On nearly a daily basis, when it comes to talking about our kids, Stan will say something to the effect of "Well, they didn't say that to me." And on those days I have to remind him that the kids talk to him much differently than they talk to me.
Stan is a doer...he is the one who imposes limits, sets expectations and makes them do. He doesn't get the feeling side of a story very often, not even from Claire. Sometimes I am not sure he grasps the feeling side of things at all. Sorry to throw you under the bus, Love, but this story is just too good...
Yesterday, for example, Stan walked into the house from the garage. Claire was sitting at the counter in the kitchen working on her homework on the computer. She gave him a bit of a huffy "hello" and went back to working on her homework. Stan said "Hey Claire, what's up?" She responded with "I'm in a bad mood." I shot the warning look to Stan, which I guess he interpreted as a challenge, and he proceeded to pick up the glass clackers (you know the ones I'm talking about ~ I think we all had them when we were kids. There were two glass balls joined together by a string, with a ring at the top and you could clack them together over and over and over again to drive your parents to complete and utter distraction) and he started clacking the balls together making the annoying clack, clack, clack, clack noise. Another warning look passed from me to him and then it happened ~ the waterworks started and Claire began to cry from frustration and anger. Frustration because she said she was in a bad mood and anger because Stan didn't respect her mood. He decided it would be a good idea to goad the dragon. I left him there to clean up the mess that he created ~ after all, he's the doer. He pissed her off, it was up to him to do something to make it right.
I am the "feeler"...the one who gets the feelings side of a story. I'm the one who can pull out of them what they makes them tick. I am the one who sees the excitement, the sadness, the frustration because I can feel it. It's tangible to me. I don't know if it's a "mom" thing or if it's a "me" thing but I've got the feelings covered. I knew to leave Claire alone yesterday. I felt it. Anger was radiating off of her. I knew enough to let her stew and work it out. And she did, eventually (and after she calmed down from Stan pissing her off). I'm the one who gets the low down on what's really going on upstairs, in the kids messy heads. I get to take a little walk inside their brains every now and again. I hear what they're thinking about sports, school, girls (no boys yet ~ thank heavens!) and where they want to go in life. I hear when Lucas is upset because he can't quite grasp something and he feels stupid. I hear when Claire is so conflicted about which school she should choose. I hear the quiet anguish in Zach's voice as he tries to come to grips with what he wants moving forward with sports. I feel it all so I can pull it out.
I don't know if this irritates Stan to the point he thinks I am making it up or if his manner is just so black and white, with very little gray, that he can't see what it is I feel. Or maybe he'd just rather push, impose limits and make them do! Personally, I like the feelings side of things.
Actually, I kind of like how Stan and I work together with him being the doer and me being the feeler. I think it works well for the kids to know they can turn to one or the other and find what they need ~ black and white limits with a side of "get it done" or a set of arms waiting to listen and feel what it is the kids don't quite know how to speak.
Oh, for the love of my children...