This life I am living is not familiar to me.
Growing up there were the four girls. When we fought, we yelled. Rumor on the street was that the two youngest may have actually exchanged blows but I can't believe that. We just yelled. And sulked. I did a LOT of sulking in my time.
Now I have three boys. Grant it, the baby isn't really doing anything just yet, but those older boys? They know how to rumble. The best part is that they aren't fighting. They are playing. It started last week when Derek mentioned to me that the boys were getting rougher and rougher. I was all "whatever" because I barely know my name these days let alone what craziness is going on around me.
Until today. Today the boys were climbing all over me when I was trying to nurse Mason. Mason doesn't seem to care that there are four people attempting to occupy the same space at the same time, but I have had all I can take of everyone on top of me. We need no distractions around here.
K: Why don't you boys wrestle?
Ethan: Okay, Mom. Nate, let's wrestle.
Nate proceeds to go over and lie down in the middle of the floor. Hello, submissive.
But two seconds later there is a rumble across my living room floor. It is all arms and all legs. I sat there in complete disbelief. Somehow we had crossed a line from a toddler and preschooler doing a little shoving to all out wrestling moves. I actually watched Nate drop his center of gravity and charge Ethan at his waist, sending him flying.
If there had been a fly in the room, he would have had complete access to the inside of my mouth. This went on for five minutes and they were laughing hysterically. I was wondering who was going to end up in the emergency room. In the end, no one got hurt and they just moved on to some other form of mischief.
I know I am supposed to encourage them to get their energy out and this turned out to be a relatively harmless activity, but I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown with all the body slamming. This isn't exactly how I envisioned raising boys. Am I the only one who is surprised by this motherhood thing?
I'm not sure if this is a defense move, but I like to call it Mason's Karate Kid pose. I notice he does it when Nathan comes in the room.
He has spent this weekend with his father and his brothers, just spending time with the boys while Mom is off at work. Derek told me that in the car today, Ethan kept laughing in the back seat. When Derek asked him why he was laughing, Ethan told him that every he laughed, Mason would smile. Mason's smile would then make Ethan laugh harder.
Derek described his boys as "delightful" today. The older tried to help the younger and the youngest was just happy to be with his brothers. It's days like this that make you think that you just might survive and the kids might turn out alright. I think these are the days that make motherhood seem a whole lot less tedious and a lot more joyful. But maybe that's just me.
Baby Mason comes by this face honestly. His brother? He's is a train wreck. I complained to his teacher last week about how he just barrels everyone over, ALL THE TIME. It's driving me crazy. He's running into things, knocking things over and generally creating quite a mess at all times.
His teacher reminded me that he is two. She reminded me that he has that eye issue. She reminded me that he has that foot that turns in. So now I'm frustrated at a kid that can't focus properly and has problems walking.
*hangs her head in shame*
Sometimes as a parent it is really easy to get in the moment and fail to see the big picture. For Nathan, the big picture is that objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear. His clunky sneakers might make it more difficult to navigate the clutter that is his life. And he might just be two years old.
The news isn't horribly grim. It just isn't great. Nathan's lazy eye seems to get be getting slightly worse and the eye doctor wants him to wear a patch on it. Not a pirate patch but an adhesive bandage that seals off the light.
You are thinking, "play the pirate game!! Argh!!"
No dice. He doesn't care if pirates wear eye patches and are cool. He doesn't want to wear the eye patch.
We told him that it was special and just for him. It was something even his brother Ethan didn't have. You know, playing on that middle child syndrome. He didn't care. He doesn't want to wear the eye patch.
The doctor says so? Who cares?
I'm the mom and I am telling you to wear it? Nope.
Any child who will go out in public looking like this is certainly not going to give his mother's demands a second thought.
I bow to you, great Internet. The story on the street is that if this doesn't get fixed, he could actually go blind in that eye. No one wants to be the mom who made her kid go blind. Tell me what solutions you have to offer to get him to wear the patch for one hour a day, three days a week.
Help me please.
Isn't he cute? You would hardly know that this is the face of a child that just may drive his mother over the edge.
I've been working on watching the kids more closely. That means if anyone is in a mood, they have to follow me everywhere. That everywhere includes the bathroom. I miss going to the bathroom on my own but at least I know you aren't climbing up on a chair, removing the lock from the door and getting into the chemicals. You know, spraying bleach cleaner on the dirty laundry.
I let down my guard on Friday. Not really. I just needed to change my clothes. As I pulled my shirt over my head, I heard a loud shatter. Oh, no. Not the window. I waited a second and I didn't hear anyone screaming. I continued to change my clothes. The damage was done. You can't un-break the window now.
I went downstairs and looked out the now-broken window. On the other side was Nathan wielding a broom. He seemed disinterested in the shattered double paned window that provides a lovely view from the dining room to the back porch. I began to yell at him through the window and I promptly put him in timeout.
He didn't really care. I found Ethan hiding under a table in the other room. It's nice to see that someone fears my wrath. As far as the middle child goes, I guess my only recourse is to lock up all the brooms.
This weekend Derek took the boys down to the National Mall. I went to a book signing not far away with Mason and we all met up around 7:30.
K: How did it go?
D: Great. Good. Okay, we had our moments.
K: Oh no.
D: The leagues were out playing all over the mall and the boys couldn't understand why they were not allowed to just jump right in and play.
K: The leagues full of adults.
K: Not a kid in sight?
K: They didn't notice that there were no kids?
D: Uh, nope.
K: And they still wanted to play.
D: No, they thought they were entitled to play.
K: Oh no. So our discussion on the importance of including everyone and taking turns backfired.
D: Uh, yep.
K: What did you tell them?
D: That it was a game for adults.
K: That didn't go over well, did it?
D: No, it did not. It's not really a game just for adults. Ethan reminded me of that.
Kid has a memory like an elephant. You can't get anything over on him.
On a lighter note, apparently Mason had no problem about being excluded from the game.
My husband is saying that I am a hypocrite for writing this post. How dare I judge the picky eater? I am one myself. There, I said it. When I was little, I may have even promised my parents that I would eat vegetables when I was 7 in order to get out of eating them. My seventh birthday came and went and I still didn't eat vegetables. I did not happily consume a vegetable until I was 23. Now I can eat tomatoes by the farmer's market bag full.
When Ethan started eating food I was delirious. From his first birthday on, he would eat two scrambled eggs every single day. Yes, I am the best mom ever. Or so I thought until he reached his second birthday and he refused to eat anything that could possibly be construed as healthy or good for you. That and he hated when his food touched. How weird is that (as she looks around guiltily herself). He did eat fruit so that kept me off the pediatrician bad list.
Nathan? Depends on the day. Or the hour. Or the alignment of the planets. Sometimes he'll eat whatever and sometimes he'll eat nothing. He is also not afraid to tell you what you can do with those vegetables.
We have a policy in our house that I make dinner and you either eat it or you do not eat it. Sure they are eating macaroni and cheese every day for lunch but I am making an effort for dinner. These are the new things we are doing around here and they seem to be helping.
1. Let the kids help with dinner. My friend got the kids make-your-own pizza kits for Easter and we made them the other day. First let me say that all you gluten-free people, bless your hearts. Rice flour pizza dough was not as tasty as I thought it would be. But by golly, Ethan ate the entire thing. He seemed slightly more motivated because he had made it himself. The same goes for last night's mashed potatoes that he made himself. I couldn't get the kid to touch mashed potatoes before last night (which makes him really weird. Who doesn't like mashed potatoes???). Even Nate ate them because Ethan made them. Suckers.
2. Sit down at the table to eat. I'm sure you all do this all the time and you are looking at the computer screen like I have lost my mind. Well let's just say I haven't seen the dining room table in months. When we did sit there, it was a nightmare. We started eating dinner at the long kitchen counter and suddenly my kids eat their entire plate of food. They get to eat on tall stools and no one is vying for Dad's lap and screaming. Who know? (Thanks for the tip on that one, Ginny).
3. Don't rule out bribery. Just offer them dessert already. If you are sneaky like me, your kids mistakenly believe that applesauce is a dessert, as are fresh strawberries and blueberries. I'm sure they will figure it out at some point but until then, this is me riding the wave to the shore.
Tell us what you do to make sure your kids eat. It's a judgment-free zone here. All you people that give your kids dinosaur chicken nuggets for breakfast? I know you are out there.
This is actually a hug of love. If the middle one was holding him, we would have to keep a closer eye on things. Nathan has taken to giving his baby brother Mason huge hugs that knock the wind out of him. I have taken to carrying the baby everywhere and never putting him down. You know those parents that say crazy things like "Billy loves his brother soooo much" and then you look over and wonder, if only for a second, if Billy has murder on his mind?
That would not be me. I'm not that parent. I know that my second born is extremely annoyed at the entrance of his brother. It's not that he was particularly clingy before Mason was born, but Nathan is definitely irritated now by the fact that I am irritated all the time. I can tell it is my fault. If I stop screaming for even a second, everyone is cheery. I am just getting tired of pulling people off of the top of the fridge or out of the baking cabinet.
Go on and eat that baking soda. See if I care.
No, wait. I don't want to clean up that mess. And I know someone will vomit, just to annoy me. Can't you keep that baking soda down, for heaven's sake? And the milk pouring? I feel like I need to take this kid to Montessori. Age appropriate, developmentally appropriate, blah, blah, blah. I don't care if he pours his milk. It's the $4.50 worth of milk on the floor that annoys me.
I know. What was I thinking going to the bathroom again? Tomorrow I'll be instituting liquid holdback/forced dehydration or I could always get a catheter.
This post could also be filed under "things you never thought would come out of your mouth in your lifetime." So fess up. If you have more than one, did you delusionally think your older child was in love with the younger? It's okay, this is a safe place to confess. I promise not to point and laugh.
We also want to remind everyone about the transition to Digital TV that happens on June 12. Although if you haven't heard about it by now, you probably shouldn't be surprised when your t.v. goes to snow on the 12th. :-)