Saturday, July 26, 2014

Therapy is Unavoidable

Every minute of every day I strive to parent my children in a way that does not drive them to therapy. I am quite sure I have already failed. I have discovered now that #2 is on this earth and I am an expert (cause I have two now, so that automatically qualifies me) that no matter what I do, I am mentally apologizing to my children. I feel that I need to get these apologies down in black and white, so that in twenty years, when these two babes of mine are sitting in front of their virtual therapists in the colony on the moon they will no doubt live in, they can access this blog in a data file on their computer watches and know that I tried. I tried really hard. 

First Born: 
I am sorry it took me 4 years to give you a sibling.
Second Born: 
I am sorry you will never know what it is to be an only child.

First Born:
I am sorry that we made you feel like the world revolved around you for 4 years then thrust another little person into your spotlight.
Second Born:
I am sorry that you will never know what it is like to be by yourself in our spotlight.

First Born:
I am sorry we only ever gave you warmed bottles. I am even more sorry that you believe to this day milk can only be enjoyed warm.
Second Born: 
I am sorry you only get cold bottles. I am sorry you had to realize quickly if you didn't eat it cold then you weren't going to eat it at all.

First Born:
I am sorry we spend so much more time paying attention to brother. He is often on the verge of trying to kill himself with non baby approved things and must be attended to constantly.
Second Born:
I am sorry your sister gets more of our attention. She is older and requires more discipline, more discussion, more entertainment. The only thing she seems to require less of is food.

First Born:
I am sorry I failed to introduce you to more exciting and adventurous foods. I never added any spices or herbs to anything, and now you hate anything that is different. 
Second Born: 
I am sorry I have not made you homemade baby food to match each stage of development. I am sorry all of your food squeezes out of a pouch.

First Born:
I am sorry we never let you cuddle in our bed and it took you three years to realize a bed was for sleeping. I am sorry we were always so worried that we would make you a bad sleeper that we were really strict about your schedule and your sleeping environment.
Second Born:
I am sorry I have led you to believe the best place to sleep is in the car seat. I am sorry we never work around your schedule and your sleep always is an after thought. 

First Born:
I am sorry we didn't expose you to more gender neutral toys. You were like 2.5 before you had a ball.
Second Born:
I am sorry the majority of your toys are pink. Thank you for loving My Little Pony's, pink tea pots, and Barbies.

First Born:
I am sorry you will never know what it is to not be the first, the leader, the oldest.
Second Born:
I am sorry you will always follow someone. I am sorry you will always be younger and expected to go with the flow. 

At least they have each other...maybe they can
 get a group rate at therapy someday.
I know there will be  a million more things I apologize for to these two over their lifetime. I really am doing my best, but as a parent it seems that no matter what I do, the guilt is real and it is ever-present. Someday, they will both have children and will understand that I really was trying hard. It is inevitable that we feel like we are failing our children in some way, little or big, pretty much every minute of the day. Most days I feel like it is a win if everyone is fed, alive, and moderately happy. 

Kids...obviously, there are no right answers and you are both ruined, so at least you will have each other to commiserate over how your parents screwed you up. Bam. Guess I did something right after all. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vacation: The Evolution of a Relationship

Oh Vacation, we used to have a good thing going. Remember? Me and you. Relaxing together in the sun. Things have just changed between us in the last 5 years. What happened, you ask me with a sad face? Kids happened. And like any good marriage, it totally changed our relationship. I still love you, but I don't always like you.

Let me outline the ways we have grown apart, my sweet vacation.

Packing 
Then: The biggest bag I could find, usually more appropriate for a 3 month trip across the sea, filled with anything and everything I could ever need for one week at the beach. 
Now: The smallest bag that will fit the bare necessities. Car space is a serious commodity, and I also have to fit three other people's bags in the car. And pretty much everything needed to keep them alive and not crying for a week. Which is a lot. Somehow this year I forgot flip flops. For my beach trip. Disgraceful. It was probably because I was so worried about remembering everything else in the world we could ever need. 

Driving
Then: Me whizzing down the highway, singing along to my six disc changer and stopping for quick food, drink, and bathroom breaks as needed.
Now: Hubs and I sitting in the front seat, trying to enjoy some grownup radio and intelligent conversation. The big child in the back singing/talking/playing DVDs loudly/making annoying mouth sounds. The little child in the back either sleeping soundly or screaming. I do get to practice car yoga, where I twist and turn to either feed a bottle, reinsert a paci, get snacks, or reach the unreachable. Good news, workout for the week is done. 

Pool Time
Then: Lying about, tanning and reading a book. Floating in the pool. Looking at magazines. Chatting with friends. 
Now: Attempting to keep an overzealous 4 year old who thinks she is an Olympic swimmer from drowning while I entertain a 6 month old in his float. Also, when depth permits, I must watch 7369 handstands and throw various dive toys for retrieval. I am able to indulge in sporadic conversations with my sister in law about parenting challenges, what we like to cook for dinner, and how much it costs to color the gray out of one's hair. Also, there are sporadic conversations with my husband reminding him to please not let the girl child drown. 

Beach Time 
Then: Me on a chair getting a tan and enjoying the calm and peaceful sounds of the waves. 
Now: It's a toss up. Half the time is spent hovering near sleeping baby under the tent, watching all the kids play and wishing I hadn't forgotten my kindle. The other half is spent sitting in a tidal pool with a tankini bottom full of sand and one hand on the baby so he doesn't go face first into the lukewarm fish pee water. 

Dinner Out
Then: A late dinner enjoying pricey seafood, wine, beer, and dessert. Buzzed conversation and heady laughter. 
Now: An early dinner with one child who screams when the food isn't hitting his face at mock speed and another who circles the table like a vulture with a handful of french fries. Then we eat as fast as possible and leave apologizing for the massive amounts of food, broken crayons, and silverware on the floor. There is wine and beer, but it doesn't dull the pain.

The Beach Bag
Then: A cute small bag filled with two books (just in case I finish the first one), a few magazines, a bottle of spf 8 tanning oil and a bottle of 15 tanning lotion, a pack of cigarettes, a coozie, and a towel (don't judge, it was a long time ago). 
Now: A huge bag with 17 different types of sun screen, including sticks, lotions, and sprays ranging in spf from 15 to 70, various beach toys, towels for all, a blanket, snacks, waters, the Ergo, swim diapers, regular diapers, an extra onesie, and wipes. Did I mention we also tote a boogie board, chairs, a tent, and extra large sand shovels? We really need a horse and buggy to get the two blocks. Not to mention the 22 pound baby someone has to carry.

Oh vacation, I know someday we will rekindle our passionate affair. Probably in 12-18 years when the children are only on vacation with us because we provide food and a bed. Until then, we will have to agree to disagree. I will keep visiting you, but it won't be the same and I will be crying toward the end. See you next year, when we try (and fail) again to bring the passion back. Thanks for not giving up on me.


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