Conner and I have been getting along so well during John's latest Tdy that I'm almost afraid to say anything. It used to be that I could time how long it would take for us to get into our groove: two weeks on average, for any trip over four weeks. Which is, really, about every trip. Things aren't all hunky-dory, but for the most part he has really stepped up to the plate: doing the dishes, etc, when I ask him; acknowledging discipline when it's deserved and not just dishing out attitude; helping with his younger siblings... And we've been enjoying time together in the evenings, too, after his siblings are in bed. Time he would typically be spending with his dad doing daddy-son, things. Bittersweet, these times of separation can be.
It's Olivia who's giving me the headache. I know it's typical for this age (5), but lawd-o-mercy that girl is giving me a run for my money: sassing; lying and sneaking around; flat out blowing me off when I tell her to do something; and man can she take forever to get ready to go do anything. It took us three days to get around to the "seed store" like she's been pining to do because every morning by the time she got her shoes on we didn't have time before Sean-Peter was due off the bus.
But the real proverbial straw was yesterday when I let her take pictures with my camera, something I've let her do from time to time with no real problem. But yesterday. Yesterday she gave it back and I discovered that she had deleted all the files. Every picture I had not gotten the chance to download, gone. Which was everything since our trip to Alabama: adorable pictures of the kids hugging on daddy the morning he left; beautiful ones in perfect lighting "exploring in the woods" by Conner's Scout campsite; Conner decked out in his new Scout gear; Sean-Peter in all his glee and glory playing with some new Thomas stuff I totally scored at the thrift store on base. All. Gone.
I was complaining about this to John, how I know this is a normal stage and I really do understand that. But my pictures! He summarized it in his typical comical fashion, saying it's the whole Adam and Eve Thing: No matter that she had taken pictures numerous times before with nary a hiccup. This time she just couldn't help but wonder, What would really happen if I touched these buttons here that my mommy told me not to? I mean, what's the big deal?
And because of the whole Adam and Eve, Thing, her imperfect mommy told her in no uncertain terms what really happened and how it was irreversible and couldn't be fixed and we could never get them back and I could never trust her to take pictures with my camera again. Ever. Goodbye Garden of Eden. So great was her sorrow Olivia fled from my fiery sword and cried her broken heart all the way to her room while I mourned my loss and pondered whether I had been too hard on her.
And the drama never stops. Just this evening, all the dishes were put away and the kitchen put in some semblance of order -- save Olivia's plate, which still holds most of her dinner. We're trying to get out the door to take Conner to a youth group at a friend's church, and Olivia's trying to grab a banana.
Okay, I know it's a banana. But work with me here. It's the principle.
"So eat your dinner."
"I don't want my dinner!"
"Fine, but you're not having a banana either. Eat your dinner, then you can have a banana."
"I'm never eating my dinner! I'm never going to eat it again! And I'm not eating my lunch or my breakfast or...anything! I'm only going to eat a banana!"
I would like to end this by posting a photo for your viewing pleasure that Olivia took of herself. We were rolling on the floor laughing at what was the most hysterically bizarre, goofy expression that I'd ever before seen on her face, and that's saying a lot.
But she deleted it.
March 30, 2012
5 years ago