Family life

My kids are driving me crazy

Of course she loves Anna and Avery to bits, but Tracy's having one of "those" weeks.

By Tracy Chappell
My kids are driving me crazy

Anna practising her mad face, which I've seen far too often this week.

It’s Friday, right? Whew. This week, Friday seems like that beacon of light on a dark, stormy sea, telling me I survived. Or have almost survived. I just have to make it until 6 p.m. and I know I can. I think I can. I pray that I can.
My kids have gone crazy this week. I even checked to see if there was some lunar something-or-other to explain this disaster of a week, but apparently it’s just a bad omen that’s taken residence over my roof.
It actually started late last week and, up until then, we’d been having a good run. Anna even offered to help me fold laundry one day — and she surprised me with her skills. “Where’d you learn to do that?” I asked, as she neatly folded a long-sleeved shirt. “Special Agent Oso,” she replied, as if it was elementary. Anna also was a huge help during an emergency Walmart run, putting all of the items neatly onto the belt and handing them, one-by-one, to the very patient cashier, who commented on what a lovely daughter I had. Heartwarming. Avery was also being generally pleasant, cooperative (even gently putting a Band-Aid on a scrape Anna got and kissing it) and fun to hang out with, with a particular interest in playing hockey in our driveway.
Then, like the beautiful weather of the past weeks, it was all over. (Hey — maybe it is associated with natural causes.) Avery has barely stopped whining all week. I swear, it’s a good thing I wrote this joy of a three-year-old post when I did. Not only does the whine fill every waking moment like nails on a chalkboard, but she gets completely hysterical at the drop of a hat. If I ask her what’s wrong, she just runs screaming out of the room and won't let me touch her. On top of this, she’s climbed into my bed every night for the past week. At first I was good about getting up and taking her back to her own bed, but the last few nights, I just roll over to make room. And that’s not something I do, as a rule.  
In Avery’s defense, I think we’re still in the adjustment period of her ditching her afternoon nap and last week, she was sniffly with an almost-cold that never really developed into anything, but just used up all of our tissue — and apparently her good humour. But enough already, kid!
And Anna — she has just woken up on the wrong side of the bed pretty much every day. Watch out! She’d get into fits because she had a wiggly tooth. “It’s so annoying!” she’d scream. And then throw things. But it came out on Sunday and I was hoping her bad mood would leave with it (can you believe she just lost tooth #8 at age six?). She’s been angry and defiant, nasty to all of us. We had a huge homework battle last night (in SK — oy!) and today she had a friend over and she was so mean I was shocked. Luckily, her friend has a don’t-even-worry-about-it kind of mom. Love those moms. Tonight at swimming lessons, Anna was splashing all the kids and got a time-out from the teenaged instructor!
And, of course, the girls just could not get along for more than two minutes, which means when they weren’t yelling at me or some other worldly injustice like having to wear coats, they were yelling at each other. On two different days, they’d both had time-outs by 8 a.m. I have taken an excessive amount of deep, calming breaths. I have visualized myself on a warm sandy beach while they tugged and tattled at my legs. I have yelled. A lot.
But yes, it’s Friday. Friday makes things better, doesn’t it? And last night, I did see some sign that the tide is turning. After giving them both a consequence for their behaviour during our trip to swimming lessons, Avery did a swift about-face (Avery tends to do this; when she sees I’m really upset, she’ll suddenly turn into the sweetest kid on the planet) by helping me make dinner and tidy up. And I had a wonderfully calm bedtime tuck-in with Anna and a chapter of Beezus and Ramona, followed by a long conversation about the summer camps I’ve signed her up for.
Earlier in the day she might have told me they were the stupidest camps she’d ever heard of and she was not going no matter what! (Yes, it’s been like that.) But instead, she bolted up in her bed and exclaimed, “I’m delighted! My life just got really fun!” (She seriously said “delighted.”)
So I have my fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow, and we have some fun plans for the weekend, so I’m ready to put this all behind me. Hopefully the girls are, too. But I better get something in the works to get through today.
I find this happens somewhat regularly in our home — we have a period of time during which one or both of the kids just seem completely out of sorts for no particular reason, then (after a stretch that feels like forever, but usually lasts about a week) it’s just over. It feels almost hormonal.

Do you ever experience this with your kids? And what do you do when they're driving you nuts??

This article was originally published on Mar 30, 2012

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