Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pepper Pots

It was a frustrating night.  Bruce ran away for about the fifth time since we’ve moved in.  We were out on a walk and with his nose to the ground, I had a feeling he already knew there was a bunny out.  Sure enough, his head bolts up and he spots the unsuspecting bunny a few yards away.  In a flash, he springs forward and the leash is stripped out of my hand.  Ticked off, I go back inside the apartment with the kids who are now nagging me about how we have to get Bruce back.  I don't want to go after him.

We moved into the apartment about a month ago and since then we've been living with boxes everywhere and everyone stepping all over each other.  Bruce is 90 lbs and is constantly squeezing past the kids and me. Now, at my new job, we get home later than usual and sometimes even VERY late so I haven't had much time at all to unpack as quickly as I'd like.  Don't get me wrong- there's been lots of progress, but there are still boxes in our way.  To summarize it all, we have little quality time at home and we are squished!

So, I finally got Bruce back and proceeded to get dinner started.  Meanwhile, the kids were being really loud as they jumped on the couch and played with their Iron Man toys.  Between chopping onions and bell peppers and calling to them for "quiet voice," I could feel my blood pressure rising.  However, we managed to get through dinner. 

As I was washing our after-dinner dishes, Caden approached me with two toys in his hands- Iron Man and a plastic Lego woman.  “Mommy, I have Pepper!”  He held out the Lego woman so I could see.

“Pepper?” I asked, caught off guard by the announcement. At this time I was tired from a long day of work, pissed off at Bruce for running away again, irritated with the high volume of children playing, feeling claustrophobic from all the opened boxes and unorganized junk everywhere, and my mind was preoccupied with the checklist of to-do items like laundry, bill-paying, etc.  The last thing I could think about was who exactly Pepper was.

“Yes!” His eyes were wide and a smile was stretched across his face.

Then it hit me.  “Oh!” I exclaimed, “Pepper Pots!”  I watched as he turned from me and ran off toward Sean.

“Sean, Sean!  I have Pepper!”

I stood there for a moment and listened as they role played two Iron Mans and Pepper Pots fighting bad guys.  I finished the dishes and approached them.  “So, Pepper Pots isn’t a superhero is she?”

Caden grinned up at me, slightly surprised that I had taken an interest in their activity.  “No, she’s just a friend.  But she’s really cool.”  Then he held the plastic Lego girl up so I could see her.  “Here, Mommy, you can be Pepper.”

I smiled at him as I realized that this entire month has been filled with frustration.  I’ve been doing nothing but learning my new job and fulfilling my motherly tasks as caregiver and housekeeper.  I haven’t been engaging in any real play with them.

As parents, we do that a lot.  We keep ourselves in this little tunnel and only see the things that are constantly attacking us.  We get so involved with tasks and stress that we get too tired to stop and play with our kids.  And sometimes when we do “play” with them, all we really do is give them the courtesy “that was cool” comment or the fake laugh when our minds are really thinking about budgets and unpacking our boxes.

I took the plastic Lego girl in my hand and grinned.  “Hey, Iron Man,” I said, facing the toy toward Caden’s.  I took the Mommy hat off and tossed it aside for the night.  Tonight, I thought to myself, I’m pepper Pots.


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