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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

3 is not better than 2

MOPS started today, which meant I planned to spend yesterday’s free time during “naps” thinking of the ladies at my table, praying for them and brainstorming (and let’s, be honest, pinteresting) ideas for ways to be a blessing to them.  As I was pondering how I can encourage my fellow mommies, I was attempting to tune out my own daughter as she SCREAMED at the top of her lungs in her bed.  Shouting, screaming and yelling about whatever woe she could think up.  For some reason she seems to truly believe that the longer and louder she screams she will ultimately convince me to let her out of bed.  Are you kidding?  This level of volume and anger only reinforces that a major break is in order. Stat.
I’m not ready to sleep!
My baby is too hungry, I need to feed her!
I’m not tired!
I don’t like this!
I’m sick, I’m way too sick for a nap!
I need chocolate milk!
I don’t want to be in here!
This is not good for me!
It’s so boring in my bed!

Eventually she accidentally gave in, on the floor, next to her bed.  I believe it was a final act of rebellion until sleep overtook her. As it turns out, this alleged “nap” was simply preparation for bedtime.  Studies keep telling me that kids NEED tons of sleep because of how fast they’re growing at this age, but my rascal defies science, evidentially. I have no reason to believe that she’s ready to eliminate naps entirely and pretty much refuse to consider that an option.  For the sakes of all involved.

Bedtime was even uglier than nap time!  I played good mom, offering some nice snuggles and setting the scene for truly heartwarming Kodak moments.  I sang, I read, I hugged and kissed. It was sweet.  Until I closed the door.  Then the screaming commenced.  So I played bad mom, threatening, spanking, revoking the distractions that inevitably provoke anger. She’s not a fan of bad mom. And honestly, neither am I!  I hate when the last moments before bed are me being meany pants mommy! Each time I could smell success, I’d close the door to the silent bedroom only to see the light flip back on and the volcano erupt all over again.  Oh the drama from behind that door… Eventually Myles did the unthinkable and took away her favorite activity- her light.  There is currently a light fixture, complete with bulbs sitting on the kitchen counter.  Surely this is not normal?! The child fought us to the end. Adding insult to injury she was up far earlier than normal. I'm out.

Here is what I know; Three is not better than two.  Three has only been around here for four days, but it’s been loud and it’s been mean!  Three does not listen, have manners, eat nicely, or sleep (apparently). Three yells at her brother, takes toys, has meltdowns in the store, at the airport, in the car and at home. Three gives dirty looks.  Three says, “I don’t want you here anymore.” Three is a lot like two, but in our half week of three, it’s not better.

What the heck do I do with this mean little thing that keeps turning on me?! I am trying to figure out where the balance is.  Does she need more discipline, or more grace? What are other people thinking when they see me all but dragging her by her arm in the frenzy of a public meltdown?  Can I admit that I really don’t care anymore? My animal instincts run full force in public and survival mode takes over.  I don’t know the first thing about being a perfect mom, but I sure am glad to have other people in my corner with me.  To all the parents out there who have gotten through three, I salute you and hope to join your ranks in 360 days.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Time Shot

Occasionally I like to step back and take in whatever is happening in my life and imagine what I would have thought if I had seen a glimpse of this situation at some point in the past. Let’s call this a “time shot.”

For instance, my wedding day. If, as a junior in high school, I saw a glimpse of my wedding day, five years down the road I would have been surprised.  We married young and with no regrets.  I didn’t really expect, or even give any thought to getting married in college, but peeking in on that scene as a 16 year old, there I’d be with a man I wouldn’t have known, with bridesmaids I hadn’t met yet.  So weird.

Yesterday was a real gem of a time shot.  The scene: me, bewilderedly talking with my nonchalant 2 (almost 3) year old who has her pants and undies down at her ankles.  Gavin, soaking wet and excited.   What the heck, right?!

We are in the process of moving into a new house and getting all our crap organized.  If you’ve ever done anything with two tiny troublemakers, you know a few things.
1) every little task takes 10x longer to do
2) things can always get worse before they get better
3) a sense of humor is not only important, but vital (else you lose your freaking mind)

Luckily I know these things so I’ve taken proactive measures. We installed a baby gate in Molli’s doorway so I can contain them while productivity occurs throughout the house.  I toss a handful of pretzel sticks over the gate from time to time to improve morale and occasionally a new toy, like a paper cup or a balloon leftover from the previous year’s birthday party.  They generally don’t mind it and when the noise level gets to be too much I just close the door.  However when your two year old is babysitting your one year old behind a closed door it’s important to keep an eye on the monitor.  (side note, can we have a round of applause to whoever invented video monitors?!  A spy camera for my children? Yes, please).

Which brings me to yesterday…

Things were starting to look nice around our new house so I brought an annoyingly random bunch of stuff over from my parents to ruin all the nice. Grocery bags, laundry hampers, totes full of crap littered the new house so, naturally, I locked the kids up and closed the door to do my thing. Keeping an eye on the monitor, they played and I kept my space.  All was well until I saw Molli’s naked booty standing on a chair turning the light off.  Oh dear.

I used the walkie talkie feature on our fancy monitor and asked her what she was doing.
“I’m just turning off the light, Mom.”
She obviously didn’t understand the fullness of my question. I had to intervene.  I opened the door and she just looked at me as if to say, “oh hey mom, I thought that was you at the door. What’s up?” Totally casual.  Like, it’s no big deal that my pants and hello kitty panties are hanging out at my feet. She just stood there.  *Insert TIME SHOT

“What’s going on with your pants, Molli?”
“Oh, I had to go potty.”
“OK, let’s go.”
“Sure Mom, but I already did.”
“Oooh, you need new pants? You had an accident? Let’s go clean up then.”
“No, my pants are dry, not wet.”
“I’m confused.  You went potty already but your pants are still dry? Can you talk to me about that?”
“I went in the cups.”

It was about this time that I looked over at Gavin who was so pleased that I had finally returned that he was up on his knees reaching for me, soaking wet.  Soaking wet, as it turned out, with Molli’s pee.  Using my best deduction skills, I conclude that my daughter had, in fact, managed to urinate in last year’s birthday cups on her table and my son attempted to drink it.  Fortunately (I suppose) he hasn’t mastered cup drinking and spilled it all over himself.

Kids are so gross. 

I stripped Gavin down and cleaned everything up before continuing the conversation with Molli.  I reminded her that we only go potty in the potty unless we are camping or something and there is no potty, then we can go in the woods, but at home we only go in the potty.  She agreed and vowed to only go in the potty.  She sat silently and then stated inquisitively, “But Uncle Brian goes potty in cups.” 

(To ease your mind, Uncle Brian does not go potty in cups.  He had a drug test when he got hired at his new job.  My daughter simply does not forget ANYTHING.)