You know that saying, "two steps forward, one step back"? Well, I shoulda known this was coming. I mean we've taken a lot of great steps forward in managing this whole single-parent family life thing. Which means we were overdue for a step back.
So we took one.
Yesterday, I woke up with all three kids in my bed. My Aspie was restless. My diva had nightmares. My little guy - well, he climbs in every night, 'cause he knows I'm too tired to move him back to his own bed. But yesterday morning he just wouldn't leave.
And the three of them, they were a mess. Lots of needling and bickering and that really annoying, two-syllable "Mo-om!" Kids grabbing at me and crying a blue streak at the slightest hint of separation. My little guy, a potty user for half his life now - well, he missed. And I caught my diva with her thumb firmly in her mouth. She hasn't sucked her thumb in months.
Big step back.
And here's why.
If you've been around the past few weeks, you know my Aspie just started a new school. Great new school. Actual friends - seriously, he's got friends, and they are just like him, and they are awesome. But it's a transition. Transitions are rough. The school is still learning him, he is still learning them, we're all still learning each other.
This week, we learned a lot.
Late in what was a very good day at school, the staff sat down with the kids and shared the news that a student at my son's old school had died. The boys talked. They seemed okay. And everyone went home.
My Aspie was not okay.
He's also not so good at identifying and articulating his emotions. He was confused and coping. So he tantrummed. He screamed and he cried. He got disrespectful and disobedient and a whole slew of other nasty dis-es. I wasn't there for most of them, because it was Not My Night. The kids were, mostly, with their dad. Not that I helped while I was there - kid management has always been a source of - well, let's just call it debate - between me and the ex. But I do know there was a fair amount of angry all around, and a lot of dad-style discipline, which tends to be rather, uh, louder than the mom stuff.
It was not a good night. So we took a step back.
But you know what's cool? And maybe it's the rose-colored glasses talking. But all this, it's an aberration. It's not normal. And it used to be. It used to be normal. It used to be every day with the nightmares and the thumbsucking and the clinging to mommy. A year ago, this was our life.
It's not anymore.
Today our world went right back to the new normal. I woke up with only one kid in my bed, and he dashed off as soon as he heard his favorite brother playing on his DS downstairs. The kids spent the morning laughing and hugging and left the house smiling. No missed potties. Not a single sucked thumb.
And so, we step forward again. Because these days, forward is where we live.