Wii basketball with Jackson. It was not even a little bit fun. Every time I scored he started the game over. If he shot and didn’t score he started the game over. Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.
However, that is nothing compared to dealing with the big kids. Taryn has been very unpleasant for the past few days. We have attempted to talk to her, but not too much. Sometimes kids just need to be left alone to wallow. Tonight at dinner neither of us could take it any more, so we asked some probing questions.
“What’s going on?”
“Talk to us.”
“We won’t be mad, we promise.”
Nothing but silence.
Dallas said, “Do you want to go write about your feelings in your diary?”
She waited a few beats and then finally answered.
“I ran out of pages.”
Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.