Some folks around here might say we’ve got a storm brewing most days in our house. Things can seem just a wee bit touch and go at times.
Which is pretty frustrating, really, considering everything rolls along just fine until around six or seven o’clock…but somewhere between dinner and bedtime, almost without fail, there’s some kind of nuclear meltdown of the short-person kind. Sometimes it’s a kid/parent conflict and sometimes it’s kid-on-kid fighting but either way, frankly, it’s a pain in the ass.
We had a real doozy go down here over the weekend. Bear and T-man got into it outside, and she did everything but throw the kitchen sink at him. Apparently he stuck to the line that he’d be telling us everything she said, which just wound her up further and further until she hit critical mass.
Eventually we ended up with one angry boy, one sobbing girl, and two perplexed parents wondering yet again how these great kids went from playing peacefully all afternoon to being at each other’s throats in twenty minutes or less.
Enter the Family Meeting.
In a perfect world this would be quality time spent together talking about things that are important to us as a family. Celebrating our affection. Working out our differences. Bonding over hot chocolate and such.
In reality this usually involves one or two surly kids, a tense atmosphere, conflict mediation, an infinite amount of patience, and the struggle to find an equitable outcome. Plus consequences for misbehavior that don’t make us seem like fascist dictators.
So come Sunday evening we’re all perched on the couch, with T-man at one end recounting the trouble outside and Bear melting down until she was basically a puddle in the middle.
After we worked through our issues I asked if Bear was getting so upset in the driveway because T-man kept tallying up all the ways she was going to be in trouble – girly girl really doesn’t like to be told on – and she said yes. Hearing him say, “There’s another thing I’ll be telling them” apparently pushed her right over the edge.
Then Bear added, “I just get SO ANGRY, ALL THE TIME, AT STUPID THINGS.” She then collapsed again into sobs of despair.
BrightSide shot me a look like WTH?
Tag. My turn. So I told her this:
Oh, honey child.
That would be The Hormones.
The Hormones are a powerful force that flow through you and can make you feel completely crazy.
There are times when I sob uncontrollably, for no reason whatsoever. And there are times when I’m furious, for no logical reason. There are just these waves of emotions that wash over me and you and we have no choice but to ride them out.
It’s kind of like Spiderman. You know how he gets bit by that radioactive spider and things go all crazy and he’s like WHAT?! because he doesn’t know WHAT’S going on. Because all those crazy things are happening to him and he doesn’t know how to handle it yet. But then he figures it out and gets control and becomes a superhero.
Bear: So I’ve been bit by hormones.
YES, you’ve been bit by Radioactive Hormones. And I wish I could tell you this would go away, but it doesn’t, you just get better at handling it. And remember that T-man loves you and dad’s a great listener, but I’m LIVING what you’ve got going on so come find me if you need a safe place to land.
Then I pulled Bear close to whisper in her ear: And you know, sometimes all a girl needs is one piece of chocolate to turn things around.
That got a smile out of her.