Ok, so I need to stop doing the “all the rage I feel towards men is focused on a particular little boy” thing. Which means I need to find a way of personalizing each kid… one at a time. Oh god.
So I asked the eldest son to come downstairs while I moved laundry around. I said, “I’m having a real problem with your tone of voice and it seems like maybe you aren’t enjoying mine either. Can we negotiate?”
We had a great chat. He expressed extreme frustration with my kids and I gave him several paths for dealing with us without ever screaming, “Shut up or get out” at us. I said, “We are all contrary assholes. Have you noticed how when you tell us to shut up we get louder?”
“Yeah. We’re like that. Would you like tips on a way to quiet us down that will actually work?”
“Yeah. That would be nice.”
“I can do that!”
So we talked about how to talk to us. We talked about when and how to ask for interventions. I expressed extreme desire to help him defend his space when that is appropriate. I said, “If you come and get me before you are pissed off and frustrated then you never have to get frustrated or pissed off. My kids can be very rude. If they are in your space in a way that doesn’t work for you, come get me and we’ll work it out. You don’t have to put up with people violating your boundaries… but this isn’t how to communicate your boundaries. Let’s talk about stuff.”
He said that sounded really great. He’d like help defending his boundaries. He tried to tell me, “That’s just how people talk to each other here. Everyone is like that.”
I said, “Well then you get to have the wonderful, magical experience of having people visit you from far away who have different boundaries and you get to adapt and learn how to treat us. It’s good for your character.”
He kind of stammered a bit and looked confused. When we walked back upstairs mom was doing that, “Uh huh you got told and I’m going to pretend I wasn’t listening to every word” thing.It was cute.
Then I stayed awake way too long strategizing how I want to talk to a few people about a few other things. I’ll need to initiate a conversation about closure when I get back to the bay area. That’s going to be festive and fun.
I am glad I don’t have to do it soon.
The kids continue to make me feel like I’m doing something worthy with my life and time. I love them so much.