Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Armageddon Days Are Here Again

Oh god.  My two year old is climbing out his crib.  A lot.  I can't keep him in it.  Oh god, oh god, oh god.

This is the end.  My only friend, the end.
There will be no more sleep in my house.  Naps might be done.  And they still need naps!  I STILL NEED NAPS.  It's going to be all exhaustion and crankiness and edge all the time up in this joint.  Oh, god.

For the past couple of days, we have spent every naptime and every bedtime putting the Little One back in his bed every 2 minutes.  Last night, we did this for 3 HOURS.  And then I woke up at 3:45am to a tiny person standing next to my bed staring at me.  It was terrifying.  I put him back in his crib with strict "NO CLIMB!" instructions.  At 7:15am, he was back.  With trains.

Then, at naptime the next day I put the child back in his bed 25 times- TWENTY FIVE TIMES- before I finally gave up because around put-back 23 I'd switched him from his pack n'play to his crib and he fell and cried the 25th time he climbed out.

This sucks.

If I can convince the Little One to stay in his crib (and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to convince him to stay in his crib), there may be a couple months of hope remaining.  Hopefully just long enough for us to move out of our current place and into one with separate rooms for each kid.

But if I can't (and it really seems like I can't... I've already counted his actual crib out what with the falling and all)... I'm going to have to switch him to a toddler bed.  Which means I'll have to switch the Big One to a toddler bed.  Because they share a room and the Big One will not have that kind of injustice.  Which means that the magical cages... I mean CRIBS, I've managed to keep my boys in will be no longer.

(And to those of you saying, "OMG!  You still have your 4 year old in a crib?!?!"  I say, YES.  YES, I DO.  AND IT HAS BEEN AWESOME.)

What will happen when I switch a 4 year old and a 2 year old to toddler beds simultaneously?

I can only assume the Apocalypse will begin.

So... start gathering canned goods, people.  This shit is going down soon, and it is not going to be pleasant.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

People Are People

It's been a tough couple of months for lots of reasons.  I've talked and whined and written about it plenty.  My husband's incredibly busy with school, we have two small children in the trying throes of toddlerhood, my mom is sick, we're trying to balance everything with no money and little support, I've been in this damn boot, and now... the accident.  And the resulting pain/soreness/stiffness/aching.  It's a lot.  It's too much.

It's been enough that I broke down in tears multiple times in one day a couple weeks ago.  Half because everything I have to do 739 times a day (lift 30lb children, load and unload dishwashers, load and unload washing machines, pick up and/or move 3487 trucks and cars and trains and blocks, lift 30lb children some more) hurt like hell, and half because I was/am exhausted. 

Most days I can handle it.  I can remember what really matters, or at least postpone thinking about the stuff that's hard.  But for a few days a couple of weeks ago, I was out of places to put it.  I didn't have any storage for hard left.  So it poured out of me in the form of tears.  

The kids were concerned initially, but then mostly ignored me.  They're little and they've seen me cry before.  I always explain why I'm crying ("I'm sad," "I'm hurt," "I'm really frustrated") and then usually go hide.  Which is what I did this time.  But then.  Then the most amazing thing happened.

The Big One came back in the room after the initial check-in, dragging a blanket.  He tucked me in.  "So you can feel better, Mommy. I'm sorry you're sad and ouchie.  I love you."  And then he hugged me, oh so gently, and stroked my shoulder, and smiled at me with the most beautifully empathetic look.  

And then I really started crying.

Because here's the thing.  I KNOW my boys are sweet.  I know they are loving, and kind, and wonderful.  But sometimes... sometimes I see them being boys, and I get worried.  I see them wanting to kick and hit and destroy and hurt, and I don't understand it.  And it scares me.  

People roll their eyes at me and give me the ol' "boys will be boys" speech.  And I understand that that's true to a point.  As much as I've tried to resist the idea, boys and girls behave differently.  They just do.  But it still scares me.

And then awful things like the Steubenville rape case and the Boston Marathon bombings happen, and my brain is filled with worries about whether or not I'm doing things right.  Whether or not my boys- my sweet, kind, wonderful boys- could ever be capable of that kind of violence.  And what scares me so completely is, I think the answer is yes.  

Not because I feel that my boys would commit such a hateful, awful crime.  But because I think everyone is capable of terrible things.  People do terrible things every single day.  People with parents, with children, with brothers and sisters, with pets and grandparents and people who love them.  People who have been raised in every possible way, with every possible advantage or disadvantage.  People do horrible things, and I don't know how to stop it.

So.  Instead of sitting around feeling helpless and hopeless, I think about what I can do.  I teach my boys empathy.  I can teach my boys that hurting other people is not okay.  I can teach my boys that power is not the ultimate goal.  I can teach my boys that sex should not used, but should be shared between two people mature enough to care for each other and stop if there are any questions or hesitations.  I can teach my boys to use their words instead of violence.  I can teach my boys to stand up for others- to speak up for anyone who cannot or will not speak up for themselves.  I can teach my boys that sometimes doing what's right is hard and might feel terrible at the time.  I can teach my boys not to be slaves to their bodies, to their hormones, to the media.  I can teach my boys that people- ALL people- deserve respect and kindness.  

And possibly most importantly, I can show my boys what all of this looks like.  I can model respect, kindness, and doing the right thing.  I can show them that they don't have to be what other people tell them to be.  I can show them that fear doesn't have to control them.  I can show them what love and acceptance and respect look like.

And I can think about what I am already doing.  I can think about the look in the Big One's eyes when he came to check on me as I sat on the bathroom floor crying.  I can think about how he chose to help, to make me feel better.  

I can believe that my boys will never, ever allow themselves or their peers to act with such hatred, such disregard, such ignorance as the people around the world who commit and allow violence and hatred against others.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Quit It

You know how sometimes, when something terrible has happened, some people say something like, "God/The Universe/Life would never give you more than you can handle," and you just kinda want to punch them in the neck?

Yeah.  That.

Except it's ME I want to punch in the neck.  Because I found myself saying that very thing... to myself.  "Self!  You can do this!  People do this all the time!  Buck up and be a woman!  None of this is more than you can handle!"


Two weeks ago, the Big One and I got in a small car accident on our way home from preschool.  Because, as my mother-in-law so aptly put it, we needed that like a hole in the head.

It was my workday in my son's co-op preschool class, so I was enjoying some rare alone time with the Big One.  We were happily chatting about our day at school and I slowly approached this terrible uncontrolled intersection that people always speed through.  I looked, saw no one, entered the intersection, and BAM.  Got T-boned on the left side.

Thankfully, we were all okay.  It could have been way, way worse.  My kid was in the car with me.  We're all okay.

The Big One is still fine- didn't have a single sore muscle or red mark- and I could not be more grateful about that.  He didn't even cry after it happened.  Just looked at me with this mildly surprised look on his face and said, "Mommy?  Did we just get crashed?  We should call 911."  So, he learned that, apparently.

I escaped relatively unscathed, too.  Just a cervical strain and back sprain, which will hopefully be helped and healed by some prescribed massage.  We have a great insurance company (SHOUT OUT TO USAA!), so the fact that this could have sucked so much more does not escape me.  I am grateful and thankful and all of that.  I am.

However.  COME ON.  Have you ever tried to take care of a 2 year old boy and almost 4 year old boy with a jacked up neck and back?  AND A GODDAMN "WALKING" BOOT?!?

It's getting ridiculous around here.  After a week, I was just barely able to bend and pick something up without yelping.  Driving sucked.  Getting dressed sucked.  After two weeks, I'm finally able to move about almost normally, but it hurts.  Doing laundry and dishes sucks.  Lifting 30+lb kids really, really sucks.  And I have to do all of this ALL. DAY. LONG.

You guys, I did not think I could get any whinier.  BUT I CAN.

This fucking sucks big crinkly balls.  You heard me.

I've been in this damn boot for 9 weeks now.  My husband has been working his ass off creating a game at school and handling his team, so he hasn't been home much.  Even over "break" he spent much of his time working.  The kids are on fire lately- in total terrorist mode.  They're testing the boundaries and fighting the power and doing all the things that are completely developmentally appropriate, but the screaming, hitting, and ignoring me is so infuriating I can hardly contain the screeching that wants to escape my throat.  There's our usual lack of money and all the fun that comes along with that.  My mom has been ill for a while and the hope we had for recovery is waning.  And now, this accident.  And all the gazillion phone calls and emails it entails.  Plus a neck and back that only sort of work and hurt like a motherfucker.

I just.... ugh.  A week ago I was completely out of the patience and strength required for quality parenting.  I don't know if I was doing a good job before, but last week I was definitely not.  I let the kids watch way too much T.V. because I can't get on the floor to play with them and I can't intervene every 5 seconds to stop them from killing each other or destroying the house.  I was snapping at my kids and my husband left and right.  I was completely exhausted.  Exhausted from lack of rest, lack of relief, lack of resources, lack of help, lack of patience, lack of calm, lack of energy, lack of... everything, it feels like.  I feel spent.  And frustrated.  And weirdly complaisant. 

Then, I decided to do something about it.  I decided to dig down deep while my husband was around for break and we chose to focus on the positive.  To be patient even when we felt like we couldn't.  To play with the kids and give each of them special time and to be present- even though we're both exhausted.  

And you know what?  It helped.  It didn't fix everything and we're still having to work very, very hard not to get overly frustrated and focus on the negative, but it helped.  It helped enough that to feel some relief.  And maybe that's enough.