Monday, September 16, 2013

Scared for my boys

The world is a scary place. 

People would say that and I'd always think - it's always been scary, we just hear about it so much more now.  

I was wrong.  It is 100% more scary than it was when I was a kid.  I read several parenting blogs.  Most of them making fun of the craziness that is parenthood.  Sometimes I come across one that makes me tear up  (OK, I tear up a lot - I'm a crier). I read one the other day about a lady sending her child to school for the first time and him coming home talking about the drill they had if a scary person come into their school.  Hiding under desks, turning out the lights, being very quiet.  

Hell, I'm crying right now thinking about it.  It is terrifying to think about.  But it happened.  Drills and plans are necessary because it happened.  Some jackass with issues walked into a school and now the reality of every fresh faced innocent child going to school includes some sort of preparedness plan for what you do when a "bad person" comes into your school.  

Earlier today I was doing my online safety training at work.  Yes, I usually go through them as fast as possible and never click on the links.  Today, as I'm reading about what to do in the event of a armed assailant in my workplace I click on the link and am taken to a youtube video by Homeland Security showing what to do if an armed gunman is on the loose at your place of work.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to sob.  I spent 8 of the last 10 years working 7p-7a in hospitals and making a joke that the doors are never closed there; it's just an invitation for someone to come in and do harm.  The there was that horrible episode of Grey's Anatomy that made it even more scary.  Suddenly today, watching that video, I was overcome with such fear for my children and sadness for all of us.  I'm sad this video has to exist.

Being a parent has made me fearful.  I'm not saying I'm paralyzed with fear; I'm saying there's always something nagging at the back of my mind.  The world is scary; there are innumerable things out there to hurt my babies.  Or leave them parent less.  Countless scenarios run through my mind of what would I do if this happened or how would I keep my kids safe in this situation.  

I think I should start keeping my keys on me during the work day so on the chance there is a shooting I could run out a back door and get to my car.  

Or if there was a zombie apocalypse type outbreak how fast could I get home. Could I make it home?  What if I'm separated from my kids in that type of situation?  I'm about to hyperventilate thinking about it now.  

At this point, I am missing the days when thinking about zombies was what induced my panic attack type anxiety.  The real threat of zombies is pretty low.  Random shooting?  The odds seem to get higher every day.  And when I was watching this video at work I hadn't even heard about the Navy Yard shooting yet.  My next patient was telling me about that and had the news on when I walked into her room.  All I could think was for fucks sake, what is wrong with people?

My kids will be in preschool next year and they go to day care part time now.  I'm constantly worried that if something happens it will be my fault because I sent them to daycare and wasn't there to protect them.  They are my babies, my job is to keep them safe.  I'm scared that in the world today, safety is just an illusion.  I feel sick.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bedtime is for Fighting

Ah, after bath time finds us once again.  Two small boy children running naked through the house proclaiming for me, Dad, and the Dog that they are, indeed, naked babies.  Towels are shed on the floor as they run from bathroom to living room.  What shall we do they telepathically ask each other.  Stand for all the neighborhood to see in our floor to ceiling front window?  Go get in the fridge and open a package of pepper jack and decide it's "on fire?"  Throw a hard plastic object directly at the head of my brother?  All viable answers to the never ending dilemma of what to do.  

Now the magic begins.  How do I get diapers and pajamas on these tasmanian devils masquerading as toddlers?  Threats, bribery, and finally physical force. Why do we repeat the same things every single night?  My boys are smart little boys, surely they know by now that there are some things you do not do.  They've been told these things repeatedly tonight, not to mention all the other nights of their little lives that I have told them the same damn thing only to turn around 2 seconds later to find them standing on top of a Sit & Spin precariously close to the top of the stairs so they can flip the light switch up and down until the light bulb blows.  

After I have asked for the 20th time with absolutely no result my voice gets loud and get that bat shit crazy vibe going.  I am yelling, one or both boys are crying and then someone kicks me in the face when I'm struggling to cover up their privates with a diaper.   After I threaten the kicker, the other boy usually comes up to me of his own volition and says "Me not naughty."  Then lies down to put on his diaper.  Nice mom, terrify your child into compliance.  

I just want bed time to be peaceful.  After the tears, fits and threats we all sit in Mommy's chair and snuggle. Yep, they still love me, even after all that.  They are forgiving little sweethearts when they want to be.  They are absolute terrors at other times.  I love them all the time, but I just want a sign that they are listening.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Let Sleeping Toddlers Lie

Before I became a mommy I had all these visions in my head of how mommyhood would be.  My children would be helpful and pick up toys to the "Clean Up Song" from Barney.  They would behave swimmingly in restaurants and bedtime would be a sweet routine of bedtime stories and goodnight kisses.

Well, I get kisses and occasionally we get a story read, but beyond that bedtime goes nothing like what I envisioned for so many childless years.

First, I have yet to get my children to go into their rooms, lie in their beds and go to sleep.  I can't even get them to go lie in their bedrooms with me laying down with them.  I say, "Let's go get in your bed and snuggle."  The typical response to this is "Uh uh, in there."  There would be the living room.  Home of Mommy's Chair.  Where most falling asleep happens and the lift off point for 30 some pounds of toddler getting carried to their beds night after night.  

Or, occasionally, we have the "Let'em sleep where they drop" night.  After snuggling on the couch for awhile one wandered across the room 

while the other eventually pushed me off the couch with his feet and toppled over with exhaustion.

I still end up carrying them both to bed.  

At some point we all end up back in the living room anyway.  Even at 2 1/2 years old, sleeping through the night is the exception, not the rule.  And of course when they wander into our room looking for mama, they don't want to get in my bed or lay in their beds, we have to "Get up.  Go in there."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hitting the bottle

When my twins boys were tiny and new I prayed that they would like their binkies.  I kept popping those little ones that came home with them from the hospital in their mouths and they kept popping them right back out.  I bought 25 different kinds of pacifiers thinking that if I could only find "THE ONE" they would take it and love it and me and the husband could maybe get some sleep.  

Then there were their bottles.  My tiny boys (5 lbs, 4 oz and 4 lbs, 13 oz to be exact) would barely take an ounce at a feeding.  I agonized over if they were getting enough.  And poor Thing 1 had God awful reflux; I became immune to the smell of spit up Aliementum.  I didn't care if there was a spot of spit up on my shirt because I could be guaranteed the next feeding would bring a lot more than a spot.  

But they grew.  And Thing 1's reflux magically went away around 9 months.  And they developed a love for their bottles that I have yet to break.  One day it went from me begging them to please take another ounce to wondering how a small human could drink an 8 oz bottle and then demand I "pill it up 'gain."  And then maybe a third fill up if bedtime is particularly challenging for him.  Because that 3rd "baba" is the charm.  

My boys are 2.5 yrs old.  Yep, 30 months if you prefer.  They still love their "babas."  I tried taking them away around a year, but gave up when I realized no one was ever going to sleep again.  I tried again around 18 months and that lasted part of one night until the hubs came out of the bedroom and said, "What the hell is going on out here?  Give him the damn bottle!"  Now at 2.5 we have daily discussions about how bottles are only for babies and not big boys to which my very verbal toddlers respond "goo ga ga."  

Don't judge me.  These kids have yet to sleep through the night consistently either so I use what ever works to get them to sleep.  And we've gotten it down to only at bedtime.  I keep telling them that when these last 6 nipples give out and spring leaks that there will be no more.  I'm trying to work up to it.  When I was confessing my shame to someone they kind of  put in perspective for me.  She asked,"Have you ever seen a kid go to kindergarten with a bottle?"  No,  I haven't and hopefully mine won't be the first.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

I always thought I'd be better at this mommy stuff.

I Thought I'd Be A Better Mommy

I really thought I'd be better at this mommy business than I am.  After all, I'm old.  I'm 38 and feel practically ancient to have small children.  I have come to terms with the fact that when my kids start school I'm going to be old enough to be the mother of most of their classmates moms.  I thought that with age came wisdom and patience.  Dammit, those things were supposed to come with age.  

I'm also a nurse.  Granted, I've never been a itty bitty baby nurse or even much of a small child nurse.  My areas of comfort were old wrinkly people, drug seekers, and all sorts of other adults that needed someone to give them drugs and help them to the bathroom.  Being a nurse has not given me some great insight into the health of my children.  I still take them to the pedi more than I should and when one of my boys had to get stitches I was a blubbering mess.  Being a nurse helps me because doctors do tend to take you seriously when you voice your opinion; especially if it's doctor's you know.  

And my boys love me.  Sometimes they love me so much I can't take a step backward without my butt ramming into some one's head.  They love me even when I've just screamed at them for dumping out the dog's food or taking the floor vents out and dropping who only knows what down them.  But there are times when I know I'm out of control and feel horrible about how Thing 2's face crumbles when I've hurt his feelings or when Thing 1 looks at me after he's thrown down whatever I'm about to take from him and says,"No spank me Mommy.  No spank me."  

I read all the mommy blogs and laugh until I cry.  Or sometimes I read the sweet little mommy sayings and cry over them.  I'm a bit of a crier.  I try to start each new day with the knowledge that it's just that - a new day.  I try to be a more gentle, kinder, mommy and not yell and scream on a daily basis.  I hope that I can get this mommy thing right and my kids aren't scared by my outbursts.

I didn't come into motherhood easily either.  There were 7 long, barren years of trying and failing.  Then a couple of years in which I had given up hope of ever being a mommy because I was tired of getting my heart broken every month by ovaries that just wouldn't get with the program and pop out something worthwhile.  The hubs and I worked hard for these wonderful little terrors we have.   I thought having to work so hard and for so long would make me a better mommy.  That I'd be more tolerant of the tantrum and the tempers; that I'd laugh off the sassy mouths and naughtiness.  Nope, I still have no tolerance for having to make the same request 20 times and being ignored until I scream it.  

So, I'm shall try to take it a day at a time and enjoy my children for who and what they are - which is two toddlers who are trying to get a feel for who they are.  I will tell myself daily that they are not small adults and their little brains are still developing and they have no clue the driving me batshit crazy.  They are 2 and they are mine and I love them.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Do all boys fight like this?

My boys have been in rare form that last couple of days.  I had really committed to curbing my yelling.  Making fewer outrageous threats of bodily harm that I'd never in a million years follow through with.  We'd had a few really good weeks where I really thought I was being a more patient parent.  I was thinking that the boys were really doing better and improving their behavior by leaps and bounds.  Apparently the boys were just lulling me into a false sense of peace and chose the last few days to stick it to me.  

The fighting.  Oh the fighting!  I'm ashamed to send my kid to daycare when I work because he's always got at least 2 sets of his brother's teeth marks on him.  It's summer - that shit shows now!  No long pants and sleeves to cover it.  They gouge eyes, they twist ears, they pinch.  How does a 2 year old know this stuff? Are boys born with an innate talent for inflicting pain upon their siblings?  They fight over toys.  They fight over whose mommy I am.  They. Fight. Over. Everything.

I have yelled.  I have threatened.  I have spanked.  Every time Thing 2 pushes over the rocking horse with Thing 1 on it.  Or shoves him off the big wheel.  Or when Thing 1 tries to push Thing 2 off a couch or down the stairs.   I have sent them to their rooms.  I make them apologize and say they love each other.  And the fighting continues.  I've lost track of how many times I've said the words "We do not hurt our brother.  We are family.  We love each other."   I'm tired and I'm hoarse.  At some point the fighting has to stop, doesn't it?  I'm thinking I should let them work it out and go do some yoga.  Or take some Xanax.  Or drink a bottle of wine.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

We love the museum.

We took the boys to the Children's Museum last Sunday.  It was a lazy, laid back trip.  Ok, I lie.  Not much is lazy and laid back with Things 1 and 2.  We also took their 12 year old twin cousins along to help wrangle the boys.  Fun was had by all.  

This was our first trip out without keeping the boys in a stroller to get in and out.  They did surprisingly well.        The best thing about taking Thing 2 to the museum is that his feet never stop moving the entire time we are there.  You pick him up to carry him and they keep going like he's still running.  And that's the other thing about good ole Thing 2 - he never stopped running.  If you tried to block him from leaving an area he would just drop and roll around you on the ground, or crawl on his hands and knees.  He will use any means of evasion necessary to avoid being stopped.  

His favorite things are the fire truck, the motorcycle, and the big rig.  He was a constant photo bomber at the motorcycle because he would run over when other kids were on it to push the pedals and make it vroom.   And after attempting to steal some older kids glasses in the big rig I had to ban him from it.  Be glad I was the parent witnessing that, the Hubs said if it had been him he would have asked the older kid (he was probably 6 or 7) why he was being such a puss and letting a 2 year old steal his glasses.  

Thing 1 is so  well behaved on comparison.  He goes to an area and plays there then will follow you to the next area with minimal prodding.  He loves the water area and always leaves with a soaking shirt.  

We didn't even make it to the top level.  On our last trip, there Thing 2 may or may not have thrown some toys over the railing - I won't confirm or deny this.  On this trip he repeatedly busted through the Plexiglas panels partitioning off a display.  Who uses wobbly Plexiglas to keep toddlers out of something? No one, that's who.  I will say that he wasn't the only small one who did this while we were there.  I fear the day that we go into a place like this and see our picture up with a "no admittance allowed" sign.  

We left after an hour.  Thing 1 was red faced and his hair was wet with sweat, but he was the least tired of us all.  Thing 1 didn't make it out of the parking garage before he fell asleep.  We've already decided that the Children's Zoo with be our next adventure.  They've never been there without being strapped into the stroller!