Saturday, October 25, 2008

What's Wrong With Us?

Leaping without a safety net. Man, is it hard. It's hard to feel the rush of adrenaline from the free-fall with all this panic of hitting the ground. From trying to get my wings spread as a photographer to Kip's dealing with the world financial situation to Megan trying to make good, solid friends like she had back home, we're a real wreck here.

If You're Bored...
Add to that a photo shoot done, and poor Megan had to endure hours of boredom while I edited like mad. Never do we fight so much as when she is bored and I have something pressing that cannot be done with divided attention. So, part of Wednesday and Thursday we were at home at each others' throats- her bored and whiny, me stressed and pegged below "E" on patience. BUT, we made it through, no blood was shed, and photos were delivered on time. After the hours and hours of editing, I realized that I had a bag of crafts and junk upstairs that I purchased over a week ago to keep Megan preoccupied in case of bad weather or, say, I had to edit photos for hours on end. ARGH! The bag has been moved to my office now, so it isn't overlooked next time. Sheesh- at least she'll have a lot to tell her therapist in her 20s.

Neighborly Love... Well, Not Really
Some of you may have been saying, "If she was so bored, why didn't she go play with the neighbor kids?" Well, Maya and Emerson were busy for some of the week, some of it was my fault, I didn't think to send her out, the weather was crummy part of the time, and- well, some of the neighbor kids are just plain mean. And to clarify, it's some of the Dutch neighbors, not Maya and Emerson- there is one little girl and boy who gang up on Megan when they are together. One will come over and ask Megan out to play, and they'll play nicely for a good long time, then the other will come over and then it's pick on Megan time. And yet, bless her heart, she still is nice to them. She opened her bedroom window to say hello to them one afternoon, and they looked up and shouted "Megan, keep your mouth shut!" to her in Dutch (our next-door-neighbor translated). Here's the kicker- one of the kids' parents WAS RIGHT THERE AND DID NOTHING ABOUT IT.

Now, if you are a new reader who I don't know (which there is one of you- I'm glad you're here! Welcome! Bless your heart for reading all my babbling!) I must explain something to you- Megan is one of the happiest, most warm and welcoming kids you'll ever meet. She would give her last cookie to a friend if she thought it would make them happy. She shares. She takes turns. Sure, she's no saint, but she's damned close- too close for a punk 4-year-old to shout mean things to her. It's totally and completely humiliating, but I want to beat these kids up for her! One of these kids has been mostly cold and mean to Megan since she came to school (she calls him "the boy you give the stink-eye to, Mama" when telling me about her day) but the other was someone who I thought would be a sweet friend, and was grateful she lived so close- now I'm glad she lives close so I can keep an eye on her. Little punks.

ANYWAY, this is all a giant digression, and from this I feel a little relief from venting, but I'm still agonizing for my poor kid. She doesn't understand why these kids are mean to her, and it broke my heart to see her elated one minute that they were nice, then dejected as she came home when they ganged up on her. But it brings a meatier point to mind- if I shield her from these mean kids, is this a disservice to her? On one hand it is gut instinct to stick up for your child when anything bad happens in their life, but I don't want her to be ill-prepared when I can't be there to help her out. NOT that I have come right out and told her not to play with these kids and they are mean, but I have steered her to other friends as alternatives. As a parent I suppose you want to be the Avenger, dishing out justice for your child- I'm not sure if this time I let her have a little heartbreak and scoop her up in the aftermath.

On A Lighter Note
But, enough of that. Megan and I headed to the woods today, and they are still breathtakingly beautiful. The paths are filling with golden leaves, but a lot of the trees have yet to change- something I need to check timing on so that I can book client sessions when the trees are ablaze in their fall colors. We visited the farm first, fed about a kilo of bread to the ducks, scratched a few sheep and goats, then tromped into our favorite part of the woods, where the dogs run unleashed. I toted along pads of paper and crayons, and we made fairies with leaf-rubbing wings. Hers had big, fat pink tears running down it's face- I asked why her fairy is so sad, and she replied, "She doesn't have any friends." My heart fell like a lead balloon.

Don't Tell My Mom She's Right, But...
Before I left Houston, I was telling my mom about Megan's behavior changes over the 6-8 months before the move. She was clingy, and did not take saying goodbye well, even the simple "see you soon" to family that came to help pack, or who had gathered to celebrate birthdays or holidays. She had been sleeping in her own bed, granted it was in our room pushed right up against ours, but she had been sleeping there for months and suddenly was waking in the night and scooting over to our bed. Meals were a neverending battle- first over what to eat, then over not eating or not staying at the table. Getting dressed, clean, in pajamas- ANY transition in the day was a struggle where it has normally been no big deal.

"She is your mirror, hon," my mom said, taking my hand. "Watch her- she reflects what she sees and feels in her parents. I know, because you were mine." Looking at the crying, friendless fairy... well, they both hit the nail on the head. Except the pink wings- as far as you know.


Courtney said...

Oh sister... I know the pain!!! (not of the child's ability/inability to adapt) but at the adult side! My latest theory, that I had to say out-loud is that I'm going to fake being happy; until maybe one day I'll wake up and it'll be true.
I've taken on the other motto to not say no to any invitations... it's keeping us busy, surrounded by a million people... but at the end of the day, it's still just us...
We both know in the end that all transitions make us better people in the end... but why not also in the middle? :)

Kathryn said...

KB - my wish for you and Meg is that the beauty you find in the woods will seep into every part of your journey overseas. I can't imagine anyone being mean to my little Moo - reading your words made me want to hop on a plane, fly to The Netherlands and swoop you all up in a giant hug (oh, and beat up small children. Two on two is a fair fight, right?).

I'm so thrilled about your first official job and I know that more good things are coming your way. Megan will be a stronger person for the trials she endures and in the meantime, you will become a stronger person, too.

Above and beyond all know this: You are deeply loved and you are never alone.

Can't wait to squeeze you guys in person. Is it December yet??

Kari said...

Thank you, ladies. You know when you have a crummy week and you just have to finally hit rock bottom to start feeling better? Well, I think I'm on the upswing now- thank you for your support and wisdom. :)

Oh, and CJ- I couldn't agree with you more. Why can't the middle be as nice as the ending? Maybe if I could break it up into little beginnings and endings it wouldn't feel quite so blah.