Those of us who have parented toddlers and preschoolers are familiar with the concept from the Ames & Ilg books of equilibrium and disequilibrium. Basically, Ames & Ilg observed that kids tend to cycle in 6-month waves between equilibrium--which they describe as fluency of motion, consistency of mood, ability to learn easily and acquire new skills rapidly--and disequilibrium--which they describe as awkwardness of motion and stuttering in speech and skill acquisition.

Learning that concept explained a whole lot to me about my first child, and has helped me as my second child cycles through. But I'm beginning to think it applies to adults, too. Or at least me.

I feel like I'm in a stage of disequilibrium right now. I'm forgetful* and receptively but not expressively empathic and awkward (bruises all over my legs, sprained foot/ankle, crunched shoulders/neck from sleeping strangely) and just kind of needy and cranky.

And it hit me that maybe that's why I'm feeling so much tension between my younger son and me right now--we're both in periods of disequilibrium. So I don't have the grace and sure footing right now to just let his rawness be his and not take it onto myself.

I know, and you know, and we've all known forever, that when you don't have enough resources (sleep, mostly, but also support and love) you aren't able to parent your kids as well as you'd like. But I think this is more than this. It's not about scarcity of resources for me--it's just that I'm clumsy right now. And my little one is clumsy, too. And we're bumping into each other, and leaving scrapes and bruises.

Thoughts? Do you think you still go through the equilibrium/disequilibrium cycle? If so, how does it affect your parenting?

* I had a whole post about how the cleaners came last Saturday and how terrified of that I was. Which you'll get later this week. But then yesterday while dropping my older one at school I realized that my younger one didn't have school and *I'd completely forgotten* and I ended up bringing him to work with me. Yeesh.