The Highs.

Someone I love sent me this piece from The New Yorker this morning. I got it after a nearly-two-hour experience in the pediatrician’s office, which ended with me trying to peel my middle child off their front door when it was time to go. What kind of kid wants to STAY at the doctor’s office?!

Oh, wait. I know.  A three-year-old. Because nothing with a three-year-old makes sense.

I’m reporting to you from the trenches. And I could go into a tirade about who snotted on my one pair of clean yoga pants today or why bath and bed time has me wanting to rock in a corner, clutching vodka … but I won’t. You already know that parenthood is hard; the highs are always followed by lows that we get through by telling ourselves “everything is a phase.”

But everything is.

Maverick got a little wound up in the days following Halloween. All that extra red dye # 40 did a number on him, apparently. After a particularly long and difficult day, I finally said that he was going to bed early. He got mad, I got mad, we both dug in. I ended up dragging him to his room after reminding him in the living room who was in charge.

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I gave him time to calm down and then tried to talk it over, but he was so angry and he just kept yelling that I was a horrible mommy — a very bad mommy — and he wished I belonged to someone else. “I understand that you’re upset with me,” I said as I covered him up. “But I am glad I belong to YOU.”

He replied with an angry noise.

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re doing the right thing. I’m all the time wondering if I’m too hard on them or not hard enough. Am I respected? Am I a doormat? I’m a fairly self-assured person, but I find motherhood to be discombobulating.

The next morning, Maverick crept into our bed at 6:15. It was still dark out, and I was fumbling around for my glasses when I heard him say the following words. I hope I never forget them, because it was the sweetest apology that has ever come out of that boy’s mouth.

“Mommy? I’m so sorry I yelled at you last night. You’re a good mommy and I love you. I really love you. And you know what else? I really WAS tired, like you said. I konked right out after you left! Man, I was tired. I feel better now. You know what I was thinking? Maybe I could go make you some coffee. I know how much sugar to put in it, and Daddy showed me how to use the Keurig. I’ll be really careful.”

Speechless. I still tear up when I think about it.

I struggle. We all do. And sometimes, yes, it’s even barefoot in the snow like the essay from The New Yorker suggests. That would be a low point. But the highs … they are so, so sweet. Just like my coffee.

 

Waiting For Christmas.

DUDE.

I need school to start, like, yesterday.

The summer was pretty manageable at first, with a music camp and a few Vacation Bible Schools, going to the beach and such. But now we’re in this miserable stretch where I think I’m seriously about to lose. my. mind. This morning I went to the calendar and actually counted the days until school begins. 17 days.

Robbie’s last day in the car business is in 6 days, and at that point my husband will be home approximately 25 more hours per week. I calculated the hours myself, just now. That’s a whole lot of meals, baths, teeth-brushing and play time that he’s been missing out on (and I have been doing alone). Both of those dates seem impossibly far away; like waiting for Christmas does when you’re little. This is my grown-up version of Christmas. There will be Peace on Earth and in the bathroom.

Now that all of the math is out of the way, let me tell you what’s been going on over here.

Pepper is into everything

Allow me to clarify: she dumps out every container she can find with items in it, pulls laundry out of baskets, stuff out of cabinets, locates markers and tries to eat them, pulls stuff on top of herself, gets stuck in between things, tries to climb into bath tubs and toilets, and randomly escapes the house if a door is left slightly ajar.

Maverick has been raising hell.

I don’t know how else to put it, and I don’t love putting it that way because, is that really a nice thing to say about my own kid? No, but it is what it is and I love him anyway. We’ve had a really rough patch that I feel like I can’t even talk about because I just want to forget it, honestly. Because of that patch, though, Robbie and I made some discoveries that have been really helpful. I’ll share them with you in another post dedicated to the emotionally exhausted parents of strong-willed children.

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Asher has been a normal two-year-old.

We took the paci away and six days later gave it back hoping he would go back to normal, but no such luck. He still won’t nap. He’s still waking up every night. In one fell swoop, I screwed myself out of having a small amount of peace in the middle of the day, otherwise known as nap time, AND a full night’s sleep. If I lock him in his room, he screams and wakes up napping Pepper. If I let him out, he finds Maverick and they fight, also waking up napping Pepper. Either way you slice it, someone’s going to be crying and sometimes it’s me. I was really angry over the whole situation for a day or two, but that has subsided into tired acceptance. Because really, what can be done? I have small children. It will eventually be okay. Like in about 17 days.

Today, Maverick screamed like the Tazmanian Devil and woke up the baby. I send the boys outside with smoothies and ask them to be careful not to spill them everywhere, it will attract ants. I go to Pepper’s room and find this.

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Awwww. I had to take a picture.

Meanwhile, the boys are shampooing their hair with the smoothies on the carport. Yes. Rubbing strawberry-banana-peach goodness into their hair with both hands as it ran down their bodies onto the ground. Pepper screamed from her high chair the entire time I hosed them down and rinsed off the concrete, and the elderly man who lives across the street stood by his mailbox and stared. He stopped from getting his mail, turned around, and watched in silence.

My nerves are shot from constantly dealing with things kids do when they’re little. I probably won’t remember any of it six months from now, which is for the best. But at the beginning of this summer I said I just want to make it to the end without having to make a trip to the E.R. or eating handfuls of crack and miraculously, it looks like we’re going to accomplish those goals.

WINNING.

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