Insanity

It’s been awhile since I’ve sat at this computer writing to anyone who will read. Partially because we really DON’T live a very interesting life, and I run out of things to say, but also because this life is crazy.

Having a “crazy” life in parenting terms doesn’t really mean the same as having a crazy life pre-kids. Not by a long shot. It’s just that crazy is the only descriptor that works for it. Isn’t there a quote floating around, *supposedly* by Albert Einstein that says something like “‘crazy’ is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results”? It’s so, so apt for parenting, even if old Bert didn’t say it.

I get up in the morning, usually after being up FAR too late with my children, or sometimes to escape my children, and I say the same thing: “today is a new day”. But that’s where my particular brand of crazy begins. Because while it may be a new day, I’ll be doing basically the exact same things I do every day, and hoping against hope that today will be less hectic.

For example, every meal that I feed my children goes exactly the same way. Because I feed them. And because they seem to think that’s something I do for funsies, and not because they need the sustenance they’re both oh-so-sneakily handing off to whichever 4-legged friend will participate in the game. But I keep feeding them the same way, mostly because that’s not really optional, but I keep hoping against hope that today will be the day they calm the eff down. If we could survive with zero food, I’m guessing half of the moms in the world would just be like “eh. We’ll skip food for this ridiculous stage and pick this back up when they’re 11 or 12, when they’re ready to develop an unhealthy relationship with comfort food, like I have.” In fact, I’m sure of it. But here I am, gearing up to ask these heathens what they want for lunch.

I also do the dishes, like some of you out there. Occasionally. And every time, I’m like, this is it! My house will stay clean for forever because I did one load of dishes. I consider buying a cape for the occasion, because doing a load of dishes with small “helpers” in the house seems super human. Then breakfast, lunch, ¬†dinner, snacks, other various dish-related nonsense happens. And since I’m too busy wrestling food from an animal or scrubbing a child that felt like food was actually finger paint, the dishes remain unwashed. Then, night rolls around and I stare around my house, wondering how this could’ve happened. Where did all these dishes come from? ¬†How could I have let the house implode in just a day? Oh, wait.

You see, I really am an intelligent person (most days), but parenting and existing are things that don’t intermingle that well in my mind. I can’t seem to figure out how to do this parenting thing without losing my crap completely. I look at people with older children and I don’t understand how they made it that far without being locked in a padded cell for a bit, you know, just a little respite.

Just admit it, it doesn’t sound that bad to you, does it?

All these mistakes I’ve made…

Let’s just face it. As parents, we fail. We fail, and fail, and fail. We succeed, too, but sometimes our triumphs are marred by all these other mistakes we make. I’m not talking about like… Your kid going to Harvard vs going to prison kind of triumphs and pitfalls. I’m talking about all this day to day nonsense that just keeps coming, like an endless, angry train, threatening to collide straight into any sense of normalcy you might’ve once had.

To make you feel better, I’ve decided to share what will certainly be the downfall of my sanity. So, without further ado, my most upsetting mistakes as a parent:

  1. Handing my one year old a muffin. This may seem innocent enough, but the repercussions of this mistake will be felt for years to come. When we move, many moons from now, this mistake will be felt in the stares of volunteers/loved ones, come to uproot our old life with us. They’ll stare because it will be found in our couch, in the corners of every room, and smeared somewhere that shouldn’t have been accessible to her, at a mere 30 inches tall. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll have cleaned many times since this incident, but it won’t matter. The joy of moving will have been ruined in one fell swoop. A crumby (get it?) end to an era.
  2. “We probably won’t need it”. This is one mistake I make over and over and over again. You see, I’m an overpacker. And my tendency to bring everything but the kitchen sink with me means I’m also habitually ditching said stuff to be left in the car because it’s just too much to deal with. This backfires on me exactly 100% of the time. Because I do this, roughly 85% of our outings end in me losing my patience & us leaving before we should. Or end with me covered in poop. Either way, I don’t know why I keep making my own life so hellish.
  3. Having a late dinner. Why, why, why? Why anyone thinks this is a good idea with children is beyond me. It starts so seemlessly. Engrossed in something else, the children will be little angels. For a time. Inevitably, when we decide it’s time to eat, our children will commence in what is likely similar to summoning demons. “Witching hour” does not do justice to the chaos & disaster that unfolds the moment a pan hits the stove. For the remainder of our cooking and eating experience, our house becomes a free-for-all, where my children turn into miniature versions of Mike Tyson circa 1997, complete with ear-biting. It’s like their one mission in life is to see if they can break their parents before they’re served what is clearly prison mush in their eyes. It will be an utter failure, and everyone will eat canned soup.
  4. Taking children to my doctor’s appointment. The last time I made this mistake, I took both of my children, then 9 months (R) and 2.75 years (L), to the eye doctor with me to get contacts. Frankly, the memory has me cringing. When L wasn’t slamming into the eye checker machine thing (we’ll pretend that’s what it’s called), R was screaming. Aggressively. L became convinced that the doctor was attempting to murder me, via eyeball. R started throwing things. And in a spectacular ending to the hour that went on for years, L decided that she needed to pee, and without any sort of warning, dropped trou in the middle of the office, for everyone to see, while I only had one contact in my eye. Neat. By the time we left, I was certain I was 2 minutes from a breakdown.

 

 

The list of mistakes is long, but I have to say, these are my most painful. They may seem small, but I will carry the sorrow and regret from these experiences with me until I die.

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.

Leaving the house with kids.

I have an errand to run today after naptime. It’s a solid 25-30 minutes away, and we won’t be getting out of the car, so you could say it really won’t be anything but me driving the children around for an hour. I’m dreading it already, and we’re still a solid 2.5 hours from it. But leaving the house with two kids is like being punched in the face with the reality of how much your children want to break you.

Toddlers do their best toddlering when their parents are trying to accomplish something. Mine, for instance, LOVES to “need” to pee every 4.5 minutes for the entire time we’re out of our house, despite the fact that she only goes every 2ish hours while we’re home. The delight of using any disgusting public restroom we can find within the required 47 seconds before she pees herself is just too much for her to contain. She lives for peeing in nasty bathrooms. Her only mission is to touch as much of a foreign toilet seat as possible. It’s her lifeblood.

I’ll also need to pack 37 snacks, because the only time to eat is in the car. Because where else can you create that level of crumbage with no access to a vacuum that doesn’t cost $17 in all quarters? It’s just not to be beat. Also, don’t forget to pack the juice that makes your toddler pee every 4.5 minutes. We should invent a carseat with a bedpan. That’d be great for us.

We’re also going to need various toys to keep them from losing their ever-loving minds, and since I’m that obnoxious mother who doesn’t like noisy toys (don’t judge me until you’ve had to live with them), most of them are heavy and wooden, and pro-tip, WILL poke you in the back because you carelessly stuffed them into the backpack diaper bag that is bigger than your body because you signed up to be a Sherpa. Ahem, mother of two.

Let’s not forget that we live in a third floor walk-up. Also a walk-down. Which doesn’t seem so bad. Except for two small children who really don’t have a lot of bodily control are trying to thrust us to our demise at the bottom of the all-concrete staircase. Also, because our neighbors are THE WORST and decide they need a solid 5 cars per person, we usually have to park a mile from the house, so… make everything work in ONE TRIP. Oh, wait. The toddler has to pee. As soon as we’re to the bottom. Of the 41 steps. Yes, I’ve counted.

At this point, I’ll be completely ready to just tell her all the cool kids pee their pants, just so I don’t have to make the trip back up the stairs. But that would be super irresponsible parenting. So up we’ll trek. Because I have to do something right today.

Can we just talk about an hour in the car with two kids with no benefit to them? Because it’s not a pretty picture. I recently learned that if you lie and say you’ll take a trip to the carwash if they stop howling at the moon (in the daylight, yeah), the toddler WILL remember. For all of eternity. And will remind you of your betrayal in as many ways as possible. And punish you for it every time. So just don’t do it. It’s the greatest show of karma I’ve ever encountered. And you know what they say about karma.

Can we just forget about the errand? I’m ready to have a breakdown just thinking about it. I’ll just take a nap instead. Oh wait, I have children. Naps are no longer on the menu. Wine it is!