Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Just Want Them To Be Happy.

I would like to think that I will be able to handle anything my children want to do, be, or believe.  (I am using the Oxford comma intentionally.  Suck it.)  If they want mohawks and nose-rings, fine.  Hair grows back and most holes close.  If they want to wear Letterman jackets and do chest bumps, fine.  I can attend umpteen million varsity games and pretend not to be annoyed by the cheerleaders.  If they want to be cheerleaders, fine.  I can pretend to not be annoyed by them and will learn to love the weird head bob.  Currently, the only thing I can think of that would piss me off- so of course this is what will happen- is if they come home asking to tote guns everywhere while screaming slurs and tattooing swastikas on their sweet little bodies.  That is going too far.

I think about all the things that my husband and friends and I were discouraged from.  All the things our parents sneered at and judged.  All the ways in which we felt inferior and less than.  I fear that we will do the same to our babies, despite our best intentions.  I don't ever want my boys to feel like they have to "man up" or be better than a 4.0.  I don't want them to try to fit some mold that wasn't built for them.  I want them to be happy.  To appreciate the gifts they have and to enjoy the things they love.  But I know I will push them.  I know that, out of fear, I will probably drive them to be sensible and to do the things that will provide back-up if their dreams aren't fulfilled.  What if they love to sing, but can't carry a tune?  What if they yearn to play baseball, but can't throw past first base?  What if they want to be an aerospace engineer, but aren't great at math?  Then what?  Do I tell them they can do whatever they want to do, or do I try to reason with them and tell them that, although they have a deep love for acting, the fact that they are unwilling to do so in front of an audience will likely hold them back?

I really do want them to be happy.  I want them to know that they are capable of so much and that I believe in them.  I want them to have faith in my faith in them.  But I know they won't.  I know that at some point I'll do something to break their little spirits... and that kills me.  I just hope that before that happens, I can convince them that it's okay if they want to dress like David Bowie or Prince.  That I honestly don't care if they have boyfriends or girlfriends.  That if they want to go to church, or never to go church, it's fine.  That they CAN be break-dancing, fire-fighting, ukulele-playing, geniuses if they really want to be.  And that I will love them and support them no matter what.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mother of the Year

So, what did you do today?  Oh, nothing much.  Just locked my baby in the car.

I'm sorry, what?  What was that?  Did you just say you locked your baby- as in a teeny, tiny helpless human- in the car?  Yep.  Yep, I did.  I locked my baby in the car today... and not on purpose either.  That's right kids, MOTHER OF THE YEAR, RIGHT HERE.

Technically speaking, my toddler locked my baby in the car today, but it was my fault for leaving a feral toddler in the vicinity of a button and a door and for doing so without first pocketing my keys.  Ironically, my toddler was "helping."  You know how helpful toddlers can be.  Eh em.  I jacked up my hand a week ago (see previous post) and my toddler has started to shut doors for me.  To help.  He also really likes to press buttons and has ninja-like speed, so he somehow pressed the button that locks all the doors without me noticing or hearing.  Whether or not he intended to lock his little brother in the car... well, that's actually pretty likely, but I'm not sure he's that premeditated yet.

So once I realized my keys- and my baby- were locked in the car and I had no way to get them out, I entered panic mode. I ran over like a crazy person to the first person I saw in the garage with me- a freakishly kind man who was working on the garage door- and asked him if he knew how to get into a locked car because "OH MY GOD MY BABY IS LOCKED IN MY CAR."  Now, if that's not the way to immediately gain respect for your mothering skills, I just don't know what is.  He looked at me all astounded and, let's be honest, a little freaked out and said, "Um... I'm just working on the garage door.  I don't know how to break into a car."  You incompetent, idiot mother.  Then a neighbor from my building came in the garage and saw me quivering with panic and helplessness.  He asked what was going on and again I had to say, "My baby is locked in my car."  With the keys.  And my phone.  And pretty much anything else that might prove helpful at this particular juncture.  Aren't you impressed with me right now?

He also gave me a startled and slightly horrified look (because seriously, what kind of mother am I?!?!) and then asked if I'd tried to slim jim the car yet.  I said no, but when my husband tried that, he left giant dents all over the driver's side door, so I was guessing that wasn't going to work.  The garage door man asked if I had someone I could call.  I said I could call my husband, but he was in class and probably didn't have his phone on.  My neighbor handed me his phone and I tried calling him.  I was correct- no answer.  Then I said I could try to call my insurance company to send out a tow truck, but I didn't have my phone or my insurance card with the number.  Garage Door Man called his company and had them look up the number for my insurance company.  Then he lent me his phone to call.  (Did I mention these people were really, really kind?)  My neighbor ran to get tools and I began to officially Lose. My. Shit.  I started crying while calling the insurance company.  They said they would dispatch someone right away, but it would take 20-30 minutes for them to get to me.  That seemed like an awfully long time to just stand around while my BABY WAS LOCKED IN THE CAR.  Jesus Christ.  I looked at my neighbor and Garage Door Man.  "Is that too long?  What do I do?"  They suggested I call the police.  So I did.  And I cried again like a big ol' baby while telling yet another person that my baby was locked in my car and I could do nothing at all to help him.  They told me that they could send a police officer, but that they would be able to do nothing for me but hang out with me until the tow truck got there.  Or they could break the window.  Seriously?  No other options?  Sure, send someone out to look at me like a dumbass while I wait for someone else to come and look at me look a dumbass (but at least the latter would be freeing my baby while judging me).

So then another neighbor entered the garage and saw me crying next to Garage Door Man while the first neighbor was trying to break into to my car.  Naturally, he was curious.  So asked what was going on.  And for the fifth time I got to say it.  Baby.  Car.  Locked.  Bad Mother.

Perhaps it was just the fear in my face or the giant tears rolling down my cheeks while my thoroughly confused (but suddenly beautifully behaved) toddler gawked at me, but the second neighbor also offered help.  He went outside to wait for the police and/or tow truck while I stood next to my locked car with the first neighbor trying to break in to free my baby.  The baby who, I'd like to point out, was now happily sleeping.

The first neighbor kept me calm by chatting with me and pointing out how nonplussed the baby was by all of this.  It helped, but I still felt like a total shit.  One last minute shopping trip before Thanksgiving gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Eventually, the tow guy showed up and, with the help of one amazing little airbag device (that I'd now like to purchase and keep in one of those magnetic hide-a-key thingies under the car with a GODDAMNED SPARE KEY), he opened my car door in about a minute and a half.  And there lay my baby completely conked out and oblivious to the drama occurring over the last hour.  I thanked the tow guy profusely and said, "Please tell me you get a lot of these calls."  He grinned at me and admitted he gets at least one "help me get my kid out of my locked car" call a day.  Bad mothers UNITE!

So all ended well as Garage Door Man and my two neighbors looked at me, heads cocked to the side in pity and amusement at my idiocy, while I signed paperwork saying that yes, I did just lock my baby in the car.  Awesomeness.  I thanked everyone profusely for their help and grabbed my baby, my toddler and my groceries, leaving my parental pride in a puddle next to open car door.  One of my neighbors grinned at me and said, "Let's get you upstairs," and led the way to the elevator.  He stopped at the door, turned to me and said, "Got your keys?"

Yes.  Yes I do.  I intend to sew them to my navel.  Next to my "Gold Medal Mother" tattoo.

Hands-Free Parenting

Motherhood requires a MINIMUM of two functional hands.  Or extremely dexterous feet.  Whichever.  Really, it requires nine or ten hands, but unless you are a Hindi deity, you're stuck with the usual two like the rest of us.

But then something like this happens:

And then you are fucked.

Because now you only have one hand, and one hand is NOT ENOUGH.

At first you think, "Damn.  I cut myself and may or may not need stitches, which is really a bitch since I'm home alone with sleeping children.  I'm sure I can stop the bleeding."  Forty five minutes later you think, "I'm pretty sure the bleeding is slowing down a bit, but that is a rather gaping slice on my hand.  Perhaps I should ask someone about that."  And then you try to eat something because it's now 9pm and you're bloody and hungry.

I did ask someone about that, and thanks to a kind and loving doctor friend (who said stitches might have actually been helpful), my hand is stuck back together with Steri-Strips.  After one week, it's finally, FINALLY starting to heal.  However, for future reference: getting kicked in the wound every time you change a diaper does NOT speed healing.  Good to know.  In the meantime, I've learned how to diaper, open jars, shower, carry groceries and babies and turkeys simultaneously, and generally function with only one and half hands.  It's tough and very often hurts like a bitch, but it's doable.

In the meantime, I'm steering clear of knives and practicing diapering with my feet just in case this ever happens again.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sharing a Room: Part Two

Which is worse: No sleep, or lots and lots of crying?

HA!!!  That's a trick question!!  The two can't be separated.  They are tied together in a hideous tango of pain.  If the kids don't sleep, there is lots and lots of crying.  If I try to make them sleep, there is lots and lots of crying.  LOTS AND LOTS OF CRYING.  No matter what.  Sometimes, it's me crying and wishing I was sleeping.

(Dear god, make them sleep!)

I'm trying to hold on dearly to the promise that "they" made me.  "They" say that the kids will adjust.  "They" say that the kids will learn to sleep together without waking each other up.  "They" say the novelty of sharing a room will wear off.  "They" say that this will work.

Will "they" please come over and make my children go to sleep?  Because I can't seem to do it for the life of me.  I've put them to bed separately.  I've put them to bed early.  I've run them ragged with exciting playdates and put them to bed late and exhausted.  I've begged.  I've pleaded.  I've sticker charted.  I've bribed.  I've guilted.  I've stared.  I've gone in every 30 seconds and laid them both back down and told them in no uncertain terms that it is TIME TO SLEEP.

But there is no sleeping.

If a napless day was the only problem, I could deal.  I could handle losing that precious, precious hour and a half in the middle of the day when I can answer my emails and eat a warm meal and watch trashy TV and pee in peace.  But naplessness leads to other problems.  It is the gateway drug to naughty and cranky.  A day without naps means a day filled with time outs, temper tantrums, and crying.  So. Much. Crying.

This embargo on sleep is causing me to lose my ever-loving mind.  I am stress eating Reese's peanut butter cups.  I am contemplating drinking starting at 10:30 a.m.  I am wondering if I will ever get to experience a day when my toddler doesn't yell in my face and I don't want to hide in the closet and my infant isn't hysterical because all of us are SO exhausted.

"They" are on my shit list.  I think "they" must be the same ones that said parenthood is easy.  The ones who make people think that being a full time parent is all baking and zoo trips and lattes and spinning circles in the park while the children happily skip to bed singing, "I love my Mommy!!"

Those days do exist, thank god, but they seem to be few and far between these days.  So until my days look like a scene out of Sesame Street, "they" better get their asses over here and put my kids to sleep.  And bring me a latte.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gold Medal Mother Moments

There are those moments in motherhood when you feel like a complete and total ass.  Loser.  AWFUL parent.

Tonight was one such moment.

I've been struggling with my children as they wade through the newness of sharing a room.  It involves a severe lack of sleep on everyone's part.  Things have been getting better (kind of), but new ugly things are popping up.  One of them is that my toddler now insists on keeping the baby up when it's bedtime.  He jumps up and down in his crib, screams, yells, sings, does somersaults, and hucks his lovies into the baby's crib across the room.  Shockingly, this keeps the baby from going to sleep.  Today it resulted in something worse.

Today, it resulted in a bloody nose for my baby.  BLOODY NOSE.  BABY.  Seriously?

The baby has just learned to pull up, so he's not particularly stable yet, but he tries like hell to keep up with my toddler.  Accordingly, today the baby was trying to hop up and down like the toddler (when both were supposed to be going to sleep!), and apparently this resulted in a bloody nose.

Here's where the gold medal moment comes in: I didn't respond for a full 5 minutes.  To my baby.  With the bloody nose.  Yup.  AWESOME MOTHER, RIGHT HERE.

Why the hell would you not respond to your crying baby?!?!  Because I have a crying baby a lot.  Like, A LOT.  He's a high maintenance one, this one.  And he cries for a plethora of reasons, few of which require my attention at bedtime and very few of which are actually worrisome.  So, I let him cry for 5 minutes.  Because that's what you're supposed to do.  So they'll learn to self-soothe.

Yes, I know they aren't supposed to be left to perform triage on themselves.  Jesus.  It wasn't on purpose.

Anyway, I did go in and saw that he had pooped.  (Well.... smelled that he had pooped.)  I picked him up to change him and went to wipe his snotty little nose.  And then I realized that it wasn't just snot.  The poor kid conked his face on his crib and gave himself a bloody nose and his good-for-nothin' mother didn't bother to show up and help him out until she felt an adequate amount of time had passed.  You know, for him to suffer.


These are the times when I think, "What was it that made me think I'd be good at this?"  Not really sure, but I sure am questioning myself now.  Thankfully, I think everyone questions themselves in this parenthood gig.  (But not everyone leaves their infant to bleed in their crib for 5 minutes!  Gold medal for me!!!!)

Reason #1 (of 4,374) for my youngest to attend therapy in the future: my mother left me to bleed in the dark.  Benign neglect: successful.  Damn it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sharing A Room: Part One

I'm sorry, ma'am, but did you just stand in the doorway of your children's room for 15 minutes and glare at your toddler until he fell asleep?

Yes.  Yes, I did.

I literally just guilted my child to sleep.  Really?  Did I really just do that?  Yup.  Sure did.  I stood in the doorway with my hands on my hips and my eyebrow raised in the, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" kind of way until my son laid down, stopped peeking at me and went the hell to sleep.  I glared him into submission because this is the umpteenth day in a row that he has jumped up and down and squealed and thrown lovies and asked for water and hollered my infant's name until my infant finally woke up out of his blissful slumber and screamed for the next hour and half.

I could not do it again.  I am tired.  I am pissed off.  I am DETERMINED to make this sharing a room thing work.  Shit, I HAVE to make this sharing a room thing work.  The only other place I can put a kid is in the closet, and that just opens up a whole can of later-in-life worms.  (He can go in or come out of the closet whenever he wants, but I'm not forcing him into either.  That's just rude.)

Anyway, I'm feeling like a crappy, controlling, psychotic mother for doing what I just did, but they need to sleep and they need to work this thing out.  It has to happen.  People have been sharing rooms for eons; they can do this.  I think.  But can I do this?

I have been reassured over and over that they will adjust.  People swear up and down that they get used to each other's noises and will be able to sleep through anything the other one can dish out.  "They" say to just give it time and the sleep will come.  But, Oh. My. God.  WHEN WILL THE SLEEP COME?!?!?  I need the sleep.  They need the sleep.  Sleep needs to be happening in this house.  And if that means that I guilt my toddler to sleep, apparently that is what I will do.  I won't like it and I won't feel good about it, but I will feel damn good when both of those children GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.

(By the way, Adam Mansbach is a genius.  If you have children and have not yet seen the book with the above title, RUN to the bookstore and get it.  Now.  Go.  Seriously.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How To Tame A Toddler

Dear god, don't ask me.  I was hoping someone else out there knows.  Perhaps it's akin to taming a lion and I need to just pick up a chair and point it at him?  Worth a shot.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wrastlin' Octopi!!

Ever tried to wrestle an octopus?  Me neither, but I imagine it's something like trying to change the diaper of an eight month old baby.  A baby who has recently discover locomotion and feels he should be locomoting at ALL TIMES.  (Yes, I know that's not a verb.  I'm doing it anyway.  Suck it.)  I'm pretty sure it's frowned upon to hold your baby down with your forearm whilst trying to wrench his body back down to the changing mat in order to keep poop from getting EVERYWHERE, but it happens.  It happens a lot. It might happen every day.  Like, maybe 4 or 5 times a day.  Maybe.  I'm just saying, sometimes a mommy has to do what a mommy has to do.

And sometimes that means wrestling an octopus.

Don't judge me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Toddlers: Time Suckers

Toddlers are expert time suckers.  They can take a normal activity and stretch it out- with the addition of singing, tantrums, playing, shitting or whining- sometimes all of the above!- for a good hour.  It's impressive.  Throw in potty training and, well, the shit goes haywire.

Accordingly, this is what my day looks like with my toddler:
*Time required to eat a meal: at least 45 minutes
*Time required to clean up body parts and scene after meal: 10 minutes
*Time required to leave the house: 20 minutes (add another 10 for every additional child)
*Time required to sit on the potty before leaving the house: 15 minutes
*Time required to convince toddler to sit on the potty before leaving the house: 5-10 minutes
*Time required to ascertain whether toddler needs to sit on the potty before peeing pants: ALL THE LIVELONG DAY
*Time required for toddler to fall asleep: 20 minutes- 2 hours (depends on how many songs are floating around in said toddler's head)
*Time required to recover from a day with toddlers: 18 years

So that leaves, what, 5 minutes to get everything else accomplished for the day?  No problem.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Universe: 742; Me: 0

Clearly I have done something bad.  Very, very bad.  The Universe does not like me very much right now, and its wrath is wreaking havoc on my life.  So, I'm doing my best to make up with it.  I'm sending it flowers.  Telling it how nice it looks in those new pants.  Offering to walk its dog when it has to stay late at work.
Alas, none of this is working.  It's STILL pissed off at me.  I've tried everything else, so now it's time to grovel.  I'm talking no pride, on your knees, begging for forgiveness here.  Whatever it takes.  Here goes:

Dear Universe,
I am sorry.  I know I have upset you/broken your heart/slept with your boyfriend/borrowed and ruined your favorite boots/hurt your feelings/pissed you off and I am sorry.  So, so incredibly sorry.  You have no idea.  I understand that you are angry.  You don't hide it well.  But I'd like us to make up now.  Let's take a walk and discuss it over a latte.
Universe, I am so sorry that I upset you.  I never meant to do it.  I have only had the best of intentions, but apparently I got lost along the way.  I hurt you, and that was wrong.  So wrong.  Universe, I want you to know that I care about you and I know that you were right.  I was wrong.  Do you hear me?  I. WAS. WRONG.
I'm ready to change my ways and I'm really hoping you'll forgive me.  I'm not perfect, Universe, and I don't pretend to be.  I just want us to be the way we were.  I want us to be able to spend the day by the water, enjoying the day unfolding before us.  I want to share a doughnut with you.  I just want us to be happy again.  And Universe, I know you want that, too.  You may not know it, may even believe that you're enjoying watching me fumble around, but deep down we both know that you're not that heartless.  Not even when you're this angry.
I understand that you wanted to me to pay for the way I made you feel.  I get that, and I've felt it.  I have felt sad, felt low, felt hopeless, felt like an idiot.  You win.  I am humbled.
So, Universe, I stand here before you, humbly asking if please, pretty please, could you please, please, please forgive me?  Can we play nice?  Can't we all just get along?
I'll totally pick up your mail and water your plants for you next time you're out of town.
Are we okay?
Hoping for reconciliation...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Bitch is Back

Ever have one of those days (eh em... weeks) when you KNOW you're being a raging bitch, but you can't seem to stop?  Yeah.  I'm having one of those.

Life is kicking my ass a bit and apparently, my response is to ruin the lives of the people around me (read: my husband).  Oh, the irony.  The Universe is mean to me, so I'm mean to the one person who loves and supports me no matter what.  Interesting choice, lady.

I have strange methods of coping with stress in my life, though I'm only recently starting to notice them.  My first response is to sit on my ass and brood.  Generally speaking, this doesn't get me very far.  Shocking, I know.  After that, I clean the kitchen.  Why?  I have no idea.  I'd like to trace it back to my childhood when my biggest problems- like not being able to go out with my friends- were generally solved by a thorough cleaning of the kitchen, but that isn't particularly logical now.  I no longer live with my parents, so I can't be grounded, and my problems are now significantly more complex.  A full dishwasher and clean counters will not solve anything, but somehow I feel more in control when I've scrubbed grout.  When that doesn't eliminate my stress (which it almost never does), I pretend like everything is fine to almost everyone, though I'm a fairly horrific liar, and then I take my anger out on my husband.  Because, as we all know, the fact that he has put the glass in the sink instead of the dishwasher IS THE REASON FOR ALL SUFFERING.

Oh wait, no it's not.  That's just me being mean and irrational.  Shit.

Anyway, I'm hoping by writing this and admitting that I know I'm being intolerable, I can find the strength to KNOCK IT OFF.  Jesus.

Honey, this is me saying, "Um, sorry I'm being a total bitch.  I don't really mean to, but I can't seem to quit it.  I'll work on that."

No really, I will.  Swear.  Seriously.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Because We Love You

Dear Boys,
I just want you to know that no matter what, you will always have each other.  This is vital.  You have to remember this and stick to it.  Love each other and be there for each other.  If for no other reason, it is important to have someone else in your lives who understands- unequivocally- just how batshit crazy your parents are.
Sorry about that, by the way.  We are trying to avoid the batshit craziness, but it seems to run in our families.
Anyway, we love you and are so glad that you will have each other to depend on.
Much love,
Mama & Dada (by proxy)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oh. My. God.

Dear Whiniest Child On The Planet,
In the name of all things holy, PLEASE.  STOP.  WHINING.  You and your brother did not sleep last night and, frankly, I can't take it.  So please stop.  If you don't want the tofu, don't eat the tofu.  Simple.  But please stop asking for it, then pushing it away, then crying for it, and then pushing it away again.  Ditto for the Cheerios.  Make a decision and stick to it.  Please.  I realize this is difficult for a two year old.  I know I am asking a lot of you.  But please, PLEASE just be calm and decisive today.  And quit whining.

Or at least take a very long nap.
Your Mama

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Whiny, Whiny Lady

Grown up birthdays: they ain't what they used to be.  Remember when birthdays were awesome?  They were all about the anticipation of amazingness to come. It was all balloons and presents and cake and ice cream and OH MY GOD IT'S HERE!!!!  Alas, those days are gone.

Now birthdays begin with a tantrum or twelve from my toddler, a truly shocking diaper from the baby, and a spilled coffee.  It's good times around here.  All evidence to the contrary, I don't expect much from a Monday birthday.  My husband was at school all day and I have two little whirlwinds to take care of.  Nonetheless, I have to admit that it came as a bit of a shock when things went awry.  Perhaps I'm naive.  Perhaps I'm narcissistic.  Perhaps I'm just an idiot, but for some reason I still expect birthdays to be fun.  I also expect my parents to remember their only child's birthday, but clearly that's just overly optimistic.

It wasn't all bad.  That's what makes me such a whiny little bitch.  I have a glorious friend who brought me flowers- presented oh-so-adorably by her three year old- then took me out for coffee and spec-freakin-tacular croissants from Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle.  YUM.  Then she bought me lunch from the same amazing bakery and we sat on Alki Beach watching the kiddos gallivant in the sun and the sand (read: watching my son throw sand in his eyes over, and over, and over).  It was an awesome morning.  But then I got home and had to attempt to put both babies to bed (one screamed a lot and one did not sleep at all).  Shortly there after I had to get both kids up to hit the road and pick my husband up from school.  And there was traffic.  Lots and lots of traffic.

Again, this should not bother me.  I know this.  The world is not out to make my birthday miserable.  (The Universe IS out to get me, generally speaking, but that's another story.)  It just felt like a little much.  These past few weeks have been tough on our little family pod, so I suppose I was hoping for a bright spot.  A big one.  But then I picked up my husband and he was in a bad space after all the crap that's been going on.  We got home and had a rushed dinner of leftovers (wherein he quickly and unceremoniously presented me with a wonderful birthday gift) before he had to continue his homework. All night.  Again, this should not bother me.  I am a teacher and I understand homework.  I believe in it.  But I still seem to be under the impression that my birthday should involve balloons, not homework.

Alas, my kind and glorious friend of the croissants invited me over (during what was supposed to be their Family Time, you whiny girl!) to have a glass of wine with her and her husband.  And it was lovely.

So again, why am I whining?  I got flowers, a chocolate hazelnut croissant and a latte, a fabulous French sandwich, time with a beloved friend and time in on the beach with my babies.  And it was a sunny day.  AND I got to hear my toddler sing happy birthday to me.  That alone should make any self-respecting adult's day.  But not me.  Nope.  I'm still whining.  What is my problem?  Why can't I stop WHINING?!?  Because it was the eternally disappointing adult birthday in the midst of an infernally frustrating and difficult couple of weeks.  Because my parents forgot about me.  Because I am a pouty, whiny lady.  I'm not proud, but there you have it.  Whiny bitch?  Present.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sleep Training Sucks Balls

I hate sleep training.

The result, I love.  A baby who can soothe himself to sleep is gift from heaven.  But listening to your child cry and keeping yourself from stopping it is excruciating.  It's awful.  

My six month old son is still not sleeping through the night.  He never sleeps more than 5 hours at a time- no matter how much he's eaten- so it's time to buckle down and commit to the sleep training once and for all.  We've half-assed it so far, but we need to make sure he can soothe himself.  I know it's ultimately better for him, but I still feel like I'm torturing him.  

We sleep trained my older son at four months and, though it sucked, it went relatively smoothly.  After a few days, he learned to put himself to sleep.  If he woke up in the middle of the night, he would fuss a bit, then soothe himself.  Done and done.  My second son has been a bit different.  Not so easy as the first one, this guy.  Luckily, he's cute as the dickens.  He's never had trouble going to sleep in the first place, but has always woken up more than I'd like and isn't able to calm himself at that point.  Normally, he'll sleep from 7pm until 10:30pm or 11pm, then nurse and go to sleep until 3am or 4am, then nurse and wake up anywhere between 6am and 7am.  Not horrendous, but it's rare that I get 4 hours of sleep in a row, and this is totally kicking my ass.  Last night he woke up 45 minutes after I put him down and would NOT be calmed.  I'm not nursing him back to sleep every 5 minutes.  It's time.  

I'm doing the good ol' Ferber method and going up every 5, then 10, then 15 minutes (and so on...), but I tend to have stubborn babies and it's not going quickly.  Yesterday, after two full hours he was still crying.  He wasn't hysterical and there was no blood-curdling screaming, but the last time I went up to pat his back, he startled and then realized I was there.  He looked at me with such relief and reached for my hand before smiling the biggest, most beautiful smile.  And then I had to leave.  And he started crying... again.  Holy guilt, Batman.  Nonetheless, his actions tell me one thing: he really just wants me there.  Many would say that there's nothing wrong with that.  I can be there, so I should be there.  But the truth is, I can't be at his side every time he stirs in his sleep.  He will continue to wake throughout the night for... oh, FOREVER, so he needs to be able to calm down on his own.  His smile last night bolsters my confidence.  He was wasn't inconsolable, wasn't feeling so miserable that he was past smiling.  He was just pissed off.  Pissed off I can handle.

Sooo... I am officially on the Sleep Training Roller Coaster.  It's a bumpy ride, folks.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Fear

(TMI Alert.)
Today the fear set in and I took a paranoia-fueled trip to the grocery store to buy a pregnancy test.  Ever since having my beautiful, but unplanned, second son I've been filled with the terror that I am pregnant.  There has been no real basis for these fears.  I am on birth control and we are using protection.  Then again, I was using protection after my first son and HELLO SECOND BABY!  Thankfully (or perhaps not so thankfully, depending on whether you are my husband), one generally needs to have sex to get pregnant and that particular occurrence is few and far between.  This fact alone has kept my constant fear at bay.  Kind of.  Nonetheless, it has happened here and there and I have been consumed with one thought: Maybe. It. Happened. Again.

Don't get me wrong, I love my children with wild abandon.  I think they are wonderful, darling, brilliant tiny people and I wouldn't trade them for the world.  But I think pregnancy should come when you're expecting it.  You know, so you don't drink a vat of gin or go bungee jumping while you're expecting.  It seems like forethought is a good idea.  And frankly, I'm afraid that one more child (let alone one more "surprise" child) could send me off the edge.  I've already experienced two under two, and it is NUTS.  I have no context for this crazy multiple children stuff.  My husband and I are both only children and two has us overwhelmed.  I realize that this is ridiculous and possibly pathetic, but that's the way it is.  Besides, these little people are expensive!!  Two is enough.

And so... the frightening trip to the store to buy pregnancy tests.  Thanks to much hope and finger crossing and praying to Sweet Baby Jesus, the test was negative.  No baby.  Pregnancy free.  FREE!!!  Well... not quite free since I'm still breastfeeding and taking care of a 6 month old and 2 year old, but still.  It's a good feeling not to be pregnant.  My kids are awesome and I love them immensely, but I'm all set with the two.  Thanks Universe (and Baby Jesus).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Oh. Dear. God.  In one hour, I am leaving on my first plane trip since having two kids.  I know this is not a big deal.  I know lots of people do this all the time.  I know I need to calm the hell down.  It's a straight-through flight and my husband will be with me.  Nonetheless, this trip terrifies me to the depths of my very soul.

Perhaps I'm frightened because the last time we were on a plane, my oldest son was 15 months and spent the majority of the flight hopping up and down on my husband's and my toes and hollering because we wouldn't let him run free.  This behavior was wildly unusual for him then.  Not so much now.  Perhaps I'm frightened because now he's two and he regularly hollers and hops up and down when he doesn't get his way.  Perhaps I'm frightened because our plane leaves at bedtime and we have to attempt to feed the toddler and the infant, then get them to sleep, only to wake them up when our flight lands at midnight.  Perhaps I'm frightened because my toddler- despite his toddlerness- is relatively easygoing.  My infant is not.  I fear him on this flight.  Perhaps I'm frightened because we will be driving a minimum of two hours every day of this trip.  Perhaps I'm frightened because I know neither child will get to nap or eat on their regular schedule.  We will be at the mercy of schedules and visits and people who don't remember what it's like to have two small children.  Perhaps I'm frightened because I know that all of this is a recipe for HELL.

Yup.  That's it.

I'll keep my fingers crossed and remember that if lots of people do this all the time, it can't be that bad.  Though I must say, I'm not optimistic.  Luckily, I'll be with my in-laws, so I can totally be myself and express any frustration I might have.  Oh... wait...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

This is my life.

Today I ate my lunch in my bath towel.  I hunched over my bowl of homemade broccoli slaw and cup of tomato soup and demolished both in under 10 minutes.  Why, you ask?  Because I am a (former?) teacher who learned to speed-eat during her luxurious 20 minute lunch periods.  Because I am the mother of a toddler and an infant who seem to know when I have warm food ready and choose that exact time to freak out.  Simultaneously.  Because just as lunch was ready and I brought some over to my husband, my infant started to cry.  Once I calmed him, I went to check on my toddler who had been chatting and jumping and singing since he'd been put down to nap over an hour ago.  What I found was one of the great horrors in any parent's life.

My son had pooped (it is now my life that I discuss poop... regularly) and had then stripped off all his clothes.  Or perhaps it was the other way around.  Anyway, noticing that said poop was starting to escape his diaper, my son apparently figured he should either check it out, or try to shove it back in the diaper.  Needless to say, things were unpleasant in there.  I will say, it could have been MUCH worse.  He was not actually playing with his poop, which may have caused me to projectile vomit, so that was good.  He is still in a crib, so the situation was contained and the damage was minimal, but poop is not meant to be anywhere but a diaper or a toilet.  Preferably the latter.  Potty training is nigh.

Anyway, the only remedy for such a situation was a shower, so I jumped into the shower with my toddler and scrubbed him down while my husband stripped the bed o' poo.  After the shower, I put him back into his clean bed (where he did not sleep).  Then my infant woke up and I had to calm him down and get him back to sleep.  At this point, it had been over an hour since I had made lunch in the first place and I knew needed to get ready to go to a friend's birthday party later.  Sooo... lunch in a towel in under 10 minutes.

Sometimes I can't believe the ridiculous things that happen in this house.  But, so it goes when you have kiddos.  Perhaps one day I'll eat a long, luxurious, warm meal at home... but I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, June 10, 2011

And So It Begins...

I've done it.  I've started a blog.  Apparently.  I'll fully admit that this feels strange and wildly narcissistic.  Sitting down to write my first post brings up every feeling of mediocrity I've experienced in the last 30 years.  What if I sound like an idiot?  What if it's boring?  Who cares what I have to say?  Apparently I care what I have to say, or I wouldn't be doing this.

I'm not sure what qualifies me to write a blog.  Does one need qualifications?  I am the mother of two boys- a toddler and an infant.  I am a high school English teacher who is either taking time off to raise her kids, or is running away screaming from the clusterfuck that is education.  Can't tell which yet.  Stay tuned.  I am a woman who is passionately in love with her husband and children, but sometimes wonders if she'll disappear in the life of a stay-at-home mom.  I am someone looking to maintain a passion for writing, so I'm giving it a shot.

I've always wanted to write.  I don't know that I've ever been particularly good at it, but I love it.  Sadly, my laziness and my insecurity have combined with "being busy" to create a powerful prophylactic, keeping me from writing much of anything in the last ten years.  But then I got pregnant.  Something about the crazy science experiment called pregnancy kick-started my desire to write.  Since becoming a mother for the first time two years ago and experiencing all the strangeness that motherhood brings with it, I've wanted to write even more.  Laziness and exhaustion still win most days (I could write, OR I could eat ice cream and watch E!), but the desire is there nonetheless.

In my imaginary world where reality doesn't exist, I'd like to write a book.  If time and money and exhaustion and talent were not factors, I would be a writer.  I'd LOVE to be able to say truthfully, "I'm a writer."  I've started writing a book, so in my delusional head it's a possibility.  But, since I only have 40 pages written and it's taken me almost two years to even start the blog I've been toying around with, I'll try my hand at this first and see where it gets me.

I've started a blog.  Now I just have to maintain it.  Shit.