Now that the kids are older and I sleep well most nights, my biggest parenting challenge is boundaries. The challenge is that I feel like I should have them and the small people refuse to acknowledge such a thing could exist.
For the record, I’m not talking about social or psychological boundaries. Those I’ve long given up. This boundary is a physical one and is, conveniently, exactly the size and shape of my desk.
I really don’t ask for much. Really. All I want is for my office supplies, which are all that keep this particular family from chaos, to remain where I put them.
Take pens and pencils. If you added up all of the minutes I’ve spent looking for something to write with versus actually writing with said something, the numbers would be nearly the same.
Every couple of weeks, usually after I’ve been on the phone and needed to write some crucial piece of information down, I’ll go through the house and collect all of my pens that have wandered off. I’ll get the pencils, too, and sharpen them. Half of the implements go in the pencil cup downstairs the kids can reach; the rest go in the cup on my desk.
Not 24 hours later, I’ll reach for a pen only to find nothing but undesirable and dull pencil nubs on my desk. Usually, their erasers have been chewed off, too, just to add insult to injury.
That’s not on the kids, though. Or, at least, it isn’t anymore, because the Boy as a toddler used to take great joy in eating pencil erasers. Now it’s the dog’s fault.
(And in the interest of honesty, there is another pen thief in the house who is not a kid or a dog. But I have no desire to be a single parent and will resist the urge to point any fingers.)