Monday, January 10, 2011

Sometimes You Can Only Help One

There is very little joy around here  between 5 and 7 pm.  Invariably one, or all three, of my children are crying at the same time. It spins me into panic mode and every night I curse under my breath (or perhaps just within ear shot of the baby because I still feel she's not going to repeat it....I have plans to blame Alex if her first word is shit,) that tomorrow will be different.  It usually isn't.

Usually my biggest problems are Cole and Stella.  Aiden can more easily be pacified by playing.  Cole and Stella seem to team up against me and present their starvation and exhaustion simultaneously every night. 

Last night was one of these nights.  The day was pretty normal.  I didn't feel any need to fear the evening like I do some days where naps have been missed or we've done something particularly exhausting (which for them is usually joyful) like a bounce house.

But at 5:00 Stella was unable to be content doing anything other than being carried around in my arms and Cole started whining, and periodically full on screaming, about everything.  I seriously mean everything.  He screamed from hunger and then laid on the kitchen floor and cried when I tried to give him food because all he wanted was hot chocolate.  Dear God, this is just mean.

The ridiculous thing is that my parents are still here and are really helpful.  But when shit hits the fan, no one wants Grandma or Tractor or the way they prepare things.  All children insist on Mommy....probably because I have raised them to recognize and go after the best they can see and I'm simply awesome to them, except when I am screaming and then Cole claims that I scare him, oops.

Trying to make dinner while holding an 18 pound, drooling, crying child is horrible.  My mother in law always tells me she used to make dinner at lunch time so that when everyone got hungry at 5:00, things were ready.  She's smart. This is a wonderful idea, but I never seem to execute this plan.  I feel like I am scrambling only slightly less at noon than I am at 5.

I do have rest time on most days that I could cook....but let's be honest, I am so excited to not have three kids hanging on me for a few minutes that I would rather facebook and catch up on what the Kardshians are doing than proactively cook to avoid the disaster that will surely occur that evening. I totally have my priorities straight. I know....I'm only punishing myself.

So last night, after I got food for Cole (minus the requested hot chocolate) and was able to feed Stella, I realized that Cole was so exhausted he needed an emergency early bedtime. I abandoned his virtually untouched dinner and dragged him screaming to the tub.  This left Stella needing attention and a bottle and Aiden eating dinner alone, which is depressing but probably a good life skill to learn to eat solo.

This moment happens all the time though.  I have to pick one to help and the others have to figure it out for a while.  I hate this aspect of having multiple kids.  Stella probably should have been put in the bath at that time too.  She probably would have benefited from an early bedtime, but I can't do both...especially when one is screaming.

Geez, do I have too many kids?  Will I forever be rotating attention while sacrificing the other two's needs?  When is my husband going to go get fixed so I am not helping one while avoidng THREE!?!?  

Over the holidays I took Cole out for a few hours to run errands and had the best time with just the two of us. It was fantastic to be able to hear everything he had to say.  We could walk where he wanted to go and no one else was crying about our decisions.  He was happy and adorable because I was meeting his every need.  Is this what it is like to have one child?  I don't even remember it just being Aiden and I.

I know I need to be better at strategizing, or better at finding peace within myself when everyone else is falling apart (that's the definition of peace on my coffee mug,) but it's tough.  I don't want to be in a constant strategy session to stay 10 steps ahead of my children's tears and screams.  I don't think I will ever be able to not feel my blood pressure rising when all my kids start crying at the same time.  It sucks. 

I think the kids will be ok, I'm more worried about me. They are probably learning valuable lessons in not being the center of the world.  I on the other hand will probably be found passed out from some sort of stroke on my kitchen floor while my children continue to shout requests at me for things like a blue straw instead of a green one for their water or to get them a tissue that is slightly out of their reach unless they actually move. 

I need to have more moments like this when we were on the road, in a crappy hotel and all three kids were happy and content.



I know everyone will find peace knowing that I already know what I am making for dinner tonight and I plan to start it immediately after rest time begins....unless Keeping Up with The Kardashians is on or I feel like checking my email or we get really exciting mail today or I find a cool new app for my iphone.....Ok, I'll brace for screaming.

1 comment:

Erin aka Mama Dub said...

Hey girl. I just read your post on Statesman.com {or something like that}. A friend just posted the link on Facebook.

I saw that you lived in Austin. We too live in Austin, Round Rock to be exact. I have a 16 month old little boy.

Maybe we can meet up one day for a play date. That would be fun. I have several others that have little ones that would be interested in tagging along. THEN... we need a Spa night :) lol