Monday, December 18, 2006

Deep Breath and Count to Ten

Unexpected blog break – work is too crazy and non-work is even crazier. I just stopped posting for a while there and I can’t promise I’ll be posting more this week.

Right now I am having difficulty concentrating because my next-door Pentecostal cube-mate is loudly discussing yesterday’s service with a co-worker. This discussion involves actual singing, a replay of key points in the sermon and even, yes, a brief spate of praise dancing in the cubicle. Jesus H. Christ. And I mean that.

Speaking of which, last night, I was lying in bed with Viva, reading her stories. We were all cozy snuggly under the covers with our heads noodged together. We had just finished Blueberries for Sal and she asked me to re-read Merry Christmas, Maisy. Since it was already an hour after her bedtime, I said no. She then said she wanted to read it to me. I again said no, that it was late and she needed to go to sleep because she had school tomorrow. She balled up her little fist, hauled off and punched me.

And that was when all the air got sucked out of the room and it grew deadly quiet. Viva squirmed over on her side and stared up at me with big unblinking kitty cat eyes.

“I am very disappointed in you,” I said, climbing down out of the bed. (She sleeps in a loft bed.) “Hitting me? Especially so close to Christmas? That is not nice. It is very, very naughty. I don’t know if you should get any presents after that.”

Viva dissolved into a puddle of tears, hanging one arm out of the bed. “I looooooooove you,” she sobbed, reaching out pleadingly.

I hugged her to me. “I love you too,” I said. “But we don’t hit each other, right?”

“Yuh,” she said, sniffling and wrapping herself around me. “Will I still get toys [for Christmas]?”

“Yes, baby, you’ll still get toys.”

She sat up and pulled out of the hug slightly. Face still streaked with tears, looking up into my eyes, she said, “Even a Doodlebear?”

It is amazing to me that if Sweet Dub is stern with her, Viva can keep it together. She may get a little upset, but she won’t break down. If I am angry with her, forget it. She falls to pieces, and the worse thing I can do is walk away from her. She can’t stand it if she thinks I am mad.

It is also amazing to me how patient I can be with her. I am generally low on patience. I know this. I am prone to anxiety and irritability. I know this, too. And knowing this, I try extra hard with her. She is so small still.

Have you ever heard that old fisherman’s prayer, “Dear Lord, be good to me/the sea is so wide/and my boat is so small”? I really get that. I try to remember that when I have moments that try my patience. It is such a big world, and there is so much for Viva yet to learn.

And now, I must get back to my fishing. The seas are choppy, today, my friends.


Cee in SF said...

When's your office gonna be ready?!

I don't get how kids think that striking out at someone is an option. I'm glad that got nipped in the bud. It's really about giving kids the tools for expressing themselves. I just wish more parents were as patient as you.

I'm on the high seas with you and I'll be using that prayer. Cheesus help us all.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Frickin' hell, I don't know. The office which is supposed to be mine is now empty, and I will probably move in after Jan. 1st. I don't have time to move my computer and crap. Deadlines, deadlines, all around me...

I could write a whole 'nother post about hitting. Sweet Dub and I were both spanked as kids, and both started out thinking an occasional swat was okay for Viva. I am no longer of that mindset, but I do have the occasional kneejerk reaction, especially if she hits me first!