Emergency surgery aside, the family vacation was fun for all. I promise to post pictures of our visit with Walter, and it was a never-ending laugh fest just as we expected. Olivia adapted to time changes, plane travel, and different sleeping arrangements with aplomb. Eric and I attempted to feel like adults on vacation once in a while, and Jake did his best to let us know that he is fully in the throws of ten-year old angst and that we were solidly, as parents, to blame.
I know Walter hinted to you that Jake was a charming challenge, all solveable by John Rosemond-educated, non-wavering, nerves-o-steele Mom and Dad. Oh, he's stronger than that, my friends! He is currently in a bit of warfare with us right now, and as it is my job to make his life miserable, I am actively lobbing missiles right back at him.
When he is not with me, which is the case right now for the next ten days, I get a very clear mental picture of how to raise my son. Emotionless, consistent discipline is the key, I know it is. But then real life throws in things like times of the month for Mom, Dad just wanting to watch the game dammit, and mandatory household staples running out like toilet paper, milk, and bourbon. Real world has bills that you didn't expect, or a small car accident, and yes, I admit it, all these things affect my parenting. I am not the coolest head on the planet, and while I won't bother you right now by listing all the thousands of positive attributes that come with that type of personality, I will admit that it fails to provide Jake with the kind of unflappable mother you admire on tv.
I also am willing to lay out my mothering skills (and lack thereofs) on the table. I am the idiot who will yell at her kid right smack out in front of anyone, so I'm sure people assume I lose it even worse in private. Not so. Although in private I probably am in a housedress and holding a martini/cigarette while doing so--kidding, kidding.
When I check with parents, Jake isn't doing anything so much better or worse than other children. And I don't want to paint the picture that he is not a ton of fun (which he is) or loving (very). Rather a lot of it is based on my expectations of him, which if you are anyone in any kind of relationship with me, you know can be quite high and demanding; ask say, my drycleaner. Either one day he will appreciate it, or you will find my lifeless body, petrified and attic bound, while he runs some cute but fatal bed and breakfast.
My resolve the next week before Jake's return is to recover from surgery and reprioritize what expectations I have of Jake, and not in that order. My problem as I look over the list is that it is difficult to put them in order as I want them all, of him and for him.