Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I am alive

And sorry it's been so long since I posted. My new gig is keeping me hopping, and most things I would typically sound off on over here I have been saving for Strollerderby.

And quite frankly, things have been less than great over here. Parenting two kids is kicking my ass. Hard. Will has been teething, poor little guy, so he is cranky and gritchy and not too into the whole "sleep" thing. One night a few weeks ago, I flopped down onto the couch, exhausted, next to Paul and said "Remember that baby we had? The one that would go down easily, even the mythical "drowsy but awake"? The one that would sleep seven or eight hours at a stretch? I want THAT baby back."

Which would be doable, except Maggie is going through A Phase right now, at least I hope it's a phase, that has me seriously considering walking the hell out of here and never coming back on especially bad days. She's just awful, quite frankly. She screams at me, she's kicked us, and she openly defies what she's been told to do and not do. Like looks right at us and does it with what can only be described as a "screw you" look on her little face.

Which makes me feel like the most incompetent, stupid, ineffectual mother on the planet. Nobody else seems to get this kind of behavior out of their kid, at least no one who, you know, actually parents them versus letting them run wild. The people I know have lovely children. I feel like people are either watching her behave like a maniac and thinking "Who is that child's mother??" or hearing me say "Maggie, stop touching that! Margaret, come back here! Mar. Gar.Et. Put. That. Down" while she capers around like a mountain goat on crack and think I am Hell Bitch.

Here's an example: We went to a wedding this weekend, one of my cousins. I love my mom's side of the family, I have a bajillion cousins and some of the awesomest aunts and uncles on the planet. We decided to spend the money and time and go, thinking it would be so much fun to watch Maggie dance with her cousins and carry on.

But disaster on top of disaster (we couldn't get her to nap, and dinner took forever to be served, and I made her stop running around and fondling the ice sculpture), and sure enough, Melt. Down. Our fun family night was over by 9 pm. On the way home the next day, when she'd finally fallen asleep, I asked Paul if he thought she might be, you know, "diagnosable." Or is her issue just that she's three and a half coupled with a very strong will?

Monday night, she fought going to bed tooth and nail and showed up in our room (for the first time) twice to tell us she couldn't sleep. She's been getting up before 7 every morning, and with Will still up at least twice a night and me usually working until 10:30-11ish that REALLY blows. She finally copped to having nightmares last night, and with lots of cuddling and encouragement, got herself to sleep and stayed there.

The worst part is, his behavior makes me not want to be around my daughter. My daughter, who is beautiful and charming and delightful and one of my favorite people, who is growing up so fast I feel like she'll be in college in about a week. And I am not enjoying Will and his utter deliciousness (seriously, were I to post a picture right now you'd be threatening to eat him with a spoon with the chubby thighs and the enormous cheeks and the sweet smile) as much as I should because I am just so damn exhausted all the time.

It just feels like other people can handle all this, too. Other people keep up with their blogs and hold down jobs and work out and keep their houses clean and their friendships maintained, while I've had friends admit to having their feelings hurt because I am so out of touch, and our house looks like it's abandoned practically because of the state of the yard, and let's not discuss the last time my entire upstairs bathroom was clean, and I am always a load behind on the laundry and owe one client a story and my cellphone is broken and I have no idea when I'll be able to burn the time again to fix it.

And yet I am so blessed by these beautiful children I can't stand it. And I know, just as there as a day when Maggie was maybe ten months old when I realized I had hit my groove, there will be one with us as a family of four. And I will sleep, and I will be productive workwise, and have time to talk to my husband and remember why we got ourselves into this situation in the first place, and running away to Costa Rica will no longer seem so appealing.

I'm enormously grateful to have these two children, and even with the teething and behavior issues I would still pick these two delightful kids over any others in the world. But damn. I am tired.


Lisa said...

Aww, Amy, I won't go into details, because then I'd be taking over your blog to do so...but there are days that I could write every last word of this post myself! And 3 and a half...oh dear. The late twos and threes are SO. HARD. Couple that with a new(ish) baby in the house, and you get exactly what you've got going on now. It happened to me, it's happened to millions of other parents, and I seriously believe that anyone who implies that they're able to hold it together all the time in this situation is LYING (or at the very least, delusional)!

It really does get better. Believe that. My older son is 4.5 now, and though he still can get under my skin, he is mostly such a sweet kid and loving big brother. The two year old has so far been much easier than his big brother (personality or my own experience? I don't know and don't care)...though I won't be surprised if things get a lot rougher with him in the months to come.

Just remember...this too shall pass!

Em said...

Oh yes, having two kicks my ass. Lately, I have fantasized more than once about sending one or both of them to "Exile Island" for a night or two to teach them a lesson. Of course, that sentiment passes and we hit some new equilibrium where I feel somewhat in control. Hang in there, Amy. You are in good company.

msuspartan99 said...

Oh Amy... your story sounds like me! It gets better, I promise. 3 year olds are insane! I remember when C1 was 3, I considered taking classes on how to parent "bad" kids. I felt like the worst parent ever. All I can say is "be consistant". Your children will learn how you parent and act accordingly. It is way easier said than done, but it is really essential... for me anyway. Also, it helped me to set a routine for my boys and stick to it. My boys know at 8:30 it's bedtime, and if they aren't in bed TO STAY by 8:30, that there are consequences. I told T that I get off work at 8:30, so I get cranky if I am asked to work overtime. I certainly don't know everything though, so do what is best for your family. I do promise though... it gets better.

caro said...

Oooh. I hear you, I really do. I have been there, and, frankly, at times I've been hard put to summon even the level of gratitude that you've expressed here.

And who ARE those Other People, anyway, with the clean houses and perfectly behaved children and Outfits? I hate them.

I don't know that there's anything I can say that would help, except that I've been right where you are and somehow it's gotten better. There's hope! There is!

kate said...

As lisa said, i could write your post myself! C. will be 4 next month and we have basically had a whole year of this behavior. Drama princess, we call her. I think it is jealousy of the babies + strong-willed child + a sensitivity to food coloring (fairly newly discovered) + too much TV + she's just spoiled anyway + some bad parenting thrown in. I just got back from my mom's, which was 10 days of *pure hell* with C. tantruming constantly and my mother keeping up a constant stream of invective as far as how bad the girl is and what a terrible mother i am. Costa Rica sounds just about right to me.

Since i have been back home though, i have found several threads on various boards where people are dealing with precisely the same sort of behaviors. I have come to the conclusion that it is very common with a 3-year old (especially a girl) + a new baby (or babies).

By the way i finally made my blog public again...i forget if i ever sent you an invite or not but you don't need one now.

Anonymous said...

oh, thank god I'm not the only one. Have you noticed that I post on strollerderby ever other never? My charming baby no longer sleeps, my charming 4 year old is no longer charming. At all.

Just reading this made me feel so much better.

tripmom827 said...

Amy{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}} You will get your groove back. And, yes, everyone says if two stinks, just wait until 3. 3 is the worst year ever! By far. And, all of my friends tell me that the jump from one kids to two is the worst.

And for the record, I don't think other people do it all. I don't. Unless they are on crack. I always say if the kids have clean underwear and clean dishes to eat off of, then we're good. Who cares if you need a scythe to get to the front door.

Hang in there. It will get better. And, there are plenty of days ahead for enjoying your children. Sometimes, let's just admit it, there are phases where we just have to get by. And, if I have time when I am in MI next month, I'll come over so you can go out and get a pedicure...or a nap!

Theresa said...

Amy, if you ever want to call to bitch about how tired you are or how hard two kids is, feel free. I'm happy to listen and, yes, age 3 sucks big hairy donkey balls sometimes.

apt said...

Oh no.
Where's the paper bag? I can't catch my breath. #2 is due in 3 months. Actually, thank you. Your check in is kind of a PSA of the realities of parenting more than one at difficult ages.
In 8 months, remind me to look back at this post, so I know it's not just me. And then say, like so many of your kind readers have, "it gets better, I promise."
Amy, I am grateful to you for showing us parts of your life, warts and all. You make motherhood so much more "organic" than Donna Reed.
And I'd offer to go toilet paper the houses of the parents who seem to have it together, except t.p. is on the grocery list...

Oz said...

I can't speak from mama experience, but I did work in the 2/3 year-old-room in a childcare center, and all the kids went lost it on a regular basis.

Seriously, I think those perfectly behaved children are the ones who are angelic in public and save their explosions for behind closed doors. All kids have melt-downs and misbehave - they just don't necessarily do it in front of you. This is going to sound weird, but sometimes I wish Axel would have a public melt-down. My father constantly tells me he's a perfect baby, which makes me feel like I'm delusional since he has some seriously non-perfect moments at home. When I see public melt-downs by other kids, it makes me feel less alone. Weird, but true.

zaimee said...

wandered over here from caramama's blog to see how you were handling the 2 kid thing (remembered from moxie) because it's definitely kicking my butt with an almost 2 year old (2weeks shy) and a 4 month old.