Yesterday afternoon was rough for Middle. She'd had a bad day. She was grouchy. And when she's grouchy she treats us to a litany of complaints. The subjects most often addressed are:
- Why do you have to work? I hate it when you work. You should be home.
- Why don't you cook the things I want to eat?
- Why don't you buy me the things I want like a cell phone or ipod or a new computer?
- Why does brother get the star treatment and you treat me like dirt?
- I'm bored. Why don't you entertain me?
My answers go like this:
- Do you like living in a house? Do you like eating? Do you like wearing clothing? If so then I must work. If not we could take to the streets.
- I cook fresh healthy meals for the family. I'm sorry they are not to your taste. I am not a short order cook and child can not live on noodles alone.
- If you want an ipod you may buy it for yourself. You will get a phone in due time (your brother didn't get one until he was fourteen). You have a computer. Actually two. Which is two more than your father. Be grateful for what you've got. And what do I look like? A money tree?
- If, by star treatment, you mean your brother has a phone then yes -- he gets the star treatment. He gets it by virtue of his age. You, too, will get such treatment when you are older. And if, by star treatment, you mean I bought your brother a new computer keyboard from the Goodwill then yes. YOU have a nice keyboard. His was ruined by a suspicious incident involving his sisters. I did buy you a skirt. Something I did not purchase for your brother. Ponder that.
- You are a bright, inventive, creative child hence perfectly capable of entertaining yourself.
To be honest I am flabbergasted by the lack of gratitude from my children. They are SO lucky. They have food on the table, a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs. And yet they don't care one iota (that is until such things are taken away, hmmm ...)
I know (well at least I hope) some gratitude will come with age. As these children go out into the world and make their way I presume they will begin to appreciate the effort and sacrifice that has been made on their behalf. Obviously there are no guarantees.
In the meantime I've begun a project that will, hopefully, a) stave off boredom while I'm at work b) make Middle feel singled out and appreciated and c) foster some appreciation (i.e. middle has a great life).
Introducing the "Mama Has to Work Book Club". Our first read? The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I plan to read this in conjunction with Middle -- me during the day and her while I'm at work. Then, as time permits in between clients, we can discuss the book via email.
I created a PDF document to direct our first meeting. Hopefully it will be met with a positive reception.
On another note -- the MRI machine is down. My scan has been rescheduled for a week from Monday. Ah well -- such is life.