Wednesday, December 4, 2013

some honest thoughts by a mother exhausted by the facebook charade.

so i was about to post some facebook status/instagram pic of the christmas tree we put up today and some sort of allusion to our perfect night watching christmas movies by the light of the tree.
but that wouldn't be fair.
because it would be lying.
today was one of the hardest days of my life.
sure, now i'm sitting in my jammies with a bottle of hard cider and some christmas carols playing, but mere hours ago i thought i was going to lose my mind.
and it's normal to feel that way sometimes.
but looking at facebook, it's all snuggles and educational activities and early bedtimes and homemade snacks and crafts and workouts in between.
we, as parents, put on a charade to the social media world that our parenting experience is bliss in a handbasket and it's not.
and we ALL are aware of that fact.
so can we all just be a little more honest with each other?
i'd be lying if i said i'd never sat crying on the living room couch because the word "poop" held endless possibilities and entertainment for a certain pair of preschoolers who were supposed to be asleep an hour before.
sometimes, our kids can drive us to the edge and all but push us off.
as my friend so perfectly put it: it's something as simple as bedtime, but your sanity hangs in the balance.
it's excruciating, because you can be so unbelievably upset and furious with them but at the same time they're your kids and you love them like nothing you've ever experienced before so you're trapped in this torturous middle region.
and as much as my insecure self wants to tell me that "oh it's just you" i know it's not.
i know every parent's days are filled with good and bad.
sometimes lots and lots of good.
sometimes lots and lots of bad.
so, in an effort to make some other moms and dads feel better about their own daily struggles,
here is what our day consisted of:
1. woke up to the joyous sound of children's laughter before my alarm went off, the boys were playing some version of "house" with their stuffed animals.
2. came out of the bedroom to realize that liam had eaten an entire plate of cookies the neighbor had dropped off.
3. meltdown ensued when i informed him that we could not have candy for breakfast.
4. finally ate breakfast, donovan starts crying because it's bathtime (we usually bathe at night, it's out of the routine, understandable).
5. two-five minutes of cooperative bathtime play, followed by screeching and stealing toys and the decision that bathtime is over. tantrums by both parties.
6. while washing a tearful donovan up, liam decides to retaliate for the shortened bathtime by pouring a plastic watering can full of bathwater on my leg. hand is given a swat, watering can is taken away, indignant tears follow.
7. get donovan dressed, proceed to attempt to get liam out of the bathtub. there is much feigning of weakened limbs and inability to be mobile.
8. everyone is dressed, playing nicely, until the announcement that it's time to put on jackets. as if by magic, liam has once again lost all of his motor skills.
9. with coats finally on, liam is lying facedown in the doorway. he's given a small push on his tush by the tip of my boot, and suddenly he awakens and will not stop screeching "you hit me! you hit me!" so the neighbors can gossip about the one on the second floor who beats her kids.
mommy. is. not. amused.
10. the boys are dropped at daycare (after missing the turn and having to backtrack), and upon arriving at school it comes to my attention that i don't have my books or binders. at least i made it. a half an hour late.
11. pick-up from day care. liam has had numerous time outs for hitting his friends and saying no to his teacher. donovan had to sit by himself at lunch because he wasn't listening.
12. get home, liam's peculiar extremity affliction returns and he's "unable" to transport himself inside. this results in his getting to lay in bed for twenty minutes to "regain his strength" while mommy and donovan rearrange furniture to make room for the tree.
13. bring christmas supplies up from basement. donovan won't stop throwing pillows around, injures liam by accident.
14. liam gets scissors and tries to open smaller tree box (brilliant ingenuity) but when finished tries to cut his own shirt and won't give mommy back the scissors. time out session: 
          "why are you in time out?"
          "NO!" walk away. wait. walk back.
          "are you ready to listen?
          "NO! i don't listen to mommy!" walk away. wait. walk back.
          "are you ready to listen now?"
          "i don't remember!!"
           "well let me know when you remember." walk away. wait. walk back.
           (this goes on for a good ten minutes)
we eventually had dinner, watched a christmas movie, and got to bed at a decent time. but even those things weren't without the occasional tantrum and time-out.
but if i had just posted the picture of us snuggling by the tree you'd get the idea that we were somehow blissfully happy with one another all day, and that wasn't even close to how it went down.
so if you see me post some touchy-feely snuggle picture:
yes, in that moment i was blissfully lost in the wonder that is my beautiful children.
but two minutes before that we probably had a catastrophic meltdown over sibling crayon distribution.
it happens.
and you're not alone.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

reasons 3 & 4.

there has been so much going on in our lives lately that i haven't been on top of my blog. so much so that it's rather embarrassing to call it a "blog." i feel like that implies that there's some sort of upkeep, when in reality barely have two seconds to shake a stick at let alone sit down and be witty.

reasons why i'm busy:
1. full-time school.
2. full-time job.
3. a three year old.
4. a four year old.

numbers 3 & 4 come with a considerable amount of clean-up attached.
last week we had birdseed spill all over our floor (someone found a wayward craft project), and due to impeccable timing and the imminent departure for daycare/work it was not cleaned up until about two days later. every time i walk past the kitchen table there's the crunch of a dropped cheerio now found by the sole of my shoe.
also, i should be doing our dishes right now.
(please relay to me your sympathies for a moment as i do NOT a have a dishwasher).

alas, i'm not doing the dishes.
no, i'm going to tell you about liam and his little potty-mouth.
we had this conversation earlier this month:
liam: pillow is stupid.
mommy: liam "stupid" is not a nice word, we don't say that word.
liam: stupid, stupid, stupid!
donovan: liam, when we say that word it hurts Jesus's feelings.

i didn't really have much to follow up with after that, donovan kind of rocked that one.
speaking of donovan and grasping the whole "Jesus/God" concept, we were sitting in the bathroom (because let's recall that there is no such thing as privacy/solo bathroom time when you have small children) and this happened:
donovan: mommy, was i made?
mommy: what do you mean, sweet-pea?
(yes, i have taken to calling him that too feminine???)
donovan: i was made.
mommy: yes, do you know who made you?
donovan: God did!!

it was beautiful i cried a little bit.

then we're walking inside from the car just a few days ago and van says to me, "mommy, can God hear us even when we're inside??" and continued to giggle and smile and get so excited when i told him that God can hear him anywhere and he can ask him for help whenever he needs it. he thought it was pretty dang cool.

not to do a total one-eighty, but remember liam the potty-mouth? well luckily we don't have much trouble with him repeating things more than once. it's more of a "can i get away with this?" then "nope guess not" and he never says it again.
one of the biggest problems is i have trouble keeping a straight face when things come out of his mouth.
for example, we were sitting at the kitchen table coloring the other day, and.....
van: i'm going to use the red crayon for his wheels.
liam: you're shitting me donovan. you're shitting somebody.
(are you kidding me!!?!? i immediately let out a snort)
mommy: liam! that is not a nice thing to say. those are mean words.
donovan: what words mommy?
mommy: um, er...the ones liam, just, er, nevermind donovan keep coloring. liam!
liam: what mommy?
mommy: we do not say those words, liam.

i haven't heard anything out of him since. it's like he tries it out, it backfires, and he moves on. then he's back to being the little boy who tucks in his stuffed animals at night and likes to hold onto your arm when he sleeps and will follow you anywhere if you're holding his hand.

it's so beautiful and amazing and scary and wonderful and terrifying to watch them grow. 

it's such an incredible miracle when i sit and think: i grew you inside my tummy!! how freaking incredible is that?? you used to be a single cell inside of me and now you're writing your name and coloring inside the lines and counting to thirty.

how could something so incredible be anything other than a gift from God?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

so this is bedtime, and what have we done?

tonight has possibly been the most atrocious night as far as bedtime goes in the history of the world as we know it. 
maybe it's just because i'm hungry and therefore more irritable.
we arrive home late because mommy has class until 9:30 and can't pick up the boys until after then.
so we're home around ten.
plan for arrival home is as follows: brush teeth and go to bed.
so unbelievably simple a four year old could do it.
oh wait, no he can't. 
neither can his two and a half year old brother.
the past hour went as follows:
(liam is in italics. van is in bold. mommy is regular)

i can't brush my teeth unless i'm standing on the toilet seat.
liam is on the toilet seat, use the step-stool.
but i can't use the step-stool it's too cold.
it is not.
mommy i want cars toothpaste.
yes it is!
yes liam i'll get you your toothpaste please move your arms out of the sink so your jammies don't get wet.
fine donovan mommy will brush your teeth for you. stand up.
i caaaaaan't.
i brush my teeth mommy! cheeeeese!
van stand up right now. one...two...

[all are in is done...oh wait, no. no it's not.]

mommy i need to go potty.
me too mommy i need to go potty.
you just went at grandma's before we came home.
but i neeeeeed to.
okay van you go first.
liam won't leave the bathroom.
but i need to go potty!
liam you will go after donovan get out of the bathroom.
van are you all done?
okay get back in bed.
but i need liam.
you do not he will be right there.
mommy i need your help.
yes i know liam i'll be right there. donovan get in bed.
i can't.
yes you can.
my covers are in the way.
move them.
but i caaaan't.
well you should probably try a little bit harder. i know you can.
mommy i need to go potty.
yes liam let's go in the bathroom.
but i need you to help me get in bed!
i need you to get in bed by yourself, donovan, mommy is helping liam go potty.
okay liam go potty.
you go potty.
no liam mommy doesn't need to go potty, you do. 
you go potty.
liam stop touching that and just go potty.
eeehheeeehhheh you go potty.
focus, liam. think about potty.
mommmmmmyyyyy i can't do it.
you go potty.
just go potty so we can get your jammies back on.
van, you know how to get in bed.
they're too heavy!
you move them by yourself all of the time, you can do this.
toilet paper!
no liam don't touch that.
spin, spin, spin.
liam i said don't touch that. just go potty.
i go potty!
mommy liam is playing.
thank you donovan i'll deal with it stop tattling on your brother.
moooommmyyyy why are you not dealing with it??

so on and so forth. 
liam is still talking to himself in his bed and van is telling him to shush but we've made it to bed at least and mommy is on the couch and has a bag of chips and some bacon cheddar ranch dip from trader joe's and an episode of revenge that's just asking to be watched.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

the shoe debacle.

why yes, oh-so-helpful-and-friendly target employee, my son is running around your store barefoot.
yes, i am aware that this is a public facility.
no, we do not belong to any sort of elitist group that prohibits the wearing of shoes to better unite ourselves with mother earth.
and yes, that's right, the floor is probably hideously dirty not to mention the possible sharp object looming nearby.
no, no, he has plenty of pairs of shoes at home--in fact, one of those perfectly functional pairs made the trip with us today.
where are they?
oh, silly goose, they're in the car, of course!
well, it's this little thing i like to call picking your battles.
before engaging in combat, one must first assess the value of such an operation. 
i like to ask myself a series of questions, as in the case of the shoe debacle:
one: will the absence of shoes put my child in danger? (see sub-questions)
       a. will we be hiking in a pine-needly forest?
       b. will we be walking on hot coals or some such toasty surface?
       c. is the presence of broken glass, splintery objects, etc a likelihood?
                i. if situation arises, ability to carry child until clear of danger?
       d. will we be entering any areas prone to infectious diseases on their floors?
two: is my child going to be receiving a bath that evening?
three: will my child suddenly become power-hungry and view this victory as fuel for an overthrow in the future?
four: do i have a massive headache from all of the previous battles heretofore engaged in so far today?

this inter-cranial checklist can be performed in a remarkably speedy fashion once you've practiced it several times in the field.
when i've answered these questions (no, yes, no-but check toy box for possible takeover plans just in case, and jesusmaryandjoseph yes)
the consensus is "fine, but if your feet hurt, i told you so."
there are many ways in which this question and answer system can work for you in a potential battle situation. for example:
matching clothes
sleeping with hordes of stuffed animals.
matching shoes.
really anything to do with matching.
using the blue crayon vs. red even though the directions say RED crayon (please see next field instruction manual on "what to do when you're an ocd mommy").

i hope that installment of the question and answer system can aid you in your parenting success.
or at least help keep you sane.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

the act of dishevelry.

Our library has a fantastic program for summer mornings: toddler and preschool storytime.
Every Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 to 11:00 you can take your kids for an educational and interactive book-reading.
Sounds like possibly one of the easiest ways to look like a great parent, no?
All you have to do is show up and someone else reads to your kids!
(Please note I do, in fact, read to my children on a regular basis, but when you take them somewhere else to do it in a public setting your parenting prowess just seems to jump a level).
I was extremely jazzed when I learned of this weekly activity and during the next week was patting myself on the back for my genius at finding it and how unbelievably more accomplished I'd be as a parent for involving my children in such an activity.
Remember how I said it seemed easy?
When Wednesday morning finally rolled around my expectations pretty much buried their heads in the sand and waited for death.
Not only is it monumentally frustrating trying to get your two toddlers out the door by 10:05 to make it to storytime before all of the good seats are taken, it is even more difficult to also put yourself together at the same time.
Why not just get up earlier and give yourself some extra time, you ask?
Because I am not, nor will I ever be, a morning person.
I can get up at 6 or 7, sure, but can I get anywhere with that extra time?
To all of you morning people out there, I salute you
Getting anywhere before noon is a giant accomplishment for me still-- three and a half years into this whole "mom" thing.
You'd think I'd get it together at some point.
It comes as no surprise, then, that I dashed out the door at 10:20 still in my pajama pants (thankfully also considered "lounge" pants).
I luckily had the foresight to throw a bra on underneath my shirt (although how much it mattered I'm not sure, the shirt had a large poop-looking stain on the front--chocolate, I tell you!--and I doubt after that if anyone would notice the bralessness).
This same careful consideration was applied to my hair and thus after determining that the third day in a row without showering (other moms of toddlers will hopefully understand this) was a hat day I threw the greasy locks under some Cubbies gear and considered it mission accomplished.
You know how you've got that fancy diaper bag that you're supposed to fill in an organized fashion because you got one with twenty-three different product-specific compartments in that super-cute pattern that you'll never get tired of?
Well I got tired of it.
All of it.
So on this morning I tossed a few diapers into my purse (along with a tube of concealer to dab under my eyes to conceal yesterday's mascara that had migrated and the occassional blemish), and headed out the door.
Upon our (late) arrival, it became painstakingly obvious that I was, in fact, pitifully under-dressed and under-prepared for this social function.
We squeezed between Mommy A with her designer jeans, professionally-dyed hair, and precisely applied make-up and Mommy B clad in her Puma tracksuit, sleek pony-tail and ridiculously complicated sneakers (I would question whether she actually worked out or not but her sculpted figure suggested he did in fact put in some time).
My lounge pants felt more and more like poorly disguised pajama pants by the second.
As if total humiliation as a female wasn't enough, Mommy A's children (with gelled hair and polos and khakis--are you kidding me??) came over and requested a snack, and parental humiliation ensued.
Not only did she have the fancy diaper bag, she also had pre-apportioned snacks in neat little tupperware containers at the ready to hand out to her children's waiting hands.
I tried to shoot her a look that said "I-don't-approve-of-snacks-during-storytime" but I'm fairly certain it still came off as "damn-I-wish-I'd-brought-some-of-those."
Thank goodness storytime is only a half an hour because any longer in that self-esteem trap and I think there would have been irreparable damage done.

Needless to say, we haven't ventured too many times back to story-time.
And when we do, I make sure that I at least put on my good pair of pajama pants.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

the magic box and boundary shortcomings.

There is one thing that I find absolutely mystifying.
Well, there are lots of things actually.
You know how your kids just can't leave you alone when you go into the bathroom?
What is that all about??
It's like they think the bathroom is this magical box filled with wonder and possibility.
"What are you doing mommy?"
Well, son, there are a limited number of answers for that question and I'd like you to use your savvy powers of deduction to figure that one out.
Here's a quick and easy guide:
Am I on the toilet? Possibilities: Going to the bathroom.
Am I holding a toothbrush? Possibilities: Brushing my teeth.
Am I naked? Possibilities: Showering. Or having a naked dance party.
I don't understand how I could be in a room with them for hours on end and they hardly pay any attention to me, but the second they hear the door close to the bathroom they feel the immediate need to investigate.
"Mommy went to the bathroom! We better go make sure she didn't disappear into a portal to another realm!"
Sometimes Donovan likes to lecture me on who in the family goes potty sitting down and who stands up (i.e. "Daddy goes potty standing up, Liam goes potty in his diaper, Mommy you go potty sitting down because you're a girl, Pa-Pa goes potty standing up, I go potty standing up because I'm a big boy" so on and so forth).
Come to think of it Donovan likes to lecture me on quite a few things.
Why he's playing with the red car instead of the blue car.
Who is the biggest tooter in the family.
His pooping experience.
Liam's recent intestinal activity.
A lot of his interests revolve around bodily functions.
Back to the bathroom thing.
People wonder why I so lack that boundary that dictates appropriate/inappropriate exposure/topics among friends and it relates directly back to the level of privacy I receive at home.
I recently read a blog that talked about how many things she did naked as a mom.
It couldn't have been more true.
The phrase "Hold on please mommy needs to get some clothes on" rarely works on toddlers. 
Although Van is at the age where he responds "Oh, you need to get dressed? 'Cause you're naked?"
Plus, the fight to get them to hold their horses is usually longer than it would take for you to just grab the car from under the refrigerator or save a stuffed animal from behind the bed or settle a quarrel among brothers. 
My children aren't the only ones who strip me of my privacy.
Our cats also frequently join me in the bathroom to sit on the counter while I'm sitting on the toilet and just purr and rub their head back and forth in my face.
Like I sat down specifically to allow for an optimal cuddling experience.
I'm sure many more moms can relate to this: I don't even shut the door anymore. 
The gesture is entirely futile.
It will be opened in a matter of minutes by either child inquiring after the efficiency of my bladder.
(i.e. "You almost done going potty mommy?")

I should probably bite my tongue.
In a few years I'm going to be writing a tearful post about how my children can only think to go "ewww" when they come across mommy in anything other than full body armor.

Motherhood is such a teeter-totter.

Friday, March 9, 2012

thank you for your judgment.

You know what just makes me furious??
When my kid runs in front of your cart at the store and instead of saying "Whoops!" and smiling sweetly down at my perfect son (silently thanking your lucky stars you didn't possibly maim this beautiful, innocent, playful child), you give an exasperated roll of your eyes and completely ignore us while maneuvering your cart to child-free territory.
You know what makes me even more furious???
When you've got your own teenage kids walking with you.
When you've clearly had to raise children yourself.
When, after about ten years toddler free, you decided to adopt a "holier-than-thou" attitude towards mothers of today with small children.
Oh, I'm sorry, did you never have to go to the store with them when they were little? Were you so organized and on-top-of-it to have a perfectly arranged lifestyle in which there was always someone to watch your children so you could go peruse the aisles of the glory that is Target all by yourself? You must be one lucky lady to have been so blessed during your lifetime that you never had to corral rambunctious toddlers/preschoolers through aisle after aisle of grab-able, brightly colored, tot-sized objects repeating the words "no" and "don't touch that" and "put it back" so many times you feel like a robot instead of a person.
And don't even give me that "there's-a-seat-in-the-cart-for-a-reason" look, lady, because believe me, I've tried that seat and if we were still using that method you'd be giving me the "your-child-is-screaming-and-disrupting-my-shopping-environment" look instead.
It's true, I never wanted to be that mom.
I never wanted to be the one running from aisle to aisle trying to find the missing toddler only to discover him playing fortress behind the stacks of toilet paper.
I always thought "How come these moms can't keep it together?"
So as a woman with a history of snobbish attitudes towards disheveled moms prior to my own initiation into the wonderful world of parenting I could understand how people who have never had children or don't have children yet could give me a disapproving glance.
What I find, however, is that most often I get these looks from other mothers.
Why do we always think we've got the market cornered on successful parenting?
Why are we so rude to each other sometimes?
Of all people we should be besties, not judgmental meanies.
Come on, people.
Spread the love.
Or something.