Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This was supposed to be about houseguests

I'm back!  I think.  I hope.  I've sorta misplaced my motivation these past two weeks and I'm struggling to dig deep and draw up a little something fresh and cool and clear.  I'm glad that writing isn't my livelihood because some days .... weeks ... I just don't have it in me.  And some days, every bit of refreshment I can acquire is spent on just plain being a mother.  It's almost August, it's hot, and I'm parched.

Life seems to go in waves right now.  We'll hit a stride and things with the kids go swimmingly.  And then the current changes and it's all we can do to keep our heads above water.  Well that's the kind of week it's been. 


Jack's been argumentive.  He's talking back, he's more emotional and above all else he's just not mature enough to know how to properly deal with those emotions.  Which has led to more screaming, and fit throwing and tears than we've seen in a long time.  And I'm at a total loss.  How do you teach a 3 year old the  meaning of "respect"?  How do I get him to understand that just because the sounds coming out of your mouth aren't real words, they're still cruel?  How do I let him know that I get what he's feeling, but it's still not okay to act out like that?  But really, those are just the symptoms of a deeper problem, one that I haven't put my finger on yet but that's keeping me up at night.  And yes, I realize much of this is normal at this age.  We have to go through some learning curves, but I still want to get to the bottom of it.  Does he need more one-on-one time?  Does he need more physical activity?  Do we need to start some character education curriculum?  Is it because he's not in school and his little extroverted self is suffering from lack of socialization?

It could also have something to do with the fact that we're still coming off a cousin high!
But I have to admit, there is a humorous side.  There always is.  And I try to remind myself that if I wasn't me.  If I was a fly on the wall, I'd be dying of laughter most days.  And maybe 20 years from now, I will.  But today, today it's just a little funny and a lot of tough.  Like when Jack gets angry with one of us and calls us a "doodle-doo" or when one of his toys doesn't cooperate and he yells "You numma-doodle!"  It's like toddler swearing.  Or when Jack isn't happy with something I've done or said, he's started responding with, "I don't like it here!  I don't like Maryland!"  Because somehow, deep inside, he knows he has to like his Mama and Daddy and siblings.  But it's not nearly as bad to say he doesn't like the state he's currently living in. 


And inside I'm thinking, "I know baby, I know... Sometimes I don't like Maryland either.  I miss the beach too.  And I know Nonnie's pool is better than our blow up number, and Poppa jumps with you on the trampoline, and having 4 cousins is way more fun than just one brother, and the little woods at the end of our street isn't nearly as adventurous as the 100 acre woods you've seen on Winnie the Pooh ... but this is our home, this is where God's placed us, and it is what we make it.  But the way you're feeling right now?  I totally get that."


Now Jude, Jude's got different issues.  He hasn't picked up on toddler swearing or talking back.  When Jude wants to protest he does one of three things: 1.) throws himself protrate on the floor and lies there without saying or doing anything, 2.) head-butts you or, 3.) runs laps around the kitchen, dining, living room while yelling "ahhhh" which is actually sounds more like "ah-ah-ah-ah" because he runs like his mama and everytime his feet smack the floor it shakes the house and cuts off a little of his airflow.  Other than his toddler tantrums Jude's not necessarily bad, he's just being a 2 year old.  And a little boy at that.  From the moment he wakes up until approximately 1 hour after we put him to bed - he's talking.  He likes to ask the same questions over and over and over again.  Usually ones he already knows the answer to, like "Where Daddy go? Where Yaya go? Where [insert name of every person he knows] go?"  The good thing is he sometimes answers them himself: "Daddy go new-car.  Daddy go to werr."

Jude got a boo-boo and needed a band-aid.  So then Jack proceeded to show me every little cut and scrape on his body and requested a band-aid for each.  Brothers, always competing.
But then there's the other part of being a 2 year old.  That confidence, the "I think I can" attitude that always tends to take things a little too far.  And never at the right moment.  Like last Friday.  We had a houseguest coming and I was desperately trying to get as much cleaning and readying up as I could.  And Jude was trying just as hard to undo all my efforts.  I purposely waited til the last minute to give my kids as little time to mess it all up as possible.  Apparently even the very last minute is too much time.  So I made the guest bed, Jude found a cup, got himself a drink and then accidentally dumped it all over the bed while watching a movie.  I hung the sheets out on the line to dry, it started to rain.  I scrubbed the bathroom during naptime (safe bet, right?).  Jude surprised me with a bonus, late-in-the-day bowel movement, followed by a uglier than usual dismount (we potty AC Slater style, remember?) and I was forced to clean the toilet all over again.  I vacuumed the house while the boys were outside, sat down to nurse the baby, and Jude brought in some mud pies to show me.  So I'm stuck in the chair nursing my nearly-10-month-old.  You know, the age where babies are easily distracted?  The age where if she hears the slightest noise she'll whip her head around mid-sip to see what's up?  Oh yeah, did I mention she has 4 teeth now?  So I'm trying to get his attention in as little disturb-the-baby fashion as possible.  But he doesn't really follow what I'm trying to say with headshakes and eye-blinks.  And within a few moments I've got mud pies land mines dispersed all over my freshly vacuumed living room floor.  I'm *this close* to losing it at this point.  But then I was distracted by Jack, who somehow (I have no idea how!) managed to flip his sister's walker over and she ended up on her head on the floor.  Then Jon called to let me know he was on his way home and in the meantime the boys decided to draw a piece of art for our guest ... on the living room wall.  But wall art isn't even a big deal anymore, especially not when it's preceded by all those other events.  I managed to magic eraser that off in the time it took my husband to get out of his car and walk in the front door.  "Happy Friday honey, here's one sassy 3 year old and one too curious for his own good 2 year old to start off your weekend!  Meanwhile, I'll be calming the baby that just got flipped out of her walker."

Happier days with Aunt Rachel.
Oh yes, the baby.  My normally sweet-natured, mild-mannered little lady is a hot mess this week.  She's teething and all the glory that comes with it.  Drooling, gnawing, snotting, horrendous diapers, and all-around discomfort.  We had two days of a high-fever.  And one up-every-20-minutes night with her in our bed.  And she just wanted to nurse all.night.long.  Normally I would be happy to oblige but she was doing it with such fervor it was impossible for me to snooze.  (Okay, I know I've went into too much nursing detail twice in one post, I'll stop now.)  Poor thing is just miserable and it's breaking my heart.  I hate teething.  Why does something so normal in one so innocent have to cause so much pain and suffering? 

Pre-teething: We took her to the dolphin show. She stood on my legs and clapped and squealed (loudly) the entire time.  I think the people in front of us were starting to get a little annoyed.
And then there are us parents.  Jon's been putting in 10-12 hour days.  And he's got a whole calendar full of travel coming up, to all sorts of exotic locations where preschoolers don't yell made up words and toddlers don't misinterpret eye-blink-signals and babies don't teethe.  Meanwhile I have the prospect of handling all that on my own for days on end.  Depending on which way the current flows this next week, I may need to throw in a trip or two to the grandparents' at summer's end. 

But on the other hand Julia was happy today and much more like herself.
Oh yeah, definitely more like herself today.
Oh dear.  I just realized I sat down to write a post about our houseguests this past month and ended up with something totally different.  Well, this was much more refreshing.  I'm feeling a little less parched now.  Thanks for listening. 

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