A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Monthly Archives: June 2016

Growing Pains

I lament my children growing older.  Even my warrior queen, short of three-months is aging too rapidly.  Only yesterday was she barely awake, now expresses preferences to be active, observing our household happenings.  My son asserts his increasing desire for independence.  It seems too soon he will no longer want me hovering, and perhaps that day is already upon me.  But, my humble plea to both, please, don’t hurry your current youth…I’m much too tired for the next step that approaches.

Three-years-old is supposed to be the earliest time for boys to begin their expressed desire to use the toilet like the rest of us.  Really?  My son is barely over the two-year mark.  It’s too soon for him to rip off his soiled diapers onto our carpet.  It’s too soon for Little Man to indicate he left a duce in his all-in-one undies for me to clean.  I am much to tired and ill prepared to begin the process of toilet training.  It was bad enough my son started walking and insisting on feeding himself.  The catastrophe left in his wake after those benchmarks will pale in comparison to trails of dung all over the house.  My kid is a seriously prolific pooper; I feel blessed if I only change his substantial diaper chips three times a day.

To make matters worse, my daughter isn’t sleeping as much.  Sure, her plentiful smiles are breathtaking, but they are sprinkled among strong stipulations to be cuddled.  I don’t think I have the energy and general wherewithal  to manage a potty training toddler in the midst of a sleep regression and an infant choosing to progress into consciousness in a timely manner.  It’s heartbreaking; they just grow up much, much too fast…

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Sweet Dreams

This just has to be documented for what I desperately hope isn’t the beginning of many more similar tales, but I suspect this will be old hat soon…sigh.

My husband is wonderful, entertaining our two-year-old little man for almost the entire day while I tended to the Warrior Queen, which amounted to feeding her and lounging on the sofa with a sprawled infant on my chest.  I even managed to eat lunch vaguely within the lunch hour realm.  Consequently, tonight I was in charge of Mr. Man’s bedtime routine.

My son was on my lap brushing his teeth before I took over when I noticed the entire front of his shorts were wet.  Great sleuth I am assumed correctly it was urine.  Well, that’s a puzzle.  I check his diaper, and half of it is unattached.  That is also a puzzle.  Then I notice brown crust on his lower leg, yup, poop.  That was the final puzzle prompting me to call downstairs to my husband asking why there was poop on our son’s leg.  Our house hollering virtually overlapped with my husband indicating that our son had excavated poop out of his diaper and threw it on the floor in front of the family room book shelf.  I was sitting all evening in that very room, so how craptastic at parenting am I that I was oblivious to my son engaging in a fecal drop ‘n’ roll in front of me?  Perhaps some questions are best left unanswered.

Fairly Aggressive, Not All that Passive

My two-year-old son is a seasoned professional in the sleep regression field, but seems to be starting his transition back to his reliable snooze during the day.  I say this cautiously, as today was the first day in almost two weeks when he napped.  It wasn’t enough to spare me from an odd mix of sweetly clingy and dismally cranky, with a side of impulsive destruction as the late afternoon progressed into evening, but I’ll take it.

There are all kinds of reasons for sleep regression specific to this age, but Mr. Man’s brand is concern for missing out on Mommy time.  If I weren’t so tired, this would be endearing.  The genesis of this problem is my fault, really.  A combination of me assuming a toddler equates an oblivious human, and his delayed speech pressing me to forget exactly how finely attuned his receptive language is, prompted me to lament to anyone who would listen on the phone how the Warrior Queen spent the duration of Little Man’s nap sleeping on me for several days in a row.  The fateful afternoon in question began his naptime with my son waiting in his crib while I trekked downstairs to retrieve his disgusting bacteria and disease carrying stuffed dog, as well as my wailing daughter.  He screamed, “Baby! Baby!” repeatedly between fits of tears once I returned with her nestled in my arms.  That was it.  He hasn’t taken a nap since despite his blatant need for some shut-eye.  Seriously, two months of night time feedings didn’t have me looking as tired and ragged as Little Man during the past couple weeks.  Today he napped, a paltry forty-five minutes, but it’s a start, and hopefully a sign of what’s to come…for everyone’s sanity.

But, today I waited too long to retrieve my son from his crib.  The process of sleep training my son, and my daughter intermittently requiring me to hold her for significant durations throughout my son’s “quiet time,” left me getting little done and having almost no break in the last couple weeks.  So, I took it upon myself to enjoy a lovely piece…or two…okay, four…of my favorite dark chocolate hazelnut bar while my daughter actually slept without me needing to intervene.  My son was awake and standing, but if he suspected I had chocolate, he’d climb my face to get to it…not even kidding.  My delay consequently, had me pay the piper once I retrieved him.  Not only did he become suddenly upset between the thirty seconds it took me to clean every ounce of chocolate off of my fingers and reach his door, but then my daughter began passionately screaming downstairs as I pulled him up.

In the six weeks since my parents left, I’ve become a bit of an aficionado at managing situations when at least one of the three of us is unhappy.  Warrior Queen needed to eat, and I needed Conan the Destroyer to chill until I could satiate my daughter well enough to reasonably tend to him.  Maybe cartoons work for some parents.  I haven’t used that piece of potential arsenal yet, but Mr. Man loves watching home recordings of himself as a baby.  He’s also rather partial to his sister’s first bath video; it’s usually first on the viewing docket.

The home movies worked their magic for a bit.  My daughter was able to chug a good amount of her formula.  My son was entertained with videos of him laughing at the wind through the leaves when he was six-months-old, but then he decided to attempt calling Guam, reaching past my computer for our home phone.  Movies done; my daughter notsomuch.

The next intervention for a generally disquieted Mr. Man following an insufficient rest works about half the time.  Usually not when I’m in the middle of tending to his sister, but it’s easy enough to try.  I enthusiastically offer to read him a story.  Surprisingly, Little Man scampers off to the other room, and I hear him retrieving items from the appropriate shelf.  He wastes no time returning, laying a book in front of me while his sister continues to inhale the contents of her bottle.  I hadn’t read this specific story to him since I was pregnant, but I guess he had a yen for, You Were the First.

The Sum of Our Parts

There was an incident today.  I was wrong, completely.  I’ll spare the details because I’m already struggling with a hefty dose of mom guilt over this, and I don’t want to risk further, albeit unlikely, battery in my comment section about the error of my judgment.  To avoid, however, the annoyance of a post entirely too cryptic from the get-go, suffice it to say it involved a soiled diaper changing location that was not ideal.  I felt uneasy about it at the time, but determined it was the best option in a series of problematic options.  I was reported to personnel for a judgment call by an individual who, apparently, decided I was not up to her high standards of parenting.

I wasn’t intending on a post of this nature.  I don’t want to come across as blaming and deflecting to detract from my impropriety.  I don’t want to make excuses for my actions.  I get it.  I was wrong for my decision.  It wasn’t the first time, and certainly won’t be the last.  I would continue to feel bad even if an employee was not called to redirect my behavior.  I was doing the best I could for my children, and that’s the point.

So, here is my rub that is prompting me to immortalize a memory I’d rather forget.  I’m balancing between a two-month-old infant and a two-year-old who is impulsive and cranky.  While I try to be good humored and natured about things, I’m clearly struggling.  As a mother with a youngish child of her own at the same establishment, what prevented her from offering to help instead of taking the punitive route?  On my end it would have been a valued offering, such gestures usually are.  How do I know?  I try to be that helpful parent.  Maybe there isn’t something I can physically do, but at the very least I’m the one to crack a joke when I see another parent in public with his or her child who is in the throws of an impressive tantrum.  Maybe I risk the joke falling flat, but in every instance of the many, I see relief wash over the parent’s face.  In that moment I’ve communicated that I get it; the parent is doing the best he or she can.

I will end with that.  While there are other pieces to this other mother’s behavior that are troubling, I hope this post inspires others to reach out to those visibly struggling.  I don’t know if it would change the world, but that lowly individual would probably appreciate it.

Hitting the Fan

I don’t think I truly could call myself a parent before yesterday.  Apparently, a two-year-old sleep regression is a thing, and Little Man is in the midst of one.  I suspected from the get-go this wasn’t a transition eliminating his naps entirely, but he isn’t napping nonetheless, despite his marked Walking Dead audition sequence for the last week.

Until yesterday his sleep deprived state mostly had him wanting to increase his Mommy time with me reading or singing, sometimes just sitting next to him while he plays quietly on the floor.  He would save his death and destruction until Daddy returned home from work.  Yesterday, however, the day of his delirious chaos initiated immediately after returning from his favorite playground, prompted me to send him to a very early nap.

With the monitor sound on it was a strange nap forty-five minutes in.  As has been the case for the last week, he refused to lay down, choosing to stand and sing to himself, but then he professed squeaks of displeasure.  Maybe he pooped.  I climbed the stairs to check.  Nope.  I quickly reassured him, and subsequently left the room.  Another forty-five minutes into his performance had him crying suddenly.  A bit more swiftly I climb the stairs to a diaper greeting me on the white carpeted floor.  Within the open diaper was a rather substantial offering, and the room stank.  Upon my entry, Little Man increases his wails thinking I’m mad at him.  I can’t say if any emotion registered, but I plucked my son who was giving his best impression of a lobster retrieved from a tank.  Starfish limbs and me holding him a bit out from me, I take him to the changing table.  My son is screaming, “Diaper, diaper,” with tears streaking his face.  The poop on his fingers made him all the more distraught; within seconds he wiped them on my bare arm.

My son was bathed…again, but without the earlier dramatics of him flooding our bathroom.  Even with a new diaper he continued to chant, “Diaper, diaper.”  When I indicated my awareness of the full one on his floor, he stopped.  Surprisingly, there was no poop anywhere on his crib or the floor.  Not sure how that was managed, but sometimes it’s better not to question heavenly gifts.

Another day of a failed napping attempt, and we sat on the sofa; Little Man selecting the new potty training book I purchased to get his head in the game.  He’s been obsessed with it for three days now.  Huge smiles as I repeated the story, and my son uttering his toddler articulation of, “Shit.”  I tried deluding myself for a few of his utterances, but realized I’d have to address the situation in such a matter that didn’t perpetuate this first ever bit of profanity usage, or nurture the path for continued repetitions of colorful words I didn’t realize he overheard me saying.  It was a successful intervention for the moment, but considering that it reinforced my suspicion that he now can and does say, “Shit,” I probably shouldn’t celebrate this particular behavior management achievement.

Once things were cleaned and settled, I took both cherubs for a drive so my son would possibly sleep for a bit.  The deprivation seems to be taking quite a toll on Mr. Man, and I was exhausted after a week of two children rising early and no break during the day.  The thirty minute snooze wasn’t enough for him, but the house was still standing by Little Man’s bedtime, so it was a good call.

We entered the house; my husband home early knowing I hadn’t trusted leaving my son scurrying around while I showered poop residue off my person.  He had a few minutes of work to complete, and the Warrior Queen expressed her desire for a bottle.  Within a minute of me gazing lovingly at her beautiful face after the feeding, she spits-up all over my torso, offering a wide smile in its aftermath.  I guess she wanted to get in on the action, and, really, once one is smeared with fecal matter, what’s another bodily secretion?

 

Fork and other Four-Letter Words

A smidge over two-years-old and my son finally started talking.  At this point he is where he should have been at eighteen-months, but the tidal wave is washing over him in monumentally overflowing succession.  The progress can be counted in a mere few weeks.  Of course, with such delights comes the realization that I must begin to filter my commentary, not so much for individual inappropriate words, but I’m waiting for him to regurgitate some criticism in front of the very person I will be in the process of barely tolerable pleasantries.

Awkward conversational happenstance aside, to say I have a potty mouth is one of the greatest understatements of the year.  I absolutely love using profanity…not quite as much as eating chocolate, but abstinence would make my heart heavy with grief and experience a general dissatisfaction with life.  Sophisticated words are lovely and important, but colorful, creative words that could possibly make other people shudder with their icky descriptiveness are so much better.  As is, my filter around my children isn’t too bad, but my story telling lacks a certain oomph these days…maybe I’m creating excuses.  But, there is something delectably awesome about combining multisyllabic highbrow descriptors with dialogue read on a middle school bathroom stall…my mother would be so proud…

We’ll see the path my daughter follows, but for now many of the words my son utters have a distinct trucker quality to them that I try to avoid nurturing.  Many instances in the past couple weeks required me to double take and assess, “No, he is asking for a fork,” or “I’m fairly certain he wants a different shirt.”  Sometimes I’m not entirely sure what he’s saying, but I’ll tell myself it’s jargon, rather than the precursor to what will have him sent to the preschool Principal’s office.  In the meantime, I will increase my censoring efforts around my sweet-faced cherubs, but I make no promises when I’m in the exclusive company of adults.

The Smiles that Launched a 1,000…Diaper Changes

I remember that very early morning when my son first smiled socially.  It was just summer, or maybe technically still spring.  The sky was beginning to lighten, casting its glowing hue throughout the room.  I’ve always loved that time of day…if only I weren’t so sleep deprived at the time…  I was holding my new little man who was kissing the unconscious from his feeding.  He suddenly awakened briefly, spied me, smiled, and drifted back to sleep for seconds before the process cycled several more times.  My heart melted, and I fell in love again.  Mr. Man was about six-weeks-old.

The Warrior Queen was six-weeks-old a week ago, and celebrated with her own social smile.  She is my daughter, so it was entering a feeding.  I give her a bottle, and she smiled around it, wide and wonderful.  My heart melted, and I fell in love again.  I tear up now thinking of it…maybe it’s still the hormones.  It was the late afternoon.  I’ve never liked that time of day, sleep deprived or not.  But, it was the start of so, so many smiles in a meager week.  My fierce girl continues to make her dynamic expressions, especially when she asserts her displeasure, but she routinely smiles to balance her edged communication.  For all those moments when she must wait to have her needs met, she is still so happy, and it gives me hope I haven’t scarred her because I couldn’t clone into two Mommies when my children synchronize their intense needs any given moment.

My favorite smile thus far wins its award for existing as so tragically silly.  In a week my husband has yet to see this new developmental milestone even though countless minutes elapse with him cuddling our Warrior Queen.  But, in this moment it was the awkward baby handoff.  As soon as my girl was in my arms, a smile erupts on her face with wide eyes looking at me.

There will be a rush of milestones accomplished in the next several months, all intended to amaze me with her sudden growth and maturing into a homunculus soon to be equally capable of destroying my house like her brother, but I want to burn every smile in my mind above all else.

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