Ksenia Wagner - about how children are jealous of gadgets and what we should do about it.
Summer cottage, morning, two of my offspring are flitting around the room. Toys fly out of the box, heels turn white (somersaults), there is a division of objects necessary for playing, like a remote control. All around me, sitting regally in a chair. And on the phone. A design error, as one of my longtime Condensta bosses would say.
Working chats, Instagram, instant messengers - my informational breakfast, morning workout of the brain, creative five-minute.
Children, naturally, do not tolerate this competition. My son is trying to cut my hair, the middle daughter is slipping the designer under the dressing gown, the youngest I am trying to breastfeed in parallel.
“Children, I need ten minutes to do business. And then let's go for a walk. Okay?" - I ask busily.
"Okay!" - cheerful collegial agreement.
And a minute later - again a haircut, a designer, someone hit, Lego is in my panties, the youngest daughter starts to whimper, and I get irritated. The more noise - the more I need my creative five-minute, smoothly developing into an academic hour.
I retreat to the next room, but the detectives (they are hairdressers, they are doctors, they are builders) follow the trail. The game persists around me, and I slowly but surely smoke.
At some point, candy is brought from the kitchen, the son helps his daughter open it, but the prey falls on the sparkling parquet floor, without reaching the mouth.
And I explode. I jump off the couch and spit my displeasure right into my son in a loud and annoyed voice. Something ordinary, eternal, stupid - "Well, I asked! … why can't you give me ten minutes! … I told you! …" and so on. (I wrote here about how important it is to avoid conflicts with anyone).
The numb son looks at me for a second with eyes as clear as a forest lake.
This short but long moment is enough to turn my irritation into a feeling of guilt. It covers me up and down and hisses like peroxide on the market.
Late. An instant flew by - and behind it a cry, a roar and flight. Like a small animal frightened by a predator, my boy rushes into a hole - a toilet, an office, wherever he likes to lock himself in and sob.
A couple of years ago, I would have hit this scream like a closed door. I would rush between the desire to make peace and the fear of losing my "authority".
I might have left the situation "hanging" - which is really bad and shameful. And then mentally I would have burned myself at the stake, made myself drunk with poison, brought to the handle with self-flagellation.
But, fortunately, there are psychologists in this world. And even more fortunately, they write books and host a reception. They treat our mental ailments and teach us how not to cling to them again. They help to break the chain of unhappy generations, turning parenting "on autopilot" into the conscious management of the most complex mechanism of relationships with children.
I remember Petranovskaya: children “interfere” with their mother, not because they are harmful. And not because they are "egoists" who need everything "here and now." But because mom on the phone is NOT their mom. Mom does NOT pay attention to them. And this is the worst of all, it is darkness and chaos, chilling horror, the worst of evils. Mom is the main adult, protector and support, a vacuum of love and security. But when she is “on the phone”, it’s like she’s not here. As if he didn't love. The rope of affection, about which Petranovskaya writes so much, seems to be weakening, which means that it is necessary to pull for it now. To be sure, this is still the same mom, and she is still mine. Do you want a haircut? Look what a machine! Let me give you tea … React, mom, give feedback! I NEED to know that the phone is not more important than me.
I also remember something else: the age from 4 to 7 years (my son is 5) is the most "tender". It is at this age that children most often develop neuroses for life - and sometimes even one strong resentment is enough as a trigger. Because they are no longer small, but not yet at all grown-ups.
I remember all this and at the same time realize that it is so wonderful that my children want me. How natural and important it is, and how scary it is when it is ALREADY not so - when affection is broken, the rope is torn, the waterfall of love has dried up to the stream.
And I run after my boy, hug him, stroke the back, apologize and say how much I love him. And then I put him on his knees, stroke him again and explain that my work is important to me and I need to devote time to it, but it will never be more important than him. And my boy replies that he understood everything, and everything is fine, and when are we going for a walk, mom?
No, I am not advocating throwing iPhones into the abyss. And even more so to refuse work or other important matters for you. You just don't have to do them in front of children. This is not a virtuoso playing two instruments at the same time, it is the risk of being booed by your main spectator. When these hands are reaching for you, when these eyes are looking for you - do not hide behind the screen, do not disappear into another world. All the likes, layouts, audio files and other virtual life will wait when, in real life, the most familiar creatures need your laughter and your eyes.
PS: And don't tell yourself "from tomorrow - never again", we all know where this usually leads. Start by saying that "today is less than yesterday" and with a more conscious organization of your "gadget" life.
For example, I started by writing this text on my iPhone not in the morning, as I would have done before, but in the afternoon, when my two daughters are sleeping and my eldest son is watching a cartoon. And I really hope that you will remember these lines the next time someone very small and necessary wants to cut your hair. And I wrote about seven reasons not to hesitate with motherhood here.
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