Warm Swarms

I drove for twenty minutes two days ago with my body leaning stiffly sideways to avoid the normally harmless boxelder bug that now threatened to kill us all if it happened to take flight from the inside of our car windshield in the direction of my face causing me to swerve off the road.

I tend to overreact, especially to bugs. They're so unpredictable and dumb, I just know they are going to end up in my mouth or stuck in my hair or touching me in some way, and I can't take it. My friend once had a moth get stuck in her ear canal at girl's camp and I can't really say more because it gives me a stomach ache to think about it. And my cousin with the stuffy nose?! I can't... When he did a sinus rinse, out popped a spider curled up in a ball. Upon hitting the sink, it uncurled itself to run away!

The problem with bugs is that they have no boundaries. Birds fly away when you approach them, bugs fly into your body to keep warm.

They're just like kids. Even as I type this, Griffin is sitting on my head. aiojw49jae;'fk afj;owi awfo;ej;oiaj He's off now. If kids were any smaller, like small enough to fit in an ear canal, It'd really freak me out, because I have no doubt I would find my kids there. They already feel the need to tell stories directly to my ear drum and show pictures directly to my retina.

And, like bugs, kids are unpredictable. I've seen enough America's Funniest Home Videos to know to tell my husband to run when I see a kid with a baseball bat.

Unlike bugs, I can set boundaries with kids, but it's hard because, also unlike bugs, I love my kids and want them to feel comfortable coming to me with anything. My fear of discouraging them from approaching me with their problems, though, has caused a fair few problems.

See, I forgot kids are like bugs, not birds. They'll burrow. They'll sneak food. They'll relentlessly fly at your face and buzz in your ear, and when you swat them away, they'll land on your shoulder.

Kids are born to test limits. The majority of their childhood is spent determining how far is too far. For a while I thought I was communicating limits clearly. For example, when Griffin caught a spider and placed it on my knee, I screamed bloody murder. Naturally, I thought this communicated that that was an undesirable action on his part, but not a week later, he placed a grasshopper on my knee. I had to clearly communicate to him that inciting a heart attack in his mother was not in his best interest and that that meant bugs stayed outside.

Setting boundaries with my kids is not a strength of mine. I realized this recently when my husband handed Griffin a popsicle and Griffin said, "This better taste good, or I'm going to freak out." I laughed and then spent a week and a half rethinking my life and the effect my impatience might be having on my children and then resolved to do better by setting boundaries that would keep me from "freaking out".

I anticipate enforcing boundaries will be a real challenge for me, too, considering I find an awful lot of crumbs under my couch cushions for someone who set a, "food only in the kitchen rule" long ago. But, I'm trying to stay positive. My first undertaking will be to keep my kids out of my bedroom in hopes that I will spend less time escaping in hysteria to a closet with a slice of pie and more time escaping in hysteria to my bedroom with a slice of pie.

It's taken me too long to realize that boundaries are necessary to everyone's well-being. After all, reasonable rules seem to communicate, "I love you" to children better than, "Why on earth would you think it's okay to eat Cheez-its in my bed!" ever will.


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