Monday, August 11, 2014

Love is Hard

It has been almost a year exactly since I last posted on my blog. It's not to say that I haven't thought of things to write and share with you, I just haven't taken the time to write them down. 
The girls are now 3 and 4 and still full of P&V and all things fiery (hence the hair). I am on my last week of summer with them and we have had our ups and downs.

New to this summer has been sibling fighting that could put WWF to shame. What does one do when both of her children are crying/screaming, tackling, hair-pulling, kicking each other until they are just one big ball of flailing arms and legs? They both end up hurt and neither of them is sorry. You stick them in time out and they shout threats at each other for the whole 3 minutes that they have to sit in the chair. They are like tiny sociopaths.

About mid-June I discovered gating both kids in their bedroom together "until they learn to love each other." Their first move after being removed from society is to drag all of the hangers out of the closet. They dress up in random crap -- socks/mittens/scarves/backwards pajamas. And then what feels like seconds after being escorted to their prison sentence, they crack the door and smile at me with their arms around each other (which could be easily mistaken for a head-lock). "WE LOVE EACH OTHER NOW!" They shout and I let them out until the next fight breaks out ten minutes later.

It was during one of these lockdowns that Neddy had some very honest and real comments to share...

I, of course, lost my cool and screamed, "GET IN THE BEDROOM UNTIL YOU LEARN HOW TO LOVE EACH OTHER!" as I not-so-gently shut the gate and door.

Both girls continued to scream at one another. Finally Neddy opened the door and placed her sock-covered hands on the gate and shouted, "WE DON'T WANT TO LOVE EACH OTHER! IT'S TOO HARD!"
(Kate then followed up with a dramatic, "Mom sure made a bad choice!"  *sob*)

As I breathed slowly and counted to a million, I started to think about Neddy's words. Oh, my little philosopher. You are so right! Love is hard! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Different Approach

I absolutely hate when people ask me how old my children are and I say 2 and 3 and they swoon and say, "Oh! Enjoy every minute!" 
I want to look at those people and smack them alongside of the head. 
1. Don't boss me.
2. You must be mistaken and need a reality check. Not every minute of raising children is enjoyable.
3. That is a lot of pressure to put on someone.

Now, I am not dense and I get that these people are telling me that time goes by too fast and some day my little babies will be all grown up and I will yearn for them to be babies again. But you know what I am going to do then? I am going to come back and read this blog. I am going to remind myself that there are some moments in parenting that are not enjoyable...

Waking up a million times in the night because Neddy has a booger in her nose and wants me to wipe it but doesn't want me to wipe it but wants me to wipe it...

Trying to go to the bathroom by myself. Locking the door and listening to the kids trying to use their toy tools to take the door off the hinges. Panicking when the noise stops and then finding the kids in the backyard playing in their underwear and screaming "I'm nakey!"  

The fighting! The constant fighting! Physically dragging each other to the floor by the hair, wrestling, and biting because the other one has a toy that you might want to play with in an hour but didn't realize you even wanted it until she picked it up. 

You are telling me to enjoy these moments? I can't. I won't! I already put too much pressure on myself trying to work full time and incorporate every amazing Pinterest idea into my classroom while inspiring kids to be lifelong learners, compete with the stay at home - homeschoolers, and keep the barely visible spark alive between my husband and me.

I'm sorry but I have decided to take a different approach. I am not going to enjoy every minute, but I do try to look at those high stress moments differently. Advice to myself: take a deep breath, and remember: a stranger would think this situation was hilarious.

Example: Neddy wanted her 13th mini-pancake for breakfast. As I was microwaving, Kate decided to go wash up in the bathroom. From the kitchen I hear blood-curdling scream so I run to the bathroom to find Kate crying and wet. Neddy is trying to escape and she slips in the enormous puddle on the floor. Apparently Kate was standing on the toilet to reach the sink and wash her hands (ignoring the pink stool we purchased for handwashing). Neddy decided to open the toilet while Kate was standing on it and Kate's feet fell into the toilet. She was upset because "FEET DON'T GO INTO THE TOILET!" Neddy knew she was in trouble so she tried to run but slipped in the toilet water on the floor and hit her head. BAM! Everyone is crying, there is a toilet water everywhere, and the dog is eating the pancakes! This is not enjoyable. How does one even predict a situation like this?
Breathe. If a stranger watched this unfold before her eyes, she would be laughing her ass off right now.

I learned this strategy when I heard the new neighbor describe to me the scene of me trying to mow the lawn while corralling both kids. As you can imagine, this was a high-stress situation. (PS: I didn't enjoy it.) He was supposed to be sleeping because he works third shift but couldn't stop watching as I stopped the lawnmower again and again because Neddy was throwing things into the road and eating dirt, Kate was poking Gilbert with a stick, and then they found themselves in a drop-down-drag-out fight because someone wanted to go up the stairs to the slide while the other one wanted to come down. As he described the situation, I saw it in a new light and was able to laugh at how ridiculous we must have looked.

So, my friends, I will not enjoy every moment. But I promise to try to laugh like a stranger through the stressful ones so I can continue to love my babies with all my heart. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Price of a Shower

It is 6:30. Hubby just left and of course the kids wake up just after the garage door closes. I whip up a quick breakfast of waffles and milk. Kate requests to eat in front of the TV. Pre-children, I would have scoffed at such an idea. Post-children, and all I can think about is the 30 minutes I would get from my kids being entranced by one program of Team Umizoomi and breakfast. I allow it. I move their little table and chairs into the living room. 
They are settled in and practically comatose. If I go now, I can take a quick shower before they even realize that I am gone. 
What could go wrong in the ten minutes that I am in the shower? The doors are all locked. There are safety latches on all of the cupboards and outlet covers on all of the outlets. What could go wrong? I make a dash for it. 

Let me tell you what can go wrong in ten minutes. I swear, literally ten minutes!

1. Neddy sat too close to the TV which angered Kate. Kate pushed Neddy over and Neddy chucked her milk cup across the room spilling its contents onto the carpet.

2. At some point Neddy decided to remove her diaper in her bedroom and then she or Gilbert pooped on the floor in the living room. 

3. The shower curtain flies open and Kate is crying because she threw her drum across the room and it broke. She wants it fixed. RIGHT NOW!

4. Kate tries to climb into the shower and then cries because she is wet.

5. Neddy climbs up into the bay window and...  how do I know this? Because she begins to cry until I emerge from the shower covered in soap, wrap a towel around me, and attempt to save her. She is not stuck. She is pretending to be stuck in the mud and wants me to save her. I see the poop, step around it, place the kids back at the table and run back to the shower.

Nothing else can go wrong. I only need two minutes to rinse. 
Not good.
I finish my shower and creep out into the eerie quiet. TV is still on. Breakfast is still on their plates.

6. Neddy has emptied my purse in her search for gum. She has my chap-stick and has hollowed out the tube. There are chunks in her hair and on her face.

7. Someone wanted strawberries because the colander is dumped on the floor in the kitchen.

8. Someone tried "broomin" because the broom is out and lying in the middle of the floor. 

9. Kate is finally located in the play tent and she is rubbing lip gloss on her forehead. She cries because I take "her" make up away and then runs to the bathroom so she can see her eyebrows.

You think I am exaggerating? I dare you to stand close to me the next time you see me. I promise it won't be good because I am skipping showers for the rest of the summer. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Can't Handle the Truth

I have always found a child's desire to learn to be fascinating. They want to know everything about everything all the time. Maybe it is the teacher in me, but to look at the world with wonder through a child's eyes is something I think adults could benefit from more often. 

Am I the only mother in the world that also finds a child's curiosity to be exhausting? After much self-reflection over the last ten minutes, I have discovered that my children have turned me into a compulsive liar. They no longer accept "Because I said so..." or "I don't know..." or even silence as satisfying explanations to their weird questions. 

"Kate, please don't lick my face." 
"Because it is gross."
"Why is it gross? Because there are germs?"

"Neddy don't hit the dog with the wand."
"Because it will hurt him."
"Because he doesn't like it."

Their incessant "Whys?" and "How comes?" have led me to search for more exciting responses. 

Rummage Sale-ing
"Kate, please don't open that mailbox."
(Normal response: Because it is not ours and that is bad manners.)
"Because there are bees in it and they will sting you."

Drive-thru at McDonald's
"Can we go on the slide at McDonald's?"
(Normal response: Because we are late and we need to get home)
"Because the slide is broken."
"Because a little boy ate too many cheeseburgers and he went down the slide and broke it."

"Mom, I hear a baby crying."
"Why is he crying?"
"Because he is sad."
"Why is he sad?"
(Normal response: I don't know.)
"Because he was standing up in the cart and one of the workers spanked him."

Sometimes my answers teach a lesson, sometimes they are just far fetched stories that I want to see if she will remember, sometimes I don't even know that I am doing it! Unfortunately, my Memory Keeper Kate, seems to store everything that I have ever told her and tends to bring up my stories at times that I deem inappropriate because other adults look at me like, Why would you lie to your kid about that? Answer: I CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! The regular answers just lead to more questions! 

I realize that some of you will gasp at the thought of me unnecessarily lying to my children. Try to look at it like I do -- it isn't lying, it is maintaining sanity.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Daddy's Doctor Trip -- For Monika

I finally got permission to share this experience with you. 
I usually take the girls to the doctor's office. Hubby gets very nervous and sweaty in these situations, and hey, who wouldn't? I've learned that it is a "good visit" when we manage to stay in the assigned room. I know that it is physically impossible for our kids to sit on the chairs and read books calmly while the doctor speaks. Daddy still has that vision and that is okay.

When Neddy had one of her well-child checks (I think it was her 9 month check-up), I was unable to bring her for some reason. This caused me a lot of stress because I like hearing information first hand and I had a lot of questions regarding diet, allergies, eczema, etc. She also had to fill out all of the adoption paperwork that needs to be submitted each time we go to the doctor. Hubby insisted that it would be okay if I just wrote down my questions and then he could ask them or hand them to the doctor. I accepted this option.

I returned home from school and was anticipating all of the answers to my questions. Brent was, as usual, too brief for my liking. His first response was: "She's good."
Any woman knows that this is an unacceptable response. So I continued badgering him for details.
He finally added on: "Tanya, she's good. I asked her all of your questions and mine."

Wait a minute. He had "questions"? What kind of "questions"? Did I forget something on my list? Is he going to know something I don't? 

I tried to play it cool. "So, um, what kind of questions did you have?"

Very casually as if asking someone their first name or date of birth, he said, "I asked her why it looks like Neddy doesn't have any nipples."

WHAT! WHY WOULD HE ASK SOMETHING LIKE THAT? O.M.G. -- Now she is going to think this was on my list of questions that I want answered!

I calmly questioned him, "Honey? Why did you ask her that?"

"Because it looks like she doesn't have any nipples. I don't want her to be bullied some day. But don't worry, she said her nipples are fine. They just don't have any pigment yet or something like that."

Please stop saying nipple. Especially when you are discussing our daughter. And how would she get bullied for having no nipples? I am pretty sure we will teach her to not flash people and if she has no nipples, I don't think she would have interest in showing them off. And she is 9 months. Are kids bullying that early now?

"Okay. Do you feel good about that answer? Maybe next time you have a question you could ask me first and I could try to answer it for you?" Because now the doctor thinks it was my question and that I don't understand my own girl parts. 

I swear this question was noted on the Sanderfoot file at the doctor's office. She will never again take me seriously. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear Check-out Lady (Specifically Target Check-out Lady)

We had to make a quick pit-stop at the grocery store today. Shopping with children, like most activities with children, is very stressful. Today as I got the girls out of the car I noticed that my arm was wet. I wiped it on my clothing at the exact same moment that I noticed that Neddy's ass was lined with a brownish liquid. Her body had the great timing to suddenly come down with a mad case of the diarrhea. Awesome. And I am now sporting the scent on my arm and clothes. Double awesome. And we have nothing for dinner so we have to go into the grocery store (don't judge me). I sucked it up and wrapped my sweatshirt around her in the cart. Triple awesome. The children proceeded to hang out of the cart like spider monkeys followed by a lot of kicking, screaming, and hair pulling. (To make matters even worse, those of you that know me, this is horrifying -- one of the bags tipped over in the car while I was driving and my T-Rex arms couldn't reach it so I had to listen to the items roll around in the back. I digress.) As we made our way through the aisles riding in a cart shaped like a blue police car, we attracted a lot of attention (as usual) and it reminded me of a letter that I have been wanting to write for quite some time. 

A Letter to All Check-out Ladies (Specifically Target Check-out Lady)...

Dearest Check-out Lady,
I am sure you are an under-appreciated employee. You stand on your feet all day and scan merchandise for what I am sure is very little money. 
If it is not too much to ask, here is what I need from you:
     1. Shut up and scan. Do not talk to me about my purchases. I don't want to hear about how you have wanted to try that product forever. I don't want to make small talk or hear your hypotheses on why I am buying the shit that I am buying. (Like the time that I happened to be alone at the store buying nuks and pull-ups and you asked if I had children. Duh. Not yet but I am planning on luring some into my car later on and I want to be prepared. Or No. I just really love to suck on a nuk after supper and I am too lazy to go to the bathroom so I buy pull-ups for myself.) Just SHUT UP AND SCAN!
      2. Stop trying to encourage my child to sit down in the cart. I realize it is dangerous. I have asked her to sit on several occasions, but guess what? She is happy and not hurting her sister at this moment so let's just be thankful for what we can, okay? And if she falls out of the cart, I bet she will learn to not stand up in the cart any more right?
      3. Most importantly, when my cart comes through the check-out line and my children look as though an exorcism might be in order, do not offer them a sticker. We do not need to reinforce their behavior when they are acting like Lucifer. In fact, if I must be honest with my requests, don't give us stickers period. The kids just eat them or stick them on the back seat in the car. 
That's it. Those three things could make our shopping experience fast and painless for you and me. 
          Mother of the Red-headed Children That You Always Recognize

Monday, April 1, 2013

Her Eyes

I have read lots of literature and blog posts about loving myself regardless of my shape. I know I need to stop taking myself out of the picture until I lose those unwanted pounds. I know I need to teach myself to love my body so my kids can learn to not be so critical of theirs. THIS IS HARD! 
I am a woman growing up in a society that places so much pressure on females to have unrealistic/unhealthy bodies. 

When I look in the mirror, I only see that extra layer -- muffin top around my tummy. I only see the additional chin when I look at pictures of me smiling. I feel my jeans are just a little more snug than the last time I wore them -- although I blame that on the dryer. I feel my underarm jiggling for an eternity after I have finished waving goodbye. I see and feel all of these things (and more flaws) and I am disgusted.

One of the perks of having two beautiful girls is that they look adorable in whatever I put them in! Their little extra pudge or wild hair only adds to their cuteness. So when I am feeling yucky, I tend to overcompensate with their fluffy dresses and ruffled tights. 

Easter Sunday I was feeling especially unattractive (I realize this is not what Easter Sunday is about so bear with me.) Tried on one dress and hated it. Put on a second and would have probably tried a third/fourth/fifth if I had time (hubby was already tapping his watch and pacing) and more dress options. Like every morning, I glanced in the mirror and saw only the flaws. I scowled and whisked our family into the car for church. The girls were dressed to the nines so I was assured no one would even notice me -- another perk of toting around cute kids.  

As I sat in church and prayed that the kids would behave, Kate asked to snuggle. I picked her up and sat her fluffy dress on my lap and joined in the hymn. She grabbed my cheeks and looked me in the eyes. She gasped and said, "You're reawwy beautiful, Mom!" Oh! My divine intervention!

She doesn't just see flaws. She sees ME. She sees all of me and thinks I am beautiful. 

Right there my prayer changed. I began to pray that I can see myself the way my girls see me. I am posting this because I know this is an uphill battle and I will need a reminder (probably daily) to focus on looking at myself through her eyes.