Five years and 2 children ago, I found out my then 5 year old wanted me to be an octopus. Here’s her story.
“I wish you were an octopus.”
Turning from the kitchen sink full of hot, soapy water and a pile of dirty dishes, with one eyebrow raised in “did I hear that right” curiosity, I smiled at my creative five year old — who finally held my full attention — and replied, “What?!?”
“An octopus can do anything.”
“It can swim.”
“And its articles (her words, not mine) can reach clear across the room.”
“I wish you were an octopus, mom.”
(frustrated five year old girl exits.) (befuddled mother — what was it that she wanted me to do in the first place? get her a drink? — wipes dish suds off of her hands and leaves the kitchen to give attention where needed.)
Why is it that in the busyness of the day I am sometimes reluctant to acknowledge the needs and desires of my children? It is too tempting for me to get one more thing done. One minute, please (for the forty-fifth time). Hang on a second (while I check my email)… let me finish this (latest revision of a blog post)… I need to take care of this (laundry) first…
It was another wake up call for me. My daughter would like to handle the situation by adding six “articles” to my body! She’s a problem solver, that one. Point taken. I need to care for her first. For all three of my children, first.
I’m not advocating that you entertain your kid’s every whim (really, because that does NOT work for me), but before it gets to the point where your children want to turn you into an eight-legged sea creature, make yourself available. (preaching to myself here) Give the computer a rest. Let the dishes soak. Wrinkled laundry never hurt anyone. The children are growing… fast!
Speaking of fast… fast forward five years, two children, and a lot more responsibilities. I still haven’t grown any articles 😉 , and I’m still not an octopus. The juggling act hasn’t gotten any easier, but my children are older and wiser, and they know when mom is paying attention and when she isn’t. Adapt and overcome is the name of the game around here!
Originally published November 11, 2008.