Thursday, November 1, 2007

the crying game

Yesterday, my darling dear daughter was in a state of sobbing or near tears seven times in three hours. Within minutes of arriving home from school (I hadn't even greeted her yet), she was crying on the porch about how her brother "wouldn't stop [something something] even though I ASKED HIM 25 times!!" I had to have her repeat the problem because she mumbled the [something something] and screeched the ASKED HIM in a pitch only the neighbor's dog fully understood (he translated for me). This injustice was worked out between the two of them rather quickly, and I foolishly believed all was better.

But then I announced the Halloween policy of completing homework before carving pumpkins (I know we're late & lame; been there, gotten berated) and donning costumes. Grumbling from the boy as expected but from the girl - wailing so wounded one might think I'd suggested a bonfire of Pats. Seriously. There was no talking down from this ledge; she had to stomp upstairs and slam her door for some quiet time. Twenty minutes had passed since she stepped off the bus.

Later there was grief over the jack-o-lantern: Cutting it was too hard; she accidentally lobbed off part of the E in "EEEK;" the toothpick wouldn't hold the piece while she finished carving; the cat was walking too close; she'd never finish in time; the other E would not come out! Aaaaagggh! I usually envision the horrors of Halloween much differently.

I will not, for everyone's sanity, recount all of the ensuing incidents. The few minor sadnesses that occurred during trick-or-treating were met with increasingly shrill threats of going home - I had visions of cutting through neighbors' backyards to get to our house with my howling child. Although it was the best October 31st weather in nine years, I was still cold and not at all motivated to spend a great deal of time wandering outside.

I truly do not mean to diminish my girl's emotional pain. I definitely relate, in theory - I could easily count seven instances of wanting to bawl within three hours of any given day, but it would seem unprofessional (not to mention unstable) so I hold it in. Then I later unleash on my poor, unsuspecting husband about something as mundane as the inch of grime creeping from under the washer & dryer or the shabbiness and boring color of the kids' towels. He, and anyone who happens to witness the breaking down of my mental state, are rightfully puzzled; they don't realize it's a compounded response to a week's worth of outrageous teenage behavior + multiple meetings & appointments + piles of unfolded laundry + my own procrastination of a dozen tiny jobs. Clearly I should be following my daughter's lead. Give me the tissues, and stand back.