I have to be completely honest here. Today wasn’t a great day. It wasn’t a horrible day either. I just felt irritated all day and there was no getting out of it. It didn’t start out that way, but the aggravation kept building much like my son’s LEGO toys. Why, you ask? My children have But-I Syndrome. Never heard of it? Allow me to explain. But-I Syndrome is a pediatric condition where the child responds to any and all parental request with the words “but I...” and is occasionally accompanied with stomping, hair pulling, jaw and fist clenching, and slamming doors, . It is contagious among siblings, leads to exhaustion of parents, all of which often seems incurable. My daughter had a bad case of the dreaded disorder today.
My daughter had a play date today. I was reminded of this the second I got up this morning because my daughter was already in her bathing suit, ready for the friend’s inflatable water slide. She began preparing her backpack with what she felt was necessary for this get together. Unfortunately, she packs like my husband (See Day 14 Packing a Smile) and we disagreed upon what was needed. I don’t feel that she should bring more than a change of clothes, towel, sunblock and water bottle. I explained this to her as she was trying to cram in fancy dress-up clothes, stuffed animals, a crown, sunglasses, toy glasses, dress-up shoes, and jewelry. “But I need to bring them!!” she says to me. My poor floors, I feel badly that they get stomped on like they do, but they’ve got it easy compared to the door jams. I packed the bag with what I felt was appropriate and added sunglasses, crown and one stuffed animal as a compromise after she came to her senses (threats of missing play dates can bring about a miraculous change in the condition) and realized that the more she brought, the more she was likely to accidentally leave behind.
When it was time to pick up my ill child from the play date, I knew that her affliction would rear its ugly head again. “But I don’t want to go yet! I was having fun!!” My lovely daughter left the play date with a furrowed brow, another symptom of the sickness, with everything except the stuffed animal that was misplaced somewhere.
At the store, we had another terrible episode of But-I Syndrome. I know, I should have put the ailing child on bed rest, but the shopping had to be done. As soon as we get inside, it all begins. My daughter is pushing my son aside so she can be in front of him. He starts telling on her. I ask her to stop shoving him to be next in line. “But I don’t want to be last!!” This is when my son began showing that he had caught this heinous disease. “But I don’t want to be pushed!” he says. At this point, I’ve made it clear that there is no shoving, bickering or arguing and we will walk side by side instead of in a line. That’s right, we’ll take up the entire aisle if we have to, but no shoving to be next in line or you’ll lose reward points! Well, that led to more bickering some how. “But I am trying to walk like you said and now he’s trying to get me in trouble by making me get in front of him!” Bed rest, there needs to be bed rest. For me or her? At that point, I wasn't sure which yet.
That is just a sample of the day in the life of parent caring for a child with But-I Syndrome. The disorder spread through out both children and progressively worsened through out the day. Earlier, I mentioned that the symptoms often seems incurable. For the most part, that does seem to be the case. On this particular evening, I was able to find relief. I was grateful to have my husband. He swooped him, gave the kids a chore, read them books and got them all set for bed. I never even had to ask for help. He knew my jump-rope (See Day 11 Short Ropes) was nearing its plastic handled end. I smiled when I heard him reading and counting with my daughter. I beamed when my girl counted the apples in the book and didn’t skip the number 15 for the first time! I loved seeing my son reading with my husband and actually smiling his way to sleep. While more research is needed, it would seem like a cure for But-I Syndrome lies within reach. Parental team work will be needed and along with rest and relaxation. Soon after, smiles with follow, much like tonight.