By the time bedtime came around tonight I just had to laugh at the irony of parenting. The sheer unpredictability of it all, the nothing’s a sure bet but anything can happen mentality. Today was a very good day. Magical moments were made, hilarious laughs were had, and memories created. But my kids (and all kids, I’m assuming!) are seriously relentless.
The day started off at a should-be-illegal-to-be-awake-hour-on-a-Sunday of 537am. My husband was getting an offer to pick up a double shift. That meant he would be at work at 645am instead of 230pm. That meant we wouldn’t get to hang out all morning. That meant he slept from 1am-537am. He snuggled his hand into mine as he whispered “I am going to pick up the double.” I was really trying to fall back asleep but, then we caught up a bit as we wouldn’t actually see each other for another 96 hours. We would sleep in the same bed every night, however. He left at 6am.
At 615 Owen (almost 6) was crying in my doorway as his stomach was so hungry he couldn’t ignore it anymore. He could, clearly, ignore our house rules, however…. Which include: Stay in your room or bed until 645 on weekdays, 7 on the weekends. He even pulled the “I just want to snuggle” card. Oh! The adorable trap. I resisted. Until 646. Because I did kinda forget that it was a weekend. Really I did. (How long before he won’t ask to snuggle? I’m just covering my bases here. Life is short.)
After some sweet morning snuggles and recapping on the tooth fairy’s visit from the night before, we snuck out to make some breakfast for this apparently famished child. I can’t whip up my paleo pancakes fast enough. I am literally whipping egg whites by hand, people. This is not a fast process. Kids don’t care. I must have heard “I’m hungry” 847 times today, half of which came before 8am. I kept making deals… Assist in cooking and they will be done sooner. Nope, I’m too hungry to help. Read this book and then the pancakes will be brown. Well, the book took all of 36 seconds to finish. Well now the cakes are done, but they are too hot, so I will have to put them in the fridge to cool them down..Let me fill the french press, please!
From the pancakes on, the day is a blur. There was a lot of meal prep and feeding. Some outdoor play. Trampoline time. Chicken coop cleaning, interrupted by a diaper change. And then another diaper change. Can she just tell me when she poops? The sneak poops really are not fun for anyone. And then..more feeding and then… NAPTIME!
Owen gave up on the naps around age 4. I should have imposed a quiet time situation, but didn’t. Now if stars align, Ara is asleep and I am home, then O and I get 2-3 hours of quiet time together!!! It happens a couple times per month. Sometimes we read during her entire nap. Sometimes he gets to watch a show while mom takes a power nap. Sometimes we play Mancala, do Lego’s, or play outside. It is a magical time for us.
Today mama wanted a nap. A nap. I wanted it BAD. (Remember 537am?) There comes a point in time where my sole focus in life is to take a power nap. It actually consumes me. I want it. I need it. It must happen. Now. This need happens when the possibility for it opens up, like a carrot dangling before me. I just need to reach out and–today was not that day.
I sat down to read with my son. He selected five books for us to read together. I love this time with him, just us. The quiet, the snuggles, the shared interest in learning. It’s the BEST. But I was for sure really flip-flopping exhausted and had already had my heart set on that power nap. House is quiet. Caffeine wearing off. It can easily happen. We’re talking 20 minutes. Seriously. It’ll make me a new person.
We enjoyed the first few books and then I mentioned I was going to power nap and he was going to read. That was the plan. AND THEN I MENTIONED AFTERWARDS HE WOULD EARN 20 MINS OF TV TIME. And all hell broke loose. Like really loose. (Note to self: NEVER do that again.)
“BUT I WANT TO WATCH IT NOW.”
“This is the plan. The parents make the rules. I know you are upset by them but that is the plan. The TV will be there in 20 minutes. First read, then TV.”
“BUT. BUT. BUT. BUT. BUT. BUT I WAAAAAAAAA” (Very escalated loud unpleasant child).
So now I was faced with a parenting dilemma. Oh boy, I’m getting these on the regular these days! Is he punished for breaking one of our (few) house rules (crying for technology)? Or do we stick to the task at hand? Which is to simply following directions: “Be quiet and calm while mom closes her eyes and recharges, then earn some technology time.” That was too much for him to understand, apparently. He can name a dinosaur for every letter of the alphabet, but can’t follow two step directions? Ummmm… He’s working me!!!
45 minutes later, (after many, many tears [just his]) he calmed down, became quiet, and read a book. Minutes passed. Then he came into the room. “But I’m hungry”.
I think I did fall asleep prior to this interruption. Maybe a minute. At this point, I just couldn’t handle it. I totally lost my cool. I was HOT. I went in the pantry and got out every darn snack we had. I opened up a fruit snack (special treat!), a whole box of crackers (what!), a rice cake package (dude!), and put them in front of him. I didn’t say a word but inside I was raging. I seriously just need to close my eyes in order to function better. How do you not see this? Scary Mommy is out on the prowl. The evidence is in front of you. I just opened up every single processed snack in our home for you to consume copious amounts of as desired. I totally opened the packages in a fit of rage. Lost it. Rapid movements. No words.
Face plant on pillow. Whew. Quiet. Minus the crunchy sounds from the rice cakes.
I think I fell asleep again. A minute passed and I woke with a large breath in. I missed the darn window for the energizing power nap. Not gonna do it.
I did some deep breathing exercises and then got out of bed. I was in my room for all of 10 minutes. I asked for an apology for the 45 minute tantrum and crying for tv blah, blah. Then I apologized for scary mommy coming out. Then we played Mancala for the next hour and a half. It turned into a great afternoon. I had some caffeine. I powered through. As we moms do.
The rest of the afternoon was smooth. Outdoor play, trampoline jumping, and easy dinner prep whilst popping outside to enjoy their ladybug observations. Then, Kidz Bop usual dance party ensued. It was pretty amazing, really. It’s was normal afternoon, and also how I would describe my ideal afternoon.
My offspring loving on each other. Owen dressed himself and apparently it’s October. Boooooooo!
Trampoline time~always giving homage to the thing I love to hate: the Kegel.
Then bedtime comes and I realize our express cycle for the washer is NOT very express; I decided at 4pm that it would be a good idea to wash all the super important bedding for both children. My son helped and got his blanket loaded into the washer but then I forgot to start the load. I had already put the soap in or else I would have just pulled it all out of the washer. I started the express load at 6 and it didn’t finish. I cut it off at 645. Total first world problem. But here we were. Wet linens of the favorites at bedtime… We extended our dance party 20 minutes to accommodate the blankies.
Solo bedtime went well. I’m used to it. Chris works pm’s so more often than not bedtime is a single parent adventure. Then a big bad loud thunderstorm rolls in as I started my workout. I was literally doing yoga, and during an exhalation who appears? My Owen, screaming and crying in my doorway once again. He has many fears. I don’t blame him, he’s been through a lot. But, it’s bedtime. I love him and I comfort him, but I really don’t have much pull with Mother Nature. There is no reasoning with him. After trying 3 different earplugs/earmuffs, he picked his favorite ones and I also provided white noise from my phone (in addition to his fan that makes a nice shhhhhhh sound.).
3 minutes into elliptical… “BUT IT’S SO LOUD. WHEN IS IT GOING TO STOP??”
“I just heard on the weather report that it’s stopping really soon. 5 minutes to go.” Totally fibbing and hoping it will pay off. Sometimes we all need to be fibbed to. I was totally fibbed to. We all were!
Before you have kids, everyone always talks about the joys and rainbows. Those totally exist and are THE REASONS and THE TRUTH as to why we do this thing called parenting, but seriously folks, KIDS ARE RELENTLESS. They can smell weakness. They know us better than we know ourselves. It’s pretty freaky, but it’s true. If you don’t have kids, please believe me. If you think this doesn’t apply to you~ it totally does. I was in major denial about it prior to having kids. “Oh… ha ha, “they” say I’m going to be tired, but my kids are going to be different…” NO!!!! You will be pushed to your limits. I mean it. And it’s beautiful, really.
It is beautiful, because these tiny beings belong to us. It is frightening because these tiny beings belong to us. Whether they are relentless about their hunger, not following directions, or voicing their desires, they are equally relentless about their unconditional love. What could be better than that?!
Parenting is mostly black and white for me right now, with the ages and stages of my children. If there was a lot of grey then I am pretty sure I would be bored or let down. I’m just riding on their manic train. I’m driving it, actually! We are lifted up on highs, dancing to Michael Jackson (MJ ’round here), and then a crazy tantrum out of nowhere brews and explodes moments later. It’s just a part of it. A part of this chapter in our lives.
They are relentless in their desires, but they are also relentless in their love.
Nothing can ever compare to that.