Lately I have been thinking a lot lately about my life, my kids, what I do all day and how it all relates to each other. It's winter. It's February. February means introspection, doesn't it? And after too much time with myself and my kids I usually end up very frustrated and very annoyed, both with my kids and with myself. Too much self-reflection isn't always a good thing. Or maybe it's never a good thing. Who knows.
Anyway. I like things neat. Organized. This applies to the spaces I inhabit and to the life I live. Chaos in my home in the form of scattered books, toys and games makes me anxious and crazy, and I don't like who I am when I am anxious and crazy, so I make the kids clean up the messes. Or, if I'm really feeling manic, I clean up the messes.
Well, guess what. Chaos and a lack of a predictable routine in my everyday life bothers me just as much. I like relationships to be smooth and harmonious. I don't live well with discord or uncertainty. Life always has a certain amount of mystique about it, but once you have kid upon kid (upon kid upon kid!) the uncertainty involved in each new morning grows that much more.
Today Elisabeth asked to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and she wanted to put the jelly on the bread all by herself. I grudgingly handed over the knife, all the while thinking how much faster and less messy it would be if I just did it myself already. After she globbed on the jelly, Elisabeth handed me the knife and asked for help with the peanut butter. I reached out my large hand to make the exchange with her small one and guided the steel knife handle into my hand.
Oh! I blurted out. It's all gooey!
And it was. All sticky and messy and full of raspberry jelly and it was all over my hand.
And it hit me, right then in there in my kitchen as I washed off the knife's handle: kids are all gooey; they're messy and chaotic and they stick to you like Agrosik raspberry jelly.
The moral is, for me, I need to just relax. Embrace the routine and the organization when I can, but also remember kids are kids. Elisabeth didn't try to spread jelly all over the knife handle, it happened because she's four and can't yet wield a knife. She will learn because I will continue to let her rub jelly all over the knife handle until she gets it right and, in the future, maybe I will remember that it's not a big deal because I can, after all, just wipe off the handle.