This title is in honor of my son, who loves football to a degree that still baffles me. But then, a lot baffles me these days. I'm a mom. My brain is fried.
What is excessive celebration? You know... the ridiculous victory dance, spiking the ball, the stupid gyrating that fame-hungry or over-testosterone-pumped players do when a camera is on them. OR it's what you stupidly do as a parent before God takes you down a peg. Football players get penalized some yardage... parents lose sanity points.
New parents, let me give you a tip. Don't congratulate yourself. EVER. Don't think you've mastered ANYTHING. Because children are there to make sure you realize that you know NOTHING. You are guessing, stumbling in the dark, conducting a life-long sociological study, screwing up, falling down, and basically racking up future therapy bills. Yours or theirs. Take your pick.
Now, you can see this as a negative. Or you can look at it as an opportunity to learn, laugh at yourself, gain a whole new appreciation for your parents or to have fabulous fodder for a blog. Quite honestly, I often veer toward the negative and then try to steer the crazy-Mariska ship in a more fruitful direction. But lately it's been hard. Really hard. So hard I actually forgot about being thankful that I was home with my kids and wanted to return to work. I realized I longed for work that involved schedules, adult conversation, BREAKS, sick days, vacations and the ability to GET AWAY, clock out and leave for the day. The kind of work where home was a refuge and holidays were a change of pace. Motherhood is NOT that job. I had been able, until recently, to accept that that was the sacrifice I made becoming a mom rather than holding an office job.
You see, I made the mistake of starting my victory dance a few months ago. I had the kids teachers, strangers in restaurants, parents in play groups, etc. complimented. I was the mom people called "together" or "organized". No longer. The whistle blew and I've been penalized for excessive celebration. God took me down a peg and now this little control freak is having to learn how to roll with punches and frankly, I'm getting tired of the bruises.
So why am I losing it? I can't tell you folks. I don't know. I've just turned a new corner and this little Alice is ready to leave this part of Wonderland. William has become my misdirected energy/bad attitude/smart mouth/disrespectful son and Elizabeth is my mood-swing/increasing tantrums/incredibly clingy/I'm-starting-to-wonder-if-she-has-some-kind-of-sensory-issue daughter. I know kids have their good and bad days and I was handling it. But this past couple weeks, EVERY DAY one of them gave me trouble. They were kind enough to alternate days so it wasn't both at the same time, but that was little comfort. I honestly began to think, "Okay, I suck at this job. I will put get them back in with a caregiver who can help them better than I can." I felt defeated, deflated and tired. Why? Here's a snapshot:
William as of late:
Me - William get up it's a school Day.
William - I'm too tired.
Me - Too bad, time to get up.
William - NOOOOO! It's too cold!
Me - Put some clothes on and you'll be warm. No one asked you to sleep in your undies.
William - But my LEGS HURT.
Me - Get up and dressed and I'll give you some Tylenol. Now move.
William - BUT I'M STARVING!!!
Me- So get up and you can eat. Now, stop shouting, quit complaining about being tired when you choose to stay awake during nap time, put some clothes on and come downstairs when you can be polite to me. I'm getting your sister ready and heading downstairs.
William (hysterical) - DON'T GO DOWNSTAIRS WITHOUT ME, I'M SCARED!!!
Me - So. Calm. Down. Get. Dressed. LISTEN and come with me. I'm done with the attitude. Get moving. NOW.
William - but I'm too TIRED!
I can't take it anymore and start walking downstairs. William's yelling turns to a fever-pitched-cry-yell combo
"NOOOOOOOO! MO-OM! COME BACK! IT'S NOT FAIR. I'M NOT DONE YET! I'M NOT EVEN DRESSED!!"
This little event will repeat itself with the conversation variants revolving around his goofing off rather than brushing his teeth and putting on socks and shoes for school, cleaning up toys and using the potty before naps, cleaning up toys and feeding the dog before dinner and heading up stairs for bath and stories before bed. I'm thinking of buying a whistle at this point and teaching him some basic whistle commands like in drill team because my voice just can't take much more.
Now a recent snapshot of miss Elizabeth:
She wakes in the morning totally happy and first words out of her mouth, "we have to take Bubba to school today?"
Me - yup. (I begin carrying her toward the bathroom and she goes jelly-like in my arms and her voice is instantly in the glass-shattering range)
Elizabeth - NOOOOOO! I don't have to go potty! Nooooooo! Noooooo! (the cries are only stopped by the "singing" of her potty because she has IN FACT gone pee).
Me - Good job, let me get your undies.
Elizabeth - I don't have to POOOOOOP! I poop in a diaper.
Me - I said nothing about poop. I'm getting your undies and clothes, calm down.
Elizabeth - I don't want clothes. Can I be a princess?
Me - No sweety, it's FREEZING outside. When we get back from taking Bubba, you can be in a costume.
Elizabeth - I want to be NAY-KEEEEEE (naked). She's now running around sans pants, not wiped, dripping pee all over my bathroom.
Me - Elizabeth SIT DOWN. I tell you every day. Sit down on the potty and wait for mommy.
She explodes into a puddle of tears, drool, snot and is lying face down on the floor. I wipe her, wrestle undies and clothes onto her and she suddenly bear hugs me getting her tear/snot/spit combo all over my hair, cheek and shirt.
Elizabeth - you happy mommy? Don't be mad.
Me - Elizabeth, I just need you to focus and listen to...
I stop. She can't even hear me. She's distracted by something. This child who cannot BEAR the sound of the hairdryer, car wash, blender, food processor or sometimes just the sound of her brother talking or singing is suddenly deaf. She honestly can't hear a word I say. I clap really loudly and she snaps back to me, jumping out of her skin.
Me- ELIZABETH. Focus. Look in my eyes. Are you listening to me?
It's too late. She's entered another dimension. She can't hear me anymore. I tell her to wash her hands and have to physically pull her back into the bathroom because she has not heard me and she collapses from my touch screaming "OW!!!"
This is my whole day with her. She's either speaking in a volume so incredibly loud I need earplugs or plugging her own ears and shouting "stop it! that hurts my ears!!!" She's playing with other kids one minute and then commanding them to leave her alone the next. She turns on a dime. And eating with her now is torture. She no longer has her vomiting issue, but she still has issues putting too much in her mouth and then being totally confused by her gag reaction. She still spits out certain textures. She still has trouble handling her utensils. She still has trouble realizing when she's full. And potty training? Forget it. Pee is fine, but poop is another story. She honestly cannot figure out her bowels in a seated position. She can do it standing with a diaper on. But seated? Nope. She makes noises and is confused as to why it's not working. She cannot figure out how to use her body to do it. I'm at the point where I'm just waiting. Is it a control issue? Is it her constant trouble with constipation? Or is it something bigger along with the noises and food that I'll have to address with a doctor? I don't know. I'm too tired to figure it out right now.
And William? Is it just being 5 1/2 that makes him run around like a crazy person, disrespect Mike and I, be in constant look-at-me mode and fight incessantly during play dates? Or do I need to do something different? I don't know.
I'm so tired right now the answers elude me. I'm treading water, hoping to get the strength to swim again soon. After all, it could be worse. I could have a child with major special needs. I could have been barren. I could be struggling through a horrible marriage on top of all this. But I was able to conceive. I don't think my kids have special needs. I'm in a happy marriage. I have to remember that. As my friend Monica says... "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."