Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Zen of Steve....Redux

Annie has reached the delightful & challenging age of 18 months (more on that at some point...her birthday letter is still in draft status. Way to go momma). She is finally at a point in which my memories of Liam at the same age are not as vague. So, when she does something like, say, pull the checkbook out of my purse, wave it around and announce that she has it ("MOMMAAA!!") then run and wedge herself under the farthest corner of the dining room table to alternately shred/eat the carbon copies of my checks, shrieking "NOOOOOOO" and deftly slipping out of my grasp as I grunt and writhe around on the floor trying to reach her, I now have a much clearer frame of reference.

Since I wrote A LOT when Liam was a tot, I decided to go back into the archives to see what I could dig up from back in the day when he was first starting to feel his oats a bit. It was funny and honest and made me realize that I could have written those same stories about this wee little girl who has me feeling like I am chasing my tail most days. These crazy kids of mine. Head strong and clever and sweet as honey. A lethal combination.

Here is one from when Liam was exactly Annie's age. It pretty much sums up........ yesterday.

The Zen of Steve
Aug. 6, 2006

This morning brought with it a foul mood and I have been a supreme grouch since the moment my eyes grudgingly struggled awake at dawn. Oscar has got nothing on me today. Working on 3 hours of fractured sleep, I am a force to be reckoned with. Working on slightly more, but still fractured sleep himself, Liam is a whirling dervish of naughtiness and no's. We are not a happy pair.

We slowly circled each other all morning...Liam pushing his luck and me barking at him to "cool it" while working on my 2nd pot of coffee, hoping to feel the euphoric rush of caffeine and clarity at *any* moment. While taking a brief respite in the bathroom, I heard several crashes and hastily ran into the kitchen, sans shorts, to find that Liam had pulled up a chair to the sink and was systematically emptying it of dirty pots and pans....and knives. Christ.

At the very moment that I was beginning to ask myself if leashing Liam to the dining room table would technically be considered abuse, I looked at the clock and realized that it was 11:00. Or rather, Blue's Clues o'clock. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I planted Liam in his little chair, turned on the boob tube and went to retrieve my britches and yet another cup of joe. Twenty minutes of kid friendly cleverness were headed our way and I was ecstatic.

Today's lesson: Frustration. How apropos. Steve helped his little friends Bucket and Pail work through some sort of frustrating task, after which he turned, looked deep into my eyes and asked, "Do you ever feel frustrated?". He patiently waited for my response. How nice. "Oh, Steve, Steve, Steve", I answered back, "If you only knew."

Always so calm and steady in his green on green rugby, Steve went on to tell me that when I am frustrated, all I need to do is: STOP. BREATHE. and THINK. That's it. Seems pretty simple and I need simple right now. I immediately began to imagine all the opportunities I would have to put this handy advice to use:
  • Spend half an hour working on a meal that Liam *might* deem edible just to have him feed it to the dog? STOP. BREATHE. THINK.
  • Liam is screaming at the top of his lungs while pointing to the ceiling and I have no earthly clue what he wants because, no, he is still not talking? STOP. BREATHE. THINK.
  • Find an entire roll of TP unfurled and stuffed into the toilet...again? STOP. BREATHE. THINK.
  • Successfully intervene when Liam is throwing toys at the dog only to have him turn around and brain the dog with a book instead? STOP. BREATHE. THINK.
  • Liam wakes at 2AM *starving* because he refused to eat anything all day? STOP. BREATHE. THINK.
  • Lying in bed awake while the rest of the world sleeps because husband's snoring could wake the dead? STOP. BREATHE. THINK.
The possibilities are endless. At my current rate, I'll probably be hyperventilating by 10AM what with all this extra breathing, but it's certainly worth a shot. As luck would have it, I was given the opportunity to put this new skill into practice as soon as Blue & Steve had bid us adieu. Upon being presented with his lunch, Liam dumped the entire plate onto the floor and I promptly removed him from the table with the admonishment that lunch was over....too bad. But before I could get to it myself, Liam was on the floor shoveling the food in his mouth, dog hair and all.

STOP. BREATHE. THINK. least he ate. And a quick glance at the microwave told me that NAP was only 22 minutes away. I could do this, I thought. Feeling triumphant, I looked down to see Liam juicing the remaining watermelon through the rush seat of the dining room chair.


Awwww...yes...this is working. Who would have thought that the path to inner peace led right through Blue's Clues?

Children's programming has come a long way.


Annette said...

Seriously. You should write a book!!! I remember reading this piece when you posted it back in the day of January 05 babes board! I loved it then. i love it now! So you well know, my Kenni and your Liam are two peas in a pod!! :)

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh, seriously melissa you are a gifted writer. i love the "style" the humor the truth the real real naked truth!! wow i am so impressed