Kid1 is a full blown angsty teenager. He watches the world quietly except to say he's dead inside when I ask him to repeat, "yes Mom, right away." Yet, he was cracking up and chiming in when I got the boys to each repeat, "Havarti is life." Yesterday we spotted a bumper sticker that said, "Baby up in this bitch." I pointed and laughed, and he tried his hardest not to laugh, offering sideways looks of disdain that weren't at all convincing. Later he would mention that it like my love of DeadPool is "inappropriate." He wants his first pocket knife. I got mine around 12 years old. 12 years old and 28 years ago was a confiscated tool. Now it's expulsion and threats to safety.
Kid2 is a sullen boy with moments of rage. He wants his phone that was confiscated because he got grounded. "How long am I grounded for?" It's a valid question, but I'm still eyeing the door he ripped from the wall through old wood on solid hinges. He wants to know with huffing breath and clenching fists when he gets it back. I look calmly at him and remind him that through his anger and frustration the only thing he can control is his reaction. This is why he wasn't harmed when he ripped the door from the jamb. I used self control and didn't lose my shit as I looked over at him and continued making the two dinners I was working on because I was in the mood for enchiladas and they weren't. I'm biting my tongue and wonder how I missed teaching gratitude. Oh wait, I'm still working on that myself.
Kid3 has rage and it comes out as he bangs his head on the wall for an hour straight. It wakes with him as he refuses to budge from his bed the next day. "But you make me so mad I can't control myself. I get so mad that I can't control myself." I point to his tiny chest to punctuate, "I" and "I" and "myself" has little to do with me. The bathroom window I fixed last week was the victim to his rage and he wonders why I won't buy the shirt and toys and miscellaneous kitsch he wants to clutter our tiny home with. I tell him it's a change to go from everything I can offer to privilege that is earned. "You're fairly adaptable to change. You used to sneak soda out of the house to school, now you're sneaking San Pelligrino." And I'm now raising that kid. I used to envy them with their square bottles of Evian. Now mine drink San Pelligrino and ask for glass Voss bottles and I remember drinking water from the neighbor's hose while pedaling my old bike with the banana boat seat through the neighborhood with purple jacarandas and wilting lilies.
This is mom life.