Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

My Christmas Spirit is by the Side of the Road

by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

I’ve lost my Christmas spirit. It was there a minute ago, all cheery and festive, basking in the beauty that is this season.  Then poof!  It disappeared. Snuffed out quicker than a pre-lit tree with one bad bulb.  And, I think I know what happened.

It was on the car ride home from church last Sunday.  A car ride where I had to sit in the back seat with two of my children.  In retrospect, I guess some could say that I’m to blame for not placing myself in between them to serve as a human barricade, thus preventing the predictable mayhem that ensued.  But, I wanted to sit by the window, darn it!  I’m an adult and have earned the right to sit in a seat that has at least one side devoid of direct human contact.

Then it started.  You parents with more than one child can probably guess what happened next:  the stealth-like sneaking of an index finger creeping ever so lightly across the shoulder of the unsuspecting younger sibling; the slow slide of one foot to barely swipe the side of the sibling’s closest shoe; and, then, the blood-curdling scream.

“Knock it OFF!” I yelled as the offspring closest to me was pushed into my side.  “What are you guys, two years old?”  I wish I could tell you they are, in fact, toddlers reacting the way toddlers do, but these kids are 16 and 13.  So, if you have young children now who are dealing with the “stop touching me;” “he’s looking at me;” and “she just breathed my air;” I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that’s not going to stop anytime in the near decade.

My vehement reaction slowed down their impulses to touch, poke, elbow, and slap each other, but it didn’t stop them.  Only a few minutes passed before the poking and prodding started up again, making me feel like I was in the backseat with a couple of boxers, and I’m not talking about dogs.  I tried holding one kid’s hands down (just made her a sitting duck) and threatening them (but what 16-year-old is going to be stymied by the threat of “I’m gunna tell Santa you were bad?”), but I had nothing in my arsenal of Parenting that would make them stop.  I decided it was time to get down on their level.    

“Mo-o-o-m, they won’t stop touching me!” I said to my mother who was sitting in the front seat.  She was no help at all.  

“You know they’re doing it just to get to you.  They’ll stop if you just ignore them.”

She was right.  I am the adult.  I can control this situation by not wasting any energy trying to control it.  

I looked over at my offspring.  They were both smiling as they started coming at me with index fingers pointed.

Let’s just see who gets the last laugh when they check out what Santa’s left for them in their stockings.  Mwahahahahaha!

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Tags: Featured Story, Parenting

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