(All photos were taken at Tualatin Commons, a gorgeous public space in my town that includes a man made lake surrounded by restaurants, apartments, and offices. During the summer months it hosts things like art festivals, farmers markets, and paddle boat rides. And it's a great place to take some pictures of goofy children running through a fountain in 58 degree weather. We told them it was a bad idea and they'd be cold. But of course, they argued with us. Live and learn.)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Over the past few weeks I've received quite a few comments and emails saying how brave Jay and I are for having the guts to follow our dream a bit and make the huge step of moving our family across the country, to a place where we have no known support system. (Thank you for the kind words, by the way!) While I do think there are times I've felt incredibly brave, I've also felt dozens of other emotions as well. One of them being selfishness.
Were Jay and I being selfish for uprooting our children? Ultimately, I don't think so, and I firmly believe that any stumbling blocks we may face right now, are outweighed by all of the future benefits.But I have noticed one major behavioural change over the past few weeks and I wanted to share it with you. There are times I've felt as if I've sugar coated our move, maybe glossed over the many imperfections and not-so-great parts.So, in the essence of full disclosure, I must say that my previously mostly good natured children, have begun to argue about everything. They argue with each other, they argue with me and Jay. I've even caught them arguing with the TV-a mostly one sided argument. And the things they argue about are so ridiculous that it almost makes my head spin.Take for instance what happened the other night. We were enjoying a relatively peaceful dinner when the boy asked if he could have a bottle of water. I said, "No, the water bottles are for school lunches. Just pour a glass of water." (Keep in mind that I do not live in the White House, but a small apartment. The walk from the dinner table to the kitchen is literally less than ten steps.) The boy sighed, rolled his eyes, and proclaimed that he was "so sick of this." Wanting to get to the bottom of this and thinking there may be a bigger issue, I semi-calmly asked, "Sick of what?" His response? "Water bottles being only for lunches. That's so stupid."Honestly, the whole conversation was so inane that had I been looking down at it while it was happening, I would have thought that I was watching a bad sitcom, not my real life. And it's been like that with both kids, all day long.
Of course, some of this is probably just kids being kids. Kids argue, it's their thing. But I also think that with my particular kids, a lot of it stems from them feeling as if they have no control over their own lives and feeling a certain amount of insecurity over their surroundings. Don't get me wrong, they've otherwise adjusted beautifully and in most ways the transition has been seamless. But I think that right now, they need to have their voices heard. Even if their voices happen to be declaring something truly asinine.
The response Jay and I have had to all this is patience (although that's wearing thin), understanding, and an increase in family time. We've driven the kids all over Portland and the surrounding towns in an effort to get them more familiar with the area and more comfortable. When out at large places like the Portland Saturday Market, we've allowed the boy to go off on his own, hoping it will build his confidence and make him feel more sure of his own abilities.At times it's been tough. There are times the arguing has gotten so intense that all I want to do is yell and scream. And many times I've done just that. But then, it passes. We go back to playing games or exploring. And everything is fine again. And I know that in the long run, everything will work out well.In the meantime, have I mentioned that wine is way cheaper here than it was in Florida?