So, you had a bad day.

Today is a bad mom day. A downright shitty one. Frankly, yesterday was too, but we’re going to focus on today. Every mom in the history of ever knows what I’m talking about when I say this. I’m often sarcastic about my life, which includes the comings and goings of my children, but today, the sarcasm is absent. Because today is a day I could really use a hug. Today, for some reason, the edge is a little nearer, and I’m closer to tumbling over it.

 

Let’s start with this morning, when despite the fact that my toddler went to bed past midnight, both girls woke up at 8am, a solid 2 hours earlier than their normal. I’m still sick and running on less sleep than I really honestly need to be able to kick this. I rolled out of bed knowing that they would be in a tired, cranky funk, and that I wouldn’t have enough patience to fully deal with everything effectively. They almost immediately started crying after getting their milks. It didn’t stop for 2 hours. I have a gnarly sick voice, so they’re hearing exactly nothing I say over the din, not that it would matter.

While they cried, at me, at each other, at nothing, at everything, they trashed things. Not in the way that children normally do as they play. An angry upheaval of our home, ripping things, smashing things, tearing up anything they had enough strength to break. While I tried desperately to maintain the calm and protect our home from complete, real destruction.

The baby crawled into the kitchen while I was wiping the toddler’s butt & ate dog food. And dumped the whole cat/dog water dispenser. Tons of water, everywhere. First things first, I had to clean up the babe. Then the mess just stared at me. Laughing cruelly at me. By this point, I’m near tears. I’m wet, I’m dirty, my already barely in check anxiety is threatening to explode. I’m not handling the day well. I’ve already yelled a couple of times. Loud, raspy, hoarse yelling. Like my neighbors judging me yelling. Which I remind myself of while I’m trying not to cry. Because that seems like the best strategy for falling apart.

 

In an effort to not relive the food and water incident, I load us up to head to Walmart for a baby gate (our fifth one, which now officially closes us in completely). It’s gone from 30 degrees to 80 in a week’s time, so we’re hot and bothered because we’re not used to the temperature. Not a great start. I get to Walmart (which is 3 minutes, and less than a mile, away), and while I waited for my Starbucks, the baby fell asleep in the car seat. We switched to a convertible this week, which means I need to wake her to go in or sit in the Walmart parking lot with a toddler for an hour or more. Not happening. So I go to get us out and realize I forgot the baby carrier because this was supposed to be a 10 minute trip. Cool, now she has to sit up & she’s tired. Recipe for disaster.

We get inside and she’s tolerating it. The toddler is in the back of the seat with her treat from Starbucks, a carton of chocolate milk… My hopeful tactic for remaining calm. It fails. While gate shopping, L gleefully decides that her $2 carton of milk should be sprayed all over the shoes we just bought her 4 days ago. I want to explode because this is becoming a typical behavior. Instead, I just tell her that she’ll stop receiving treats if she’s going to use her powers for evil. 5 minutes in, and as soon as I have stuff in my cart, L has to pee. So we trot all the way to the back bathrooms because they’re the only ones I’m willing to enter. We disembark from the cart (because it’s filled with a gate & I’m not about to get accused of trying to stuff a gate down my pants… #Walmart), without a baby carrier, which means I’ll need to hold R with one arm and help L get up, wipe, get down, and wash hands with the other. We get all the way into the bathroom, and L flatly refuses to pee. She’s laughing hysterically like she’s punk’d me. After some convincing, I give up. We go back to the cart, all buckle in, and go back to shopping. Repeat this entire process two more times. Complete with her refusal to pee. But what do you do with a toddler who has a very low tolerance for holding it?

By this point, I’m sick, I’m hot, I’m tired, I’m DONE. We check out and get to the car. I get R into the car, and suddenly L has to pee again. We’re 3 minutes from home and I don’t want to completely undo a car seat just for her to “trick” me again, so I take the risk of trying to make it home. Big, horrible, stupid mistake. She pees in the car seat. The one that just has to be hand washed, and air dried. Which takes two days. And we literally just returned the spare to my mom’s house LAST NIGHT because we didn’t have the space to store it at our house.

 

We’re home now, my patience so thin it could tear apart at any moment. L is dry. R is asleep in the crib. When L asked to watch “the Boovs”, I happily turned on Home in an attempt to zone out and regroup. Which is really the only option left, because I feel screamy. And also slightly like running away. There is no sarcasm that can laugh this day away, so I’ll just count down until my husband gets home. Or until bedtime.

 

Oh… And just now, as I was proofreading this, L decided to just stand in the living room and pee her pants while watching the movie, then proceeds to tell me we don’t have a toilet, so she peed her pants. Is this day real or am I having a nightmare?

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Fully in survival mode.

Me and my husband are both pretty sick this week with strep throat. I’m not a graceful patient when I’m sick, but my husband just melts into whatever bed or couch is near, and that usually means a crowbar will be necessary to excavate him from the area. Both children, however, are well. Which translates roughly to “we have all this energy to break things and kill each other and mom and dad aren’t gonna do anything about it! mwahahahahaha!!”

Right now, my 8 month old is just hanging out under the dining room table. Normally, I’d have gone to “rescue” her from a situation she doesn’t want remedied, but right now, just hang out there. I’ll throw a blanket over & you can have a fort. I’ll be over here popping DayQuil like it’s candy while you’re at it. Mommy needs this, shortstack.

My 2.5 year old is still in bed. It’s inching up on 11am, but I don’t care. I know it means by tonight that I’ll have pulled all my hair out when bedtime came and went like a leaf in the breeze, phasing no child here. But right now, I’m taking a break, before my sick patience gets tested every 3 seconds. The good news is, I have no voice, so I can’t feel guilty for yelling. Because I can’t. Even when I want to. I can’t tell if that’s a victory or defeat.

Back in the day of childless abandon, I used to grab a couple NyQuil at bedtime and pretend I was queen of my bed for ridiculous amounts of time. That is no longer an option. You see, with children, they do strange things in the night that need tended to. For example, last night, as I’m exhausted, reverting to my inner cavewoman, and snotting from basically every hole in my face, L decided to take a couple laps around the house while yelling “Mommy!!” at 330am. Totally cool. You see, if I’d been doped out on NyQuil, I’d have missed that amazing opportunity to lose more sleep than even necessary. And that’s just not going to work. R also decided to just sit straight up in her crib at 2am and try to play for an hour. Because I wake up randomly at 3am & decide to go for a bike ride. It’s a thing people do (I’m side-eyeing as hard as I’ve ever side-eyed in my life).

Now that the day is ramping up to start getting chaotic, I’m going to employ what I consider to be one of my best mom tools on a day like this: Daniel Tiger on Netflix. Because the more he sings stupid songs that I’ll know until I’m 97, the less talking/moving I have to do. Which is basically what I’m about right now… My husband is at work, so I have to figure out this sick with kids thing on my own today, which basically just means I can’t go “that’s awesome, bet Daddy would like to hear all about that!” But good ol’ DT is going to get me by. He’s my best tiger friend right now.

And coffee. Sick or not, you’ll have to pry my coffee cup from my cold, dead hands.

 

Excuse me while I convince the children that Mommy CAN actually see them through her closed eyelids. Because this plague is going to be the end of me.

Secrets.

I have a confession to make: I have a great many secrets. Secrets that keep this household from falling apart & keep me from a padded room in an asylum. Secrets that – if my toddler learned – would be devastating to our lifestyle.

 

You see… I’m guilty of hiding candy. All over the house. Not because the Easter Bunny just came & we forgot all about it or because I need a quick bribe handy. Because candy is my way to silently stick it to my kids when they’re being gremlins. “HAHA! I have candy & you’re too busy punching the refrigerator to notice!”

I also spend a lot of time in the bathroom. You might think I have an overactive digestive tract if you visited our house during the day, when the toddler is going straight insane. But really, I need a place where someone isn’t in my lap, or pulling my hair, or nudging me because they just can’t get comfortable until they’ve broken at least 6 of my ribs. I need a place where my news feed is actually scrolled by ME. With no fingers “liking” all sorts of random things or scrolling all the way to the top when I’m in the middle of an interesting read halfway down my feed. The bathroom is like my sanctuary. It’s my happy place.

I’ve also become amazing at hiding the fact that I have food in my mouth. And even talking as if I don’t have food in my mouth (when L inevitably has 762 questions as soon as I stuff my face). Because there are so many things in my kitchen that my toddler’s finicky palate just doesn’t appreciate in the way I can. I can love you better than she can, donut. Baby, I can love you better.

 

You see, these secrets are the key to me continuing to stay just a hair above sanity. They give me an out, when toddler hands and baby cries are my whole day. They give me a bit of solace on bad days & add to the vibe on the good ones. If I didn’t have secrets, I can assure you, I would be a wreck. No one person can continue the chaos that is staying home with children without having something all of their own, and with my children’s “what’s yours is mine” attitude, it’s better for everyone if these things stay hidden. If you don’t have some sort of system or happy place established, you’re seriously missing out! And clearly a superhuman.

When kids enter our lives, we give up a lot. This is just my way of grasping at the straws of my previous humanity. It’s still in there somewhere, I think. Maybe. But if the toddler becomes aware of these… all bets are off. So for now, I’ll just be munching on a pop-tart from the kitchen sink while keeping an ear out for toddler/elephant footsteps coming my way.

Got any better ideas? Didn’t think so.

Tantrums, tantrums, everywhere.

Three nights ago, we transitioned both girls out of our room for the night. They are sleeping together in their shared bedroom, and actually doing it pretty successfully. Everyone seems to be getting a good amount of sleep, and even R only wakes once or twice.

Out of nowhere, probably as part of the adjustment, they have both been SO DAMN CRANKY. It doesn’t help that R is in Leap 6 (look up Wonder Weeks if you have an infant. It will save your freaking life) and teething, and L is the ultimate boundaries tester. But they’re both especially grumpy toward us.

Today, for example, L is losing her mind over the fact that she doesn’t own an umbrella. Because she saw an umbrella in a book this morning. Sorry, kiddo, but we’re not going out in 36 degree weather (remember how pleasant the Buckeye State is) to get you an umbrella.

R isn’t to tantrum age yet, she’s still firmly planted in the lets-whine-all-day stage. Which is equally and separately maddening. She wants to lay down, but certainly doesn’t want to lay down. She wants to be over there, but also be over here. Is it a thing to hire a babysitter just for me to go sit alone in a Starbucks somewhere?

To save some of our sanity, today we’re planning to make muffins. Not just any muffins. Chocolate chip zucchini muffins. They’re delightful. But also a great way to keep small hands busy. The tiny one will likely be thrown on my back in the baby carrier to save her the horror of being put down to play for 10 minutes.

Being a mom sometimes means just finding as many different ways to stay busy as is humanly possible until other adults can come and join the madness. Which will be exactly my parenting style until 5PM when my husband gets off work. Just give me a top hat and call me the Mad Hatter until then. Because life is making just about that much sense at our house today.

If any of you super parents have any pro-tips on keeping the sanity in your house, please feel free to share them with those of us who are struggling.

Sunshine in Ohio… with small kids

My phone tells me it’s 66 degrees outside (because I need my phone to tell me whether or not it’s nice outside). It’s sunny with just the perfect amount of cottonball clouds. Our windows are open. We’re donning shorts and tshirts. It’s March in Ohio. It shouldn’t be quite this nice, but it is. You know what they say about March. In like a lion, out like a lamb, blah blah blah, who cares.

It’s so incredibly nice out, but we’re sitting here watching Tangled. R is not a super napper, but requires a pretty strict naptime schedule or she becomes something akin to a baby ax murderer. Daylight Savings Time has ruined that. She isn’t happy, but she’s sleeping a ton today to make up for the fact that she slept a total approximate 47 minutes all night.

So here we are, waiting for the moment she wakes up so we can walk down to our neighborhood playground, and the girls can officially both throw a fit in public. My favorite… Whatever. We just need some fresh air. I can only open the windows in any given room about 2in, because we live on the 3rd floor, and if there’s a way to be found, my 2 year old WILL find a way to dislodge the screens and toss herself to the ground three stories below (that’s what my mom brain has convinced me, anyway). This air is not fresh enough.

L is convinced I’m lying about going outside when R wakes up, so to keep me honest, she’s decided to ask me about it every 3.7 seconds. In the loudest speaking voice I’ve ever heard. It’s all I can do to keep from losing my s&!t right now. Kid, I get it, I don’t want to stay in this cramped apartment that somehow has the perfect acoustics for amplifying your shrieks to a decibel above death. But mommy’s brain melting won’t get us to that playground any quicker.

I should be using this naptime to get this morning’s dishes into the dishwasher, but sitting somewhat clean in the sink is the best I’m willing to manage right now. So instead, I’ll just listen to Disney recount Eugene & Rapunzel’s love story for the umpteenth time and wait for the “I’m awake, come get me RIGHT THIS MINUTE” wail from the monitor.

 

Maybe I can at least convince the angry toddler that they won’t let us into the playground unless I go cash in my free Starbucks first. That’s a thing, right? Yep, it is. I decided.

Rain, rain, go away.

As I sit here, rain falling without end just outside the window, L is currently tearing the house apart, nail by nail. R won’t stop crying, just endlessly fussing, no matter what I do, or how many brightly colored babywearing devices I whip out in a fury of frustration. I’m dead from the neck up, with no amount of intravenous coffee to cure the scenario. Rainy days can suck it.

 

Just yesterday, we got some good news about R’s health, so we spent the whole day out in the world, celebrating the fact that for the foreseeable future, we have no worries. We took the girls to lunch at a fun Italian place built in an old abandoned warehouse. Lots of things to look at, lots of fun to be had. Then we spent the day wandering around aimlessly, just enjoying that it was nice enough in this gloomy month to have our coats off.

Today is a different story. We woke up to gray. Just gray. Rain. Nastiness. Right then, I knew. Today would be a disaster. Today would be a day I counted down until B walked in the door at 3:30. The girls are stir crazy, after only 15 minutes of being awake. Because you see, any normal day, we would have jumped from our beds with no regard toward the fact that there were things to be done or food to be eaten. We’d immediately launch ourselves out the front door, to enjoy the blissfulness that is February in balmy, sunny Ohio. We’d romp in the snow, rain, sleet, ice, until our fingers fell off with frostbite and we needed hypothermia blankets. So the 15 minutes of calm that I enjoyed makes perfect sense. Because clearly this is already impeding our day.

You see, when toddlers are confined to any less than 173 acres of running space, vertical space becomes premium. They begin to climb the walls, swing from the ceiling fans, scale the chimney. When babies see toddlers using the refrigerator as their own personal Mt Everest, they tend to cheer them on, in the form of vicious shrieks and ear drum-rattling wails. Then, cooperatively, they decide that mom needs to be a part of this. In the form of crying in the corner as they close in on me, while I’m thinking back on times when life wasn’t about the poop v chocolate debate. PS, it’s almost always poop. Knowledge is power, y’all.

The day is bleak.

As a reward for spending our day out yesterday, our dog has decided to spread his lunch of litter-covered cat poop across our living room. The cat, who fully appreciates her private matters being spewed across the house, is being especially happy. And by happy, I mean she’s violently hissing at the dog with every move he makes.

 

All in all, it’s been a delightfully wonderful dark, rainy, disgusting day. And it’s only 1:00. Which is an appropriate time for wine, right? Fine… more coffee it is.