Our Own Little Ecosystem

Our goal this weekend was to relax.  Ha.  As if that’s actually even possible these days.   In the past 48 hours, we had all of two moments of relative calm (yes, I counted).  Meaning the kids weren’t pushing all of our buttons, Ken and I weren’t pissed at each other and we’d both decided to ignore the never-ending list of crap that needed to be done around the house.  Things were feeling so mellow around here that we even let down our guard enough to start thinking thoughts like, hey, maybe we’re finally getting there.

Five minutes later, one (or both) of us was tensed up or hunched over, if not actively yelling.  Like last night, when I heard Ken yelling at Nico from the back deck.  The kids were running around outside while Ken grilled chicken for dinner–I was hiding out in the kitchen, cooking the rice and veggies–and Nico decided to hurl a pile of dirt as far as he could, which of course meant it ended up on top of our chicken.

Talk about a Kodak moment.  I listened to Ken threaten Nico (“You’re going to have to eat that!”) and thought about how crazy we become in such moments.  No, he didn’t make Nico eat the dirt-covered chicken (don’t call social services quite yet), but for a moment there I could almost see Ken’s mind racing to access that ancient DNA-inspired library that lives inside all of us, offering Timeless Responses for the Child Who Has Wronged You.

I’m not trying to get on Ken here.  The truth is, I’m the one who should probably be hauled away for some of the terrible things I’ve said to my children.  I’m constantly horrified by the stuff that comes out of my mouth.  Plus, there’s that automatic No that comes creeping up any time one of the kids pushes the envelope.  I’m in a constant battle that lady, and let me tell you, she can be a real bitch.

But what I find especially fascinating about these moments is how quickly our entire household seems to explode in metaphorical flames.  Because as soon as one person is excited/angry/sad/fill-in-the-blank, the rest of us immediately pick up that person’s mood until suddenly we’re all foaming at the mouth, even if nobody quite quite understands how or what has just happened.  Talk about your crazy little ecosystem!  In the good moments, of course, it can be pretty wonderful.  As for the painful moments, well, we just try and hunker down and hope they pass quickly.

Speaking of, Nico’s finally come full circle from last week’s flu crisis and is now running around happily, healthily and madly.  Gabriel, meanwhile, has taken over the baton.

Welcome to Week Two of Puking:The Miniseries.

Pray for us.

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