November 26, 2017

Despite our wiring...

I was at Scarlett's friend's birthday party today and, without Daisy there to keep me running and worrying, I was free to think about random nonsense for a little while. I stood, arms folded, just watching calmly. Scarlett was off bouncing with her friends and I was chatting with other parents who had a bit of freedom themselves. We started discussing how certain things in our lives have changed since having children. Mainly the stress level, the worry factor and the seemingly endless guilt. But also how we try so hard to teach our kids how to be wonderful people... despite their wiring. I know I'm still trying to be a wonderful person despite MY wiring. I'm as stubborn as they come, I hold grudges, I worry about ridiculous things and I over-think overthinking. It's just who I am, love it or leave it.

I will dissect a situation that is months away, study its pieces, agonize over the unchangeable, glue the pieces back into a ball of stress, occasionally chip tiny bits from it whilst trying to fall asleep one night only to inevitably arrive at said situation and have the most pleasantly carefree time ever. All unnecessary pre-worry. And when someone tells me, "Don't worry about it, you can't change it, it is what it is, leave it at that" it actually makes me defiantly-worry. Like I'm going to get some sort of satisfaction by showing you that I can worry and it'll be for a good reason. Complete loon.

As for the guilt thing, I don't know how it happened but shortly after Scarlett was born I just gained a new feeling. Aside from the C-section numbness in my gut I had this lovely pool of guilt that took up space in my brain... or is it in my heart? Tough to tell. I am forever questioning myself. Even with something as magical as Christmastime! I move that damned elf every night to see the awe and wonder in the eyes of my girls each morning and then feel that PIT of guilt because I'm being sneaky and "tricking" them. I felt guilty writing that sentence. It never ends! Guilt for not putting Scarlett in her dance class holiday showcase. Guilt for not letting her go to every birthday party she is invited to. Guilt for not taking her to ride her bike much. Guilt for sending cereal for most of her school lunches. Guilt for buying her the greek yogurt with added sugar. Guilt for not having many new things for Daisy and relying mostly on her big sister's hand-me-downs. Guilt for not having a big birthday party at our home for Daisy because it is in January unlike Scarlett's usual backyard bash in September. Guilt for putting Daisy down for a nap early sometimes because I just need a break. Guilt for not forcing the girls to eat more vegetables and serving lots of eggs and pancake dinners. BLAH!! I'm not having it. If only some  feelings had off switches.

I know I'm not really doing anything wrong. I know it's my wiring. I know I'm giving my one thousand percent every single day for these kids. I try as hard as I possibly can to mold the girls into caring, respectful, well-rounded, well-read people. I worry, I stress, I make pancakes. But I also spend time reading with them every single night. I draw and color with them at our table. I play silly games and make up crafts and answer as many questions as my brain will allow. I teach them about kindness and being grateful and about traditions. I discuss anti-bullying and inclusion on a regular basis. I tell them nobody is perfect and we can't help but to feel what we feel. I do my best. I hope for them to do their best. Despite our wiring our hearts are good. And we continue to walk our path...

November 20, 2017

The madhouse..

I'm currently listening to the sound of my washing machine swishing soapy water around the filthy straps that came out of the high chair just moments ago. I'm simultaneously pondering when the hell I will be able to put away that high chair for good. I mean Daisy is going to be THREE in January. If you try her in a booster seat with no belt she just flat out will not sit still. She gets up and down thirty-nine times while eating a grilled cheese sandwich. I gave it three days last month. Tried it out. She's the kid that just does not listen. I don't mean like, Ohhhh she's so stubborn she just likes to do things her way. I mean like SHE DOES NOT LISTEN. This kid is the definition of defiant. She has been raking her fingers over the television screen for a solid year now. She has been throwing her dish and cup across the table (or the room) when she's finished with every meal and wants the world to know it. She takes sips of milk or water and spits them out into her bowl and makes "potions." The word NO means absolutely nothing to her. She jumps off the couch. She goes near the stove. She touches everything you tell her not to touch because it's super hot and then announces, "that's hot." She constantly pulls away when you hold her hand and you end up hauling her thirty-five pound ass all over town. This child is adorable and sweet and thoughtful and truly caring but she is a MENACE.

I can't help but wonder how the ol' living room Christmas tree scenario is going to play out. "Daisy, don't touch the ornaments!" Crash. Smash. Glass. Tears. Blood.

The funny thing is that we thought LAST YEAR was something to worry about! She wasn't even two yet and while we still did plenty of guiding her away from things and giving her the low down on what's acceptable and what's non negotiable she's completely upped the anti this past year. Every so often Gregg and I will look at each other and say, "I cannot believe she is STILL doing this!"

You can imagine how fun it is when you throw Scarlett into the equation. "NO DAISY!!!!" is on repeat. Scarlett is a bit short in the patience department to begin with so we have a blast most days. I can honestly admit that during the hours of 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm we completely lose our minds, pray loudly for bedtime and come dangerously close to just walking out of this madhouse leaving them to fend for themselves. On a regular basis. It leaves me wondering what life is like in friends' houses. Do they go through the wild animal hours every night? Is everyone with children on the brink of insanity ninety percent of the time? Does your six year old scream at the top of her lungs that your youngest just threw up all over the place and is about to step in it so you go rushing up the stairs because your husband is in the bathroom and you find two tiny dots of puke that only came out because your little one got worked up after the six year old accidentally kicked her in the head? No? Just me? Eyeroll.

It's not very easy, is it? These wacky kids with their crazy ages and stages. It doesn't actually get any easier I hear, it just changes and we change. I've changed an alarming amount since having these two maniacs - definitely for the better - but I'm left wondering just how much more change do I have on the horizon? If this is 40... what will 50 bring?

August 21, 2017

Please tell me your children are wild ...

Okay, just tell me what I need to hear.
Tell me that your kids are absolute loons.
Tell me that nobody listens to you the first six times you tell them to do something.
Tell me that you still get called up every night an hour after bedtime for ridiculous things like, "I heard a noise that sounded like a car" or "I dropped my bookmark."
That they scream both gleefully and frighteningly for the majority of your day.
That you're never quite sure if someone has broken a bone or snatched a toy based on each scream.
Please tell me that your child wears a very hot and uncomfortable gown to bed even after the ninety-seventh time you've explained that it's the very reason why she's sweaty every night.
Tell me that she refuses to believe you but begs to have her hair put up, her fan turned higher and her cool mist humidifier blowing directly at her head.
Tell me that no matter what cup you give your two and a half year old they choose to drop it on the floor, stuff food into its straw and figure out how to shake water from it at every single meal time.
Tell me they also take mouthfuls of said water and spit it into their dish repeatedly.
That your almost six year old child has started stomping when she doesn't get her way. Stomping. Like that classic image of a spoiled brat we've all come to know and loathe.
That she's also started a new form of whining that is ten thousand percent unacceptable.
That you were certain your second child would potty train early and now you realize that she's been using the toilet seventy percent of the time for eight months with no further signs of readiness and that it's most likely your fault because you simply haven't put enough effort into it.
Tell me that watching your child play with others is sometimes excruciating.
That you constantly sit back and think, Didn't I teach her better than that?
That you always thought you could control all of those things when you became a parent one day. That you now realize you can't.
That you have vodka.

Seas can be a bit stormy sometimes. We go through intermittent swells of horror that dissipate into lulls of wonderfulness. The next time the little ones are pissing each other off I have to reach back in my memory for the image of what their faces looked like when they rode their favorite ride together at the fair last week. Because that minute was one of the best minutes I've ever experienced as a parent. Total joy. And joy is something we strive to find daily when really it should be the biggest part of our day every day.

So for all of the crazy, unpleasant moments that seem to multiply and sometimes never end - I wish you more joy-filled moments. Ones that you can brand into your memory to pull out when you are just a millisecond away from losing your shit. Again.