Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Reason We're Not Having A 3rd Baby...

... is because of mornings like today. Seriously. It was baaaddddd. Like ready to throttle both of my kids bad and then throw their lifeless bodies under the first available city bus bad. Ok, so maybe I exaggerate just a smidge, but the morning really did suck gigantic donkey balls. It was as if both kids made a secret pact in the middle of the night to make today the shittiest day ever, and then ganged up to execute their flawless plan.

It worked.

It actually started last night with Lauren pitching a fit - again - about dinner and her general distain for 99% of the food. She did eat some corn-on-the-cob - an actual, honest-to-God vegetable (shocker!), so that was a pleasant bonus. But she hadn't napped and it got ugly right quick. We sent her to her room for being such a whiner/pain in the ass at the dinner table (what's new?) and she put herself to bed. So I went up there and tried to change her diaper and, oh, I don't know - put some pajamas on her? so she could sleep. I had some nerve, apparently, and the best I could manage was a clean diaper and nothing else. She slept in the toddler-equivalent of the buff. Fine by me.

Then this morning she wakes me up by shoving a diaper under my nose, demanding the fresh one (at least it was the clean one she hit me with and not the night-soaked one. Small mercies) be put on her NOW. (See below post about Lauren's fun new diaper thing.) I think we ALL woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I got the kids breakfasted (yes, that's a word. Shut up.) and dressed. I even did a load or two of laundry before we had to load up for swim lessons (cue scary doomsday music).

Just the loading up to leave part of swimming lessons was a trying experience. Like trying to corral kittens high on meth. Shoes weren't found. Towel selections were all wrong. Games weren't finished. Sudden hunger pangs were announced. General chaos.

We drive the nearly 25 minutes to swim lessons with Nicholas AND Lauren whining all the way. That annoying, might-as-well-be-shoving-needles-into-my-eyes whining. God, I hate that. Nothing shortens my fuse like orchestrated whining. And they were both letting me have it with gusto. We unload, griping the whole time, and I'm trying to do the usual pep-talk for Nicholas about how well he's going to do in lessons, how excited I am to watch him swim today, how he's going to listen to his teacher and not cry, right?? RIGHT!? (he's a total liar, turns out). We make it to the pool deck and we're a few minutes early.

(cue the meltdown)

Teacher: Ok Nicholas! Let's get into the water.
N: noooooooooo!!!!! I don't want to go to swimming lessons today!!!
Teacher (looking at me accusingly): he's feeling nervous already?
Me: Nicholas, please get in the water. It's time for your lesson. Your teacher is waiting.
Nicholas: (dissolving into a liquid puddle of goo on the floor and sobbing) noooo!
Me: What's wrong?? We talked about this. Get up! I want you to go get into the pool and have your lesson. NOW.
Nicholas (still crying): noooooo!
Teacher (giving me the eye)
Me: Get up. Get up right now! No? I'm done with this. We are going home and you don't get your sticker, you don't get to watch TV, and no computer either. Move!

And we left. Just like that, we left. It took everything I had not to throw him bodily into the pool and then run away. I marched him out of there, half pulling him, half dragging him, as he choked and sobbed and made a general spectacle of himself. He's pulled this crap at every lesson and I was so over it. It's the most frustrating experience because he never did this before. Before, he excelled. Before, he loved swimming lessons. Before, it was fun. Now? Not so much. Now it's a nightmare. I'm done being a cheerleader. Positive reinforcements aren't working. Rewards aren't working. Threats aren't working, either. Nothing is working and it pisses me off.

It's hard to admit, but I wanted NOTHING to do with my own kid today. No, make that kids - plural. Lauren's been her own brand of difficult today, too. The scene at the pool really set off some anger in me. Part of Nicholas's personality, it seems, since birth has been a lack of motivation and being a very big weenie, for lack of better word. He's still a big crybaby, and that sets my teeth on edge. His catch-phrase seems to be "I can't do it", punctuated with whine, even when he can. Even when he has before. And then we he DOES do it, he's very proud of himself and we give him tons and tons of ego strokes, but he seems to forget it. A taste of success doesn't make him want it again. I don't get it. I clash with his personality type and it makes me crazy. I'm sure I was given Nicholas as a lesson in patience.

Today, I failed to learn my lesson for I had no patience for his crap today. None.

So I find that today I'm making the kids "pay" for their poor behavior. I want to make today very uncomfortable for him so he doesn't want to repeat it. We went to the library, but I didn't allow him to check out a movie (something he normally gets to do and really loves). He hasn't gotten to watch his favorite cartoon show this afternoon, nor has he gotten to play games on the computer. I'm sort of giving him the silent treatment, truth be told, because I'm not over my urge to yell at him. I hate yelling at the kids and feel I do so too often. So I'm opting to distance myself from them today vs. yelling at them. But I'm reminding him throughout the day of how egregious his behavior was - how completely unacceptable - and letting him know I'm still upset. He's hanging out in his room for most of the day. Fine by me.

I've never wanted to drop the kids off at my mothers and run away so badly. I've not liked one thing about them today. I've not liked how I feel about them today.

We're clearly spending too much time together. I rarely get a break from them. Neither kid is in any sort of preschool and hasn't been since the move. Swimming lessons is our only "scheduled" activity. We don't yet have a playgroup, only an informal gathering of my friends from time to time. Kindergarten seems to be a lifetime away and can't get here fast enough. Mr. Chick is gone 11 hours a day, so it's just me and the kids. All.Fucking.Day.Long.

But what's worse? The guilt. The heart-breaking guilt about yelling so angrily at the kids. For seeing the crushed look on my sons face when I dismiss him and tell him to get away from me. The guilt for still feeling red-hot angry even when my darling boy tries his hardest to be nice to me. To smooth things over. To make things better. I accused him of being a quitter, and now he's telling me - reassuring me over and over - that he'll do better next time. Next time, he'll try try again and not give up. Next time he won't cry, he promises. "Trust me, Mama - I'll do better next time and you won't be mad at me anymore for quitting."

Oh the guilt. It stings.

He even told me to walk in front of him because he should walk in the back. Then he scrambled in front of me to try to open the big, heavy door for me. "Let me open the door for you, Mama!" And the kisses, the little innocent kisses he peppers my arms and hands with. Guilt makes those burn, too. Guilt sucks.

But it's still been a rough day and I still need some space from the kids. But tomorrow? Tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start and I'm determined to make my anger dissipate with my dreams and get back to the business of loving my kids.

Girlfriend, you got it bad. If my little 3 year old hellion in training didn't go to preschool at least 3 days a week, I'd eat him just to keep from getting totally un-nerved. I don't generally yell, but when I do, dear me, I feel so bad about it later. I just wrote about a horrible visit in the doc's office today...a crack smoking excursion I do say!
MP, I have to say that maybe the kids are showing reaction to the move? I don't know, but after having moved a few times myself, I've noticed that the girls seem to react at odd times and the only thing that's recently changed is that we've moved. They're so little and so accustomed to their schedules, so it is a huge upset, even when it's a good move, to their little systems.

Just a thought.

And the other thing, hang in there. Sorry you had a rough day. But like you said, tomorrow's a new day. I suggest a game of monster tag. :) Mommy is the monster first. Always makes me feel better.
It could be that I am 40 weeks pregnant and want scrsam 99% of the time, but this post hits home. I am moved to tears by knowing exactly where you are coming from!

Good honest parenting!
Wow -- are Nicholas and Sam the same kid? Honestly -- I know I couldn't handle him if he weren't at preschool three days of the week. He can be SUCH a crybaby and I wan't to tell him to suck it up -- and I think I actually have. I know what you mean about the guilt but at the same time -- man, they know how to push our buttons! Any chance there's a reasonable summer camp to give you guys a break from one another?
Your post sounds like my day a few days ago. And the guilt. I know exactly what you mean. The only organized activity we have right now is swimming and it was during the "dark day" that I realized "at least my kids take their lesson" because several kids were crying and refusing to get in the pool. I would have lost it over that, too. I am counting the small blessings :-) Thanks for the post!

I know EXACTLY where you're coming from. The only exception that my anger is directed at my 17 year old. I was so mad at him this past weekend I burst a blood vessel in my eye and absolutely COULD NOT talk to him all weekend, otherwise I would say hateful and spiteful things that I would regret later. I know you you are talking about a nearly 5 year old and a 2 and 1/2 year old, but
(sigh....) apparently it doesn't end. Well, maybe the whining does.
Being around the 3+ year old is more pleasant that being around a 17 yr old, high school graduate that knows EVERY BLESSED THING!!!!!
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Hang in there, MP. I actually think you did the right thing in showing him how upset you were and implementing repercussions. At his age, he can understand what is acceptable and what's not. Don't beat yourself up too much. I know the guilt is horrible, but Moms are human. And it actually helps our kids to see that we are as well. Stay strong, you are just fine!

I hope your week got better!
The good news is that it a phase and it will pass. If I were you I'd scrap the swim lessons not worth the aggravation. I take a little gal for kiddie college with my dd once a week. Every week I have to tear her away from her gramm and load into my car screaming. she screams for the 15 minute drive, screams at school. Its just not worth it but her parents insist she HAS to go. I'd rather find something that makes fun memories.

One thing that helps when you are faced with spending too much time with your kids, is looking over baby photos with them on your lap. then you can remember where they came from or started at. KWIM.

actually what I really wanted to say is that MP you are a great mom and you have been through a whole lot and you are surviving and continue to survive and like a cat you always land on your feet!
Oh, the guilt of not loving, or liking for that matter, your kids! I am so with you here. My husband is going back to work after a week's vacation, and I still feel burnt out! Like Mr.Chick, my hubby works long ass hours and it wears on all of us. Next month he's going overseas for a conference so it will be all-mommy all the fucking time! So, I totally get what you're saying.

I also agree that kids need to know that we have feelings too. I think sometimes when we are seething inside, we put on our 'happy mom' face. Our kids need to know that if you act a certain way, you will upset mommy. I mean who else would take soem of their crap and smile back at them?

I won't tell you not to feel guilty, because you will, but just know that you are not alone here. Obviously by the amount of posts here, you have proof that you are normal, and that we moms are only human too.`
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