When my oldest three were little I held dance parties in the living room as way for them, and me, to blow off steam. I would turn the music up loud and we’d dance and shout until we were panting for air. Sometimes we’d have freeze dance parties if we were bored with the regular kind. I would turn the volume down on the radio and the kids would have to hold whatever position for however long I kept the volume down.
We had all the fun.
My youngest guy, Liam, is 6 and I still want to do those fun things with him. I want him to have all the things my older ones did. I don’t want him to miss out on anything. Today I asked my 15 (almost 16, MOM!) year old daughter and 12 year old son to help me have a dance party. That may have been a mistake. It may have also been a mistake to hold this dance party in my bed. The thing is I’m older and more tired than when the first three were little. I wanted to have a dance party on my behind. In my bed. With a cup of coffee.
Now that I write this I realize that may have been my mistake.
Any time I invite Laurel and Spencer to do anything I’m inviting a certain level of chaos. These two love to take things to the next level.
Things went well at first. We were doing the funky arm moves, getting some decent air time even though I’ve significantly restricted the jump zone. Then Liam moved with lightening speed to the end of the bed and launched a perfect belly flop in the center. I gave him a little leeway because he’s six and they need that. The other two, though, took my clapping and leeway-giving as their chance to up the ante. Spencer, who has not yet come to terms with the fact that he’s an adult-sized person, also catapulted himself across the bed. His bounce yielded several smaller bounces for Laurel and I. Just as I saved myself from toppling over the edge I heard Liam shout, “Cannonball!” and could only watch in silent amazement as he tried to drag his sister down.
I had entered the next level without signing up for it.
The next few minutes involved me boomeranging between please-this-is-not-how-dance-parties- are-supposed-to-go and laughing til I cried.
Thoughts happen really fast, you know? During the madness taking place in my bed I had time to think about the fact that my youngest child never got to love Elmo madly. Instead he chose Batman. It wasn’t Barney that he wanted played on repeat, it was Lord of the Rings. My littlest guy doesn’t know any words to The Wiggles songs but by golly he knew the words to The Phantom of the Opera by the time he was four. Sometimes I feel badly that he doesn’t have siblings his age to play with, or that I don’t do circle time in the mornings anymore , or that when he is indignant he shouts, “What the crap?” (a very teenagery thing to say, you must admit).
It’s like he’s been raised by wolves.
I snap out of my 7 second contemplation because phrases like ‘frank and beans’ and ‘I can’t breathe’ were being shouted by my children. What I see is that they are having a blast, the music is still going strong, and Liam doesn’t know any different.
His three older siblings are way better than Elmo, hands down.
They are nice wolves, after all, fixing him peanut butter jellies and giving him snuggles when necessary.
Today I conceded that things are the way that they are.
Then I did what needed to be done: I pants-ed one of my kids.