This morning I decided to make the girls pancakes for breakfast. I never make pancakes on a school morning. But today the girls had dentist appointments, and I had an hour of "free time" with them before we set out for the day. Normally, I wake up at the last possible minute and focus hard on getting myself out the door while DH makes sure the girls are ready to go and fed before we all jump in the car and head to school. It is one of those things that, since my ADHD diagnosis, has become less of an issue in our marriage and more of an understanding of how, as partners, DH and I yin/yang our way through our days, seemingly opposite but in reality an indivisible whole. We work to smooth our each others' bumps. It really is a beautiful thing, what children have done to our marriage. ASD and ADHD have been blessings for us. We understand each other a lot better, and the understanding has made our marriage stronger. We embrace our differences. We embrace our childrens' differences. And sometimes we just laugh, because what else can you do?
So anyway, DH had left to catch the bus for work by the time I dragged myself out of bed and I was on my own. I set out to make pancakes, feeling very spiffy and special, thinking the girls would recognize this anomaly. Only Anna has been waking up in a snit this week, miffed that her weekends are "too short". My pancake breakfast was met with a snippy attitude, to which I took offense. Seriously? I asked as I looked at her. Can I have a "thank you for breakfast, Mom"? Okay, Anna groaned. I raised my eyebrows and threw up my hands, spatula waving in the air. You know, I could just throw dry cereal at you, I said. No, No, Megan cried out. These pancakes are delicious! Harumph, I thought. We'll see when I make pancakes for breakfast again. Really, what is not to love about chocolate chip pancakes on a school morning?
We went through the day, the girls at school after getting their teeth cleaned and me grocery shopping before a long stretch of busy days. Feeling inspired, I bought sole for tonight's dinner. It cooks fast, and the girls like it, and we don't have it often, and it's not leftovers or a crock pot meal. I thought it would be special. I started dinner late after a long day - sole and potato hash and greens. Anna was snippy again. After a special breakfast and a nice dinner, I was a little upset. Anna, I said, I try hard to show you I love you with the meals I make for you. I put time into this dinner, and if your attitude does not improve, I'm not going to want to make nice meals for you. You can make meals for yourself. I'm so unhappy that you can have Daddy's spicy chickpeas (which she does not like) tomorrow for dinner, because I don't want to cook! Anna ran from the room crying. Oh no, you don't! I cried. I made this dinner, and if you don't want to go to bed right now, you'll come back here and eat it! I was emotional, but I thought, what the heck. Maybe it's good for her to see that her mom is a person with feelings too. She's not the only one who can emote around here. Anna came back and ate dinner, sniffling and not looking at me, but she cleaned her plate. Megan, on the other hand, bent over backwards to tell me how wonderful and delicious dinner was. Smart girl.
A full meal on an empty tummy must have mollified Anna a bit, because she was talkative as I tucked her in for the night. I explained to her why I was cranky over dinner tonight. She turned her blue eyes on me and kept them there, face open and honest, and told me that maybe she was cranky with me because of her history class today. I was upset in history, she said, because it was hard. And I was cranky with you, because of history. I smiled. I thought it was very self-aware, and advanced, for her to recognize a transferal of her feelings, and then admit it. Sometimes history is hard, and that's okay, I admitted. But if something makes you cranky, sometimes the best thing you can do is make someone else smile, and that makes the crankies go away. She was very interested by this. Like, if you had told me thank you for dinner and that it was good, it would have made me happy, and I would have smiled and said thank you. And she looked at me and said Mom, when you smile at me, it's like warm sunshine reaching me from far away. Now I was mollified. I smiled and said Anna, you just made my day. The crankies went away. And I feel like making pancakes again.