Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Are Things Going?

Everyone wants to know how things are going. How am I doing? How are the boys? How is the baby? Here are the highlights/low points of the last week, you can decide how it's going.


Highlight:

We successfully made it to swim lessons, twice, on time. Aiden loves the lessons and can swim now!

Low Point:

Stella screamed through most of swim lessons. Cole tried to run away from me, usually toward the water, during most of swim lessons. Aiden pointed to a very nice, very large woman sitting behind us at swim lessons and asked me in a very direct and loud voice, "Why is that lady so FAT?" Awesome.

Highlight:

We have yet to have any physical fighting in the car among the children. My Mom gave us stories on cassette (oh yes, my car has a cassette player) that help my children be quiet in the car. Aiden helps keep Stella peaceful by monitoring the shade over her and putting the pacifier in her mouth when necessary, it's awesome.

Low Point:

After successfully loading everyone up in the car. Stella began to scream much beyond Aiden's ability to console her. Cole peed his pants in his car seat and then began to scream because I wouldn't pull over to change him. Aiden discovered his bag of fruit snacks did not contain a single orange (this is truly tragic) and began a moaning-screaming fit. I quickly grabbed the remaining fruit snacks and threw them out the window, pulled into the nearest Starbucks, and much to the frustration of the drive through employee trying to hear me over my children's screams, ordered my favorite $5 drink because no human should suffer through moments like that without some sort of reward. I unfortunately am not yet a prescription drug user...which is something I feel could probably ease my suffering during those types of moments but for now I go to Starbucks.

Highlight:

Stella slept from 11:00 pm until 5:00 am one night and then 10:30 pm until 6:30 am the next. This officially sealed her status as my favorite child.

Low Point:

Cole refuses to go to bed at night without a dose of melatonin. Cole refuses to nap unless heavily drugged (which I don't do, but we all might be happier if I did.) Cole woke up anywhere from 4:00 am to 6:00 am each morning and threw about a million tantrums due to his exhaustion. This officially pushed Cole down to status as my least favorite child.

Highlight:

Friends have kindly been bringing us dinner and it has made our evenings manageable. I can actually make it through dinner time without losing my mind and usually have been able to sit down and actually eat the meal. This is something I rarely did when I had the boys and it makes me very happy. I love my friends.

Low Point:

While one friend was at my house dropping off dinner, major chaos erupted. Cole was half naked after a potty disaster and sweating profusely while bouncing on the bed. Aiden was hysterical because Cole wasn't supposed to be jumping on the bed, was supposed to have on underpants and no one was listening to him. I had just been vomited on by the baby and had to go pantless myself while I cleaned up the vomit, changed the baby and yelled at my other children to please chill out. I'm pretty sure my friend won't be reproducing again anytime soon for fear that she won't even be able to keep pants on while guests are at the house.

Highlight:

Cole had 4 days of zero accidents in his underpants.

Low Point:

I discovered Cole can not go to preschool in August unless he is potty trained and became desperate for him to figure it out, fearing he will be home with me all school year, half naked and sweating while jumping on beds. Yesterday, after Cole pooped on his race car rug in his room my fears were amplified. I realized I had been taking him to the potty on schedule rather than him actually letting me know he had to go...which pretty much means I am potty trained (which isn't nearly as impressive as him being trained) but he's still going to poop his pants unless I am constantly standing by him waiting for a sign that he needs to be taken to the potty. I am offically on poop watch for the summer, which just sucks.

So how are things going? My kids are nuts. I am probably at least partially nuts, but, I feel like I can more or less handle all of these situations without too many tears, which makes me pretty happy. I love my family, I love my friends and I love my life. So I think it's going pretty damn well. What do you think?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And Then There Were Three, But Still Just One Me

Two weeks ago, three days late, after 5 hours of labor, I officially became a mother of three. My daughter finally arrived. Officially a girl, little Stella is beautiful and quite simply perfect for us.
I've done the labor thing twice before and that was pretty much the same as the others, just a little faster. But seeing that little girl...I felt overwhelmed by immediate love and devotion. I loved my boys when they came out but I think with each child I have felt more aware of how amazing my children are, or will be, that seeing her reminded me that I get to love and be loved by another amazing child. I am so blessed.


...And then I came home from the hospital to the very challenging reality that, oh Dear Lord, I have three children that I have to take care of...at the same time. My parents were here to help the first few weeks which was great. I had help with the boys so that I could take a nap and sleep in. I could take Aiden to his first swim lesson 5 days after giving birth. I could maintain a reasonably clean house, which I really enjoy. I could function without losing my mind over the smallest little thing, more or less...there was one rest time where I lost it and took away about half of my kids toys while screaming at them.

Then Friday morning they left me. After days of deteriorating behavior from both boys, my parents rapidly packed up, fueled up, and got the hell away from the ridiculous situation my reproduction has created here. The days before their departure involved Aiden spitting at my Mother, Cole peeing all over himself and the floor while screaming about not having to go to the bathroom, Aiden kicking me and my father, Cole pooping in his underwear and then running around the house while small bits of feces dropped on to my no longer reasonably clean floor. Pretty much anything can send either boy into a fit of screams and irrational behavior that made me feel like I should just abandon any discipline attempts, take the Flip out and start filming for my Nanny 911 audition tape. Clearly there is a serious situation going on here and we are going to need professional help.

I hear that the older children acting out after the birth of a baby is normal. I feel zero comfort from this alleged normality, I feel like a failure as a mother. I feel overwhelmed by even the possibility of being left alone with all three of them. I feel like blaming some of this on my husband but I hadn't quite figured out how to articulate an accusation toward him that made him responsible for this nightmare (other than him being the one that helped to create these currently horribly behaved human beings.)



I feel badly about how my kids are acting, but my anxiety over my children's poor behavior was amplified by my parents' presence, feeling like their judgement over each move I did or did not make was being carefully recorded in their heads for future discussions when my first child is thrown in juvenile detention a few years down the road due to my poor parenting and I am forced to ask my parents for a loan for a good lawyer. I was so embarrassed to have my parents see their grandsons act out so horribly. I am tired, overly emotional and terrified that these boys are going to make having three kids impossible if I had any plans of maintaining sanity and any joy in my life. I'm going to have to sell a child...and I am going to pretend that it would be difficult to choose which one because the fact that I immediately know which child makes me feel like an even worse mother.



So now they are gone. I am alone with all three and I'm surviving...some moments I excuse myself to the bathroom to cry for a few moments from frustration, but surviving. The thing is, the baby isn't a problem at all. She eats, she sleeps, she poops (and never on the floor) and makes little baby noises...all very manageable. But her, on top of the two boys makes things rough. She wants to eat ever 2-3 hours during the day and me sitting down to nurse her is a clear sign to the boys that I am trapped and it would be a good time for them to decide to attack one another, draw marker all over the house or eat as many packs of fruit snacks as they can physically handle before I can move again.



We've been to swim lessons, twice to the pool, twice to the park and yes people....the grocery store, without any problems. I'm apparently an amazing Mom, despite my fear of the boys. It turns out I can handle all three, with the help of a periodic bribe and a few tears from all of us. I have had to implement a zero tolerance policy for any whining, tantrums, fighting, etc. in order to function, which is possibly making things more difficult right now but we're working on things. I have hope for the future. I think I may be able to keep all three alive, and possibly even some day give them a happy childhood. For right now, I am working on, praying for a little grace to not lose my mind every time one of my kids does the slightest thing wrong. It is really challenging, very overwhelming, but I keep telling myself....I am in charge. I am in charge. I am in charge. Someday soon I hope I believe it.