Monday, August 25, 2014

I Didn't Know

I didn't know it would be this hard. It is just keeping small humans alive. A little food, some milk, water, get them out of the house regularly, and they should be good to go. Right? RIGHT? But it takes so so so much more. It takes backbone, and nerves. Humor. Patience. It takes organization and understanding. It takes love and soul and strength in equal measures. And it takes patience. Did I mention that one? Mad patience.

I didn't know it would be this hard to be a parent and a wife. Being married is work. Being a parent is exhausting. Being a wife and mother at the same time is damn near impossible to evenly and fairly balance. Someone loses out on affection. It is almost always the spouse. I now understand why the weight of children can make the cracks in a relationship spread and separate until the whole is no longer whole, but two parts. It is imperative to find common ground and appreciation to fill those cracks. Make gratitude the cement that repairs those fissures, or at least holds them safely until you can devote the proper time and effort to mend them. If you don't, the responsibility of parenting will weigh so heavy on your relationship that it will be in danger of breaking permanently.

I didn't know it would be this hard to coordinate life for a family. There is preschool, childcare, play dates. That is in addition to the procurement of food, clothing, and other necessities. My entire day is pieced together like a carefully conducted three ring circus. The dancing poodles need shoes, the elephants have tumbling, and the trapeze artist has prescriptions to be picked up. And the entire show is scheduled around work, nap times and meals. 

I didn't know it would be so hard to say no. Saying yes is easy. Yes, I will buy this candy if you will be good. Yes, I will let you stay up late. Yes, I let you run wild instead of walking beside me like a normal person. But there must be some no's. There have to be no's. A lot of them. And they are so much more work. No must have follow through. No must be explained. It is imperative to show that no is serious business. An edict and not a suggestion. It is often unpleasant and ill received. It is never popular. 

I didn't know it would be so exhausting. I didn't know I would cry out of frustration and anger and sheer weariness of life. I didn't know kids are excellent at hurting parent's feelings. I didn't know how lonely it can feel being the one in charge of everyone else's lives.

I am not on the verge of a breakdown. I am actually very happy with my life and my marriage and my family. I am just being honest. It is all very very hard.

But there are other things I didn't know. I didn't know how much I would appreciate having a spouse who has my back and stands by my side. I didn't know how much I would need my friends, nor how much I would appreciate them. I didn't know that one great moment with my child can make up for the 72 terrible moments preceding it. I didn't know seeing my kids laughing together would literally break my heart wide open. I didn't know that being a mom would be like this. But nothing is ever what we think it is going to be. Somethings are better. And some things are so much harder.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Six Days

Six more days. Six. I can do anything for six days, right? 

Summer, we are so so so done. I cannot bear another second of you. I need you to go back where you came from. I need normalcy. I need schedule. I need my child's sanity back. I need MY sanity back. Six. More. Days.

The last weeks of summer are awful. As a mother it ranks up there with the last weeks of being pregnant, the end of Christmas vacation, and the time between starting a sick kid on antibiotics and them going back to school. It all sucks. Big sucks. Not little sucks. Big Big Big ones. The largest of sucks.

My girl is losing her mind. She swings from telling me she loves me
That isn't makeup. That is the warpaint of her people.
It means she will kill someone if they tell her she
can't use the iPad to play the Frozen game. 
to telling me that I am a mean mean mommy. Within like 15 minutes. It is really confusing. She has made me cry three times in the last two weeks. I have cried to my husband. My friends. Even my boss. I never knew a four year old could hurt my feelings. But she does. A lot. Today after I bought her ice cream she got mad and screamed at me in the parking lot of the Teeter that she wanted a new mommy. So I offered to find her one. Instead of making her happy, considering I offered to do exactly what she asked for, it enraged her even more and she started wailing and screaming like I told her that they made all the My Little Ponies in the whole world into dog food and glue. 


I can't decide what about school starting back is most thrilling. Is it the schedule? Cause we haven't seen one of those in a few months. Hello decent bedtime again. I love you. Or is it the fact that I will get some time to myself again? Maybe I can stroll the aisles of Target alone. Or go to the bathroom alone. Or drink a cup of coffee and look at Facebook without someone sitting thisclose to me and asking me who every single person in my feed is. Or maybe it is that I can drop her off and know that she is excited and busy and learning, and I no longer have to meet any of those needs on a minute by minute basis. And when I pick her up she will be tired, happy, and socialized. And she will be excited to see me, instead of annoyed that I am actively trying to keep her from having any fun ever and that I never let her listen to her and that I am so so mean.

So six more days. Six days of frantic texts with friends for play dates. Six days of bad attitude, eye rolling, and whining. Six days of being the mommy punching bag, and then all will be right with the world. Lord help me. I may not make it. And if you see me somewhere in public with tears in my eyes and a child who appears to be having some kind of mental break down, just look the other way. We will be fine in six days.

(Did I mention the wee one is also going to school? Six days. Six days. Six days.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to Not Spend the Weekend at the Lake

Me on Friday: "Awesome, we have a weekend away at our friend's lake house! We haven't seen these families in about a year and haven't really hung out in much longer. We are so pumped. There is going to be lots of kids, lots of fun, lots of beers, and lots of catching up."

Except none of that happened. Because we were only there for 27 minutes.

Sometimes road trips are so easy. We pack, fill the car, get everyone situated with DVD players and pacis and water, and hit the road. Then we drive where we are going with minimal stops and no drama. 

Then there are the other times when everything goes wrong and our weekend away dies a fiery death. This past weekend was more like the second one.

We decided at about 11am on Friday to drive to the lake after work instead of waiting until Saturday morning. Hubs got off work early, we packed the car, and then hit the road. First, the dog got dropped of across town at the kennel. Then we went downtown to make a "quick" swing through a store for Hubs to buy a hat he really wanted only to discover they didn't even have the right color in stock. We got back in the car and realized the beloved DVD player was at home on the couch. Not in the car. GO back home and grab the DVD player. Finally get on the road. Head out of town. Cue the crying from a hungry little dude (of course now it is dinner time because it took us an hour and a half to get out of town.) I do car yoga to feed him a bottle. He stops crying for 3.4 minutes, and kicks it to new, more impressively high levels, so I crawl into the backseat and cram my not small self between an infant seat and a booster seat to feed the child puffs, one at a time, to keep him happy until we can stop for dinner. 


30 minutes go by of us passing countless strip motels that I am quite sure numerous people have been murdered in, and I am still sitting on the side of my hip between two kid seats and feeling a little bit panic-attacky. We pull up to a Wendy's and Little Bear finishes up dropping a shadoobie. No problem, we are about to get out. Perfect timing. We pull in, LadyB then puts on her shoes (because actually being ready would be ridiculous.) Hubs and child leave me to pry myself from between the two car seats and balance on the door frame to put my own shoes back on (there are too many blankies and bags to actually put my feet on the floor board) and then hop out of the car. I grab baby and meet the other two in front of the bathrooms. 

And then all hell brakes loose. Hubs looks down and casually says, "there is poop coming out of his diaper." However, this was not a casual amount of poop. Now I know how the people of Pompeii felt when they saw the lava coming and knew it wasn't going to stop. Ever. This is a gushing onslaught of baby-that-is-teething-and-ate-prunes-in-oatmeal-for-breakfast poop. You cannot stop it once it starts oozing. You cannot even hope to contain it. You can only get somewhere fast and lay the child completely flat to quell the seepage. Unless you are at the Wendy's on Highway 29 outside of Danville. Because they don't have a changing table. Really, was that too much out of your bottom line, a-hole who owns this Wendy's? WAS IT?
I felt like you needed a visual. It was like this, but so so so much worse. 
Pause that debacle for one second and let's turn to what is happening with the girl. Right when Daddy points out the poop situation, she grabs her stomach, doubles over, and does a mini barf right on the floor of the Wendy's. Because I am holding the exploding baby, Hubs ushers LadyB into the men's bathroom to try and get her straight. I can hear them scurfuffeling over too much whining and not enough using the bathroom, and I am stranded there with poop everywhere, the baby bag and my purse on the floor. I somehow manage to pick up my bags and I carry the child out a la Rafiki showing Baby Simba off on Pride Rock. If baby Simba was having diarrhea down the front of that wise and colorful baboon. I finally get out to the car, followed by a greenish little girl and an angrievated Dad. We get the epic diaper changed in the back of the car after taking out the cooler full of beer, make HoneyB put her shoes back on and get back out of the car, and I make everyone go back in. I was hungry, dammit. 

Back in the car 13 min later, the girl had eaten only three french fries, mom and dad were full, and baby was asleep. Every 15 minutes we ask her if she feels OK. We are clipping along and all of the sudden a huge bird, I am guessing maybe a pelican or a bald eagle, hit our windshield with a murderous thud, and we all screamed. I may have had a heart attack. I was seriously starting to that this trip was cursed. 

We recover from being part of the bird-suicide-situation. All was back to normal except I could not stop sneaking looks at the Puker until she finally yelled at me to stop looking at her. I now have identified that as barf behavior, along with epic whining. When these two things happen, you are in the hot zone. Lesson learned. At the time we were telling ourselves she just reacted to the lava doodee. I knew down deep it was probably more, but we really wanted this weekend to happen. 

Fast forward an hour and 15 min. We finally pull up to the lake house. Girlfriend spent the previous 30 minutes chugging water. All of the sudden she starts SCREAMING that she has to pee. Like shrill insane banshee style. I am frantically trying to get out of the car because I think she is about to pee her pants and she turns her head to the right and hurls. All. Over. The. Seat. Not to the left, out the door. To the right. Into the car. 

So that was it. Hubs cleaned the car, I cleaned the girl, and then we got back in the car and headed back home. Both kids slept the whole way and we actually spent our time talking to each other.  

Of course, she wasn't sick again, and it probably all would have been fine. Maybe she was car sick, or ate something that didn't agree. But I wasn't running the risk of being patient zero in a house with four other families. Because I don't want people to hate me. 

So instead of an awesome weekend full of playing, and board games, and telling old stories, and drinking lots of beer, we hung around our house and fought a lot and lived out of our suitcases like squatters because we were too lazy to unpack. 


And to really top things off, I just found the bags of barf and poop clothes that got buried in the back of the car. It was like Christmas, if Santa hurled all over your favorite skirt and then pooped up your onesie, and then stored it in plastic bags in your car in August in the South. Happy Holidays to me.

Hopefully the next trip will be more like that first option I mentioned. The one that made no mention of bodily fluids or raw sewage.


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