Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas shopping in hell...and other parenting adventures

So I've decided that it's too much keeping two separate blogs about each kid and now so much of my life involves the both of them that I might as well consolidate our misadventures into one lovely log of this ridiculous thing we call life.  Plus with my funny hubby and our hapless dogs, I might as well just catalogue our chaos under one title, so you readers can laugh at us without much effort.

The past week has been hell and mostly because it turns out I was suffering the side-effects of too much Ibuprofen intake (have to speak to the doc about how much he was prescribing... does he realize I'm all of 5'1" and not the heaviest kid on the block?!)  However, I did add insult to injury in the midst of my over-dose hell by tempting fate in the following parental "oh-shit" situations:

1. Not enough sleep + sick children+ crippled mommy
2. Administering glycerin suppositories to an attitude-laden, 20 month old girl + crippled mommy
3. Sick, crippled mom + children with energy doing art projects
4. Taking a 4 year old to Toys R Us to Christmas shop FOR HIS SISTER, not for him + oh yeah, still crippled mommy

#1 - Not enough sleep and sick children:  Okay, I'm sick of winter in Oregon.  I'm saying it now.  I may "love my Ducks" (look this up on You Tube, great videos by some funny students who call themselves Supwitchugirl), I may love Eugene in the fall, I may love how beautiful our summers can be, but WINTER SUCKS.  I am sick, sick, sick of the wet, the constant runny noses, coughing, upper respiratory crap, the endless cycle of disease regardless of efforts to keep hands washed, hand sanitizer readily available, sneezing into elbows, etc.  I'm done and it's only f'in early December.  2-3 more months of this s@#!.  Agh!!!!  This week I was looking forward to filling my days with play dates, Christmas art projects and some Christmas shopping.  Instead Monday William and I (after a late afternoon with Daddy and Elizabeth decorating the house and tree for x-mas) started coming down with "The Crud" for the umpteenth time since September and woke up Tuesday feeling like we got hit by a car.  I was going on 5 hours of sleep thanks to online x-mas shopping and to top it off I was also in pain since I had had my first round of physical therapy for my knee (bad case of some tendonitis that I can't pronounce that may need surgery in the future... thank you gymnastics, dance, cheerleading and running!).  So I promptly called his preschool and said he wouldn't be attending, called my therapist and said my mental health would have to wait for my damn physical health to cooperate and steeled myself to spend a day cooped up in our house with two kids and no relief (for children are blessed with boundless energy despite having colds... of course).  By mid-afternoon, sick of William's melodrama and Elizabeth's burgeoning attitude, my reply to William's "I wish we could go somewhere warm like California" was a less than appropriate, "Dude, I wish we could too because I'm sick of this f#@*ing weather and being f@*#ing sick!"  Unfazed, he replied, without looking up from his lunch, "Mommy, you said a bad word... I think you might need a time-out to calm down."  And, when I totally lost it with him at nap time because his disobedience caused me to take away Clone Troopers and Dinosaurs (really, this is what I do now?) before he would head upstairs or a nap he broke my heart as I left his room by saying quietly, "I love you mom.  I'll be good for you and try to cheer you up after naps.  I think you might need to lie down too."  I held back tears, took a nap myself and prayed I could wake up a more patient mother... with perhaps a better knee.

#2 Glycerin suppositories:  Dear reader, if you are offended by poop talk, then you are not a parent.  I swear you find yourself discussing things you NEVER imagined once you have these little wonders running around.  Much of your talk from the day they are born centers around poop.  I'm not kidding.  Ask any parent.  Nearly the moment they begin taking in any outside sustenance the "did he/she poop" (kindly referred to in the hospital as "soiled enough diapers") questioning begins.  Now God, in his desire to even things out for my parents (and Mike's) has blessed us with not one, but TWO constipated children.  Sure, laugh.  But don't laugh too hard.  Because you too, dear reader, may one day find yourself trying warm baths, Miralax-laced juice (doctor recommended, don't freak out), prunes, raisins etc. on your darling little angels before admitting defeat and facing the ultimate in parental betrayal (or so it will seem to your toddler) - administering the glycerin suppository.  People, this sucks.  Holding down an already wailing child (wailing because they can't poop) and injecting liquid glycerin into an already sore bum is bad enough.  But combine it with a toddler who kicks like she's auditioning for Bend It Like Beckham into an abdomen tender to the touch thanks to too much ibuprofen which is attached to a sick/runny-nosed/sleep deprived mother who's knee is too sore to chase said toddler should she escape... and you've got hell.  I actually uttered the words out loud (not a proud mommy moment here) "I just need to disappear for a few days, I need to get away from everyone and everything" on the phone to my hubby in front of my kids.  William looked up and tearfully said, "You can't disappear mommy... can I disappear with you?"  Completely missed the point.  But slapped me back to reality.

#3 Art projects:  Really?  Am I stupid? I am.  I must be.  So late this week I decide since I've been the world's shittiest mother to buck-up and forget that the Ibuprofen overdose issue has caused such abdomen tenderness that walking hurts, forget that my knee is killing me despite the physical therapy and constant ice, despite 3 nights in a row of 5 hours of sleep thanks to more Christmas shopping (I see now this holiday is fun FOR KIDS) and tell the kids that we can do some art before lunch.  Apparently my Ibuprofen induced haze has warped my time management skills, because how I think I'm going to lay out paint, crayons, playdough & craft supplies while helping William make a reindeer from paper towel rolls, supervising Elizabeth's finger painting, making my own paper-plate-reindeer, making lunch while they play with playdough and clean it all up in time for naps (when I began this adventure at 11:00 am) is beyond me.  Shit, it's beyond a stay-at-home mom who has a nanny and a housekeeper!  Was I INSANE?  Clearly, kids, clearly.  I'm actually laughing at myself as I write all this.  I was an honors student for God's sake.  I adored math and yet I hadn't figured out the obvious answer to the problem - "If mommy begins 3 art projects at 11:00 am, while simultaneously preparing home-made pizza for lunch and supervising a 4 year old and a 20 month old use 5 different art media, how many hours before she goes bat-shit insane and winds up a puddle on the floor?" Poor Mike came home from a lunch meeting to a wife in tears, a carpet covered in playdough, kitchen counters covered in remnants of lunch and art and two kids who were happy to see him because mommy was no longer fit for this world.  He kindly put the kids to bed for me while I stumbled about in a haze cleaning up the aftermath of my "brilliant idea" for my return to good mommyhood.  Jeez... why am I in therapy again?

#4 Toys R Us aka Hell:  So I did the ultimate today.  I took a 4 year old to Toys R Us during the x-mas shopping season.  Even worse, I took him there to SHOP FOR SOMEONE ELSE.  You're laughing right now aren't you?  You're thinking, "Good lord, this woman really has reached the end of her what point do I call the authorities?"  But kids, before you wag your fingers, shake your heads or throw your proverbial stones (fellow parents, please note your glass houses first)... it wasn't that bad.  My son: he of the melodrama and too many tantrums this week, was wonderful, or nearly so.  Yes, as we began our tour of hell at the Customer Service desk while Johnny-I'm-on-the-phone-and-ignoring-the-line-piling-up-behind-me took his time helping us, William laughed patiently at my jokes.  This boy, who usually howls in pain and dives like a professional soccer player to the ground when I merely brush by him, joined me in the cart-to-cart slalom race while I constantly used his shirt to yank him out of danger with nary a complaint.  He endured 4, count 'em 4, aisles of horrifically pink, sparkly, shimmery, sugary crap and HELPED me (I'm not kidding - he thoughtfully helped weigh each decision with JUST his sister's pleasure in mind) pick out baby doll accessories, dress up clothes, doll-house accessories and play kitchen gadgets.  He even tried to sharpen his negotiating skills by trying to talk me into buying his sister the potty for her baby-dolls that looks and makes music just like hers even though it came with a bathtub AND keep the pretty purple bathtub he already picked out.  He argued that she had multiple dolls, so why not two tubs if it meant the really cool potty that Elizabeth would LOVE.  He added, "maybe it will make her want to go potty mommy if she's teaching her dolls to!"  A fellow mom in the aisle just burst out laughing and said, "is he for real?"  Now, before you vomit in disgust thinking I'm bragging about my good boy in Toys R Us, remember that I said he was NEARLY wonderful.  I will give him credit for being quite good... BUT, but, but but (you knew there was a but didn't you?), that was before we ran the gauntlet toward the checkout.  For in that gauntlet we had to pass Star Wars toys, Marvel action figures and the thing that broke him... Dinosaur Train toys.  What, you ask?  Ah... PBS.  That lovely, educational channel.  It has this great show Dinosaur Train, thanks to which William can now identify and pronounce more dinosaurs than I ever will in my lifetime.  So he has taken my "we'll talk to Santa" answer to his rather calm requests for toys well until this lady (my new enemy) walks by with her cart stuffed with Dinosaur Train figures.  William's eyes explode and he asks if we can see them. Now, he has been awesome up until now so I say yes.  BIG mistake.  We make it to that aisle and suddenly my "we'll talk to Santa" answer = "no way in hell" to him and I see a tempest brewing.  He's refusing to budge, punching the cart and starting to cry in an anything-but-quiet voice.  Before the tempest grows to a Category 5 natural disaster, I somehow get him into the only non-crowded aisle in the whole damn place (this would be the boring "Babies R Us" section of the back of the store that carries scintillating items like changing pad liners).  I remember my "Parenting From the Inside Out" book (advised by my therapist... don't laugh, it's helping) and "hear him".  I get down on his level and speak to him in a quiet voice so as not to embarrass him in public.  I acknowledge that I KNOW he's disappointed, I KNOW he's tired, I KNOW that he's spent 2.5 hours in girlie aisles and has been awesome...BUT it doesn't change my answer.  We're not buying Dinosaur Train toys for the heck of it... we will talk to Santa.  I nearly caved kids, I'll admit it.  His HUGE eyes (if you've seen him, you know what I mean) brimming with tears, his little mouth curved down and shaking, and his chin held bravely up, he manages to choke out... " Can I have just one? Or... (sob)Can. You. Call. Dad (sob sob) then?  Can. He. Get. Them? Because. I. Think. Santa's. Done. Shopping. (sob sob) For. Me."  So I called Mike for him and told him to PLEASE talk to Santa about Dinosaur Train or to consider it for our own shopping for William.  Barely placated, he was still crying by the time we got to the checkout, but quietly.  Luckily a silly Snoopy "ride" (you know, the ones that jiggle & jerk around if you toss a couple quarters in them, but the kids feel like they're driving) that was broken cheered him up (he doesn't like them when they move anyway) and he was all giggles and jokes as we headed out into a DOWNPOUR of cataclysmic proportions and laughed/puddle jumped our way out to the car.

That was today.  The Toys R Us.  I have to say, though, it was a great end to a crappy week.  William and I flopped into the car soaked and laughing, stopped by Starbucks and chattered about how happy Elizabeth would be all the way home.  So what did I learn?  When I'm sick and the kids are sick and my knee hurts:
1 - I detest Oregon winters and should do my best to sleep 8 hours per night during them so that I don't take my crappy mood out on my kids.
2 - Mommy + suppositories = Evil to Elizabeth, so I have to find a way to con Daddy into doing them, she loves him more anyway.
3 - DO NOT attempt the use of more than ONE art medium when you have an hour before lunch/nap time, a bum knee and not enough sleep.  It will only result in disaster and a smart 4-year-old asking, "should we call Daddy, Mom?  You seem pretty upset."
4 - Most importantly:  one silly, challenging, fun day of shopping with a very funny 4-year-old-boy in the bowels of hell (or Toys R Us, take your pick) can remind you that you have it good.  You really do.  Thank God for the blessings, don't sweat the little things and remember... This Too Shall Pass.