Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Auto Parent

A post written last summer while the older 2 kids were away at camp:

Day four of sleep away camp. Birk and I have been bonding over our divergent interests: she, the dvd player; me the computer. Hours go by where she plays quietly in her room. Hours go by that she is using both hands to hold my face and say "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"

Something occurred to me on the fourth visit to the restroom at a restaurant yesterday. Germ-phobe (yes, that too) that I am, I am looking all around the bathroom stall with a sharp eye for pathogens, while listening to my daughter sing. My foot is tapping with impatience and I'm wondering if it's really fair for me to tell her to concentrate and hurry up one more time. Yes, my revelation was that it occurred to me that I have been living on Auto Parent mode.

The magic of having older kids is that they take their sister to the bathroom. They take their sister to the park. They are willing to play with plastic animals and the wooden farm house for hours. Ugh! My poor daughter is stuck with me for another week and a half, alone. Boring, tired, playless mommy.

When I try to sift the moments that we spend together, I see that much of the time we barely interact: making and serving breakfast like a zombie while I scream for everyone to hurry up or we'll be late; zooming along in transit to one activity or another while tabulating the endless lists in my mind; dropping them off for school; picking them up; transit; dinner; bedtime race; bed.

I am sometimes hearing the question, the story, the thought as she talks in the back seat. I find myself lost and nodding or asking her to repeat herself. I'm tired of auto parent. Where's the control thingie so that I can turn myself back on?


The Redhead Riter said...

Does this reposting mean you have gone back to Auto Parent or you are grateful that you are not there any more?

The Redhead Riter said...

I hope you have a great day!

Two Pretty Little Skirts said...

We've tripped over the auto parent button a few times ourselves. I think once was intentional...sometimes time just goes by and suddenly you realize how much of it has passed.

Anonymous said...

I totally do that as well....I've been trying to turn the button for weeks now....maybe when school starts..

Helene said...

Deb, I love your honesty! I'm guilty of the same thing! Sometimes I'll drown out the noise of the kids in the mini-van and just add in an occasional "yeah" or "uh-huh". Sometimes I feel like I'm just going through the motions and then when I collapse in bed at night, I feel bad wondering if I remembered to hug any of them that day.