Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm sorry, but a business trip IS a luxury!

So my stepdad called, out of the blue, the other day and asked if Tim and I would like him and my mom to come over Saturday evening and babysit all the kids so we could have a "date night". I was excited....shocked, but excited. They don't normally just call out of the blue and offer to babysit (which actually leaves me a little curious as to what this is really all about but I'm not gonna hesitate to take them up on their offer no matter how much curiosity is killing me). The first thing I did after hanging up with my stepdad was call Tim, who was on his way home from a business trip that he took to Vegas. Upon learning our good fortune, he says "oh good, I could use a break"....which left me thinking wtf?? YOU need a break??? I'm sorry but I think a business trip is a freakin break!! Initially when I learned he was having to go on this trip, I told him how envious I was and he said "yeah but I'll be stuck in the car for 9 hours driving to Vegas..." and I was like "9 hours in a quiet car where you can listen to your IPOD or talk radio or just snooze away while your dad drives, stopping every few hours for a bathroom break and to get something to snack on.....I'm sorry that does sound like pure torture...poor you".

As if that wasn't bad enough, he had to remind me that the trip was for business and that he would be working. I was quick to point out that his work would include a nice, relaxing dinner with his dad and a potential client, 2 long nights of uninterrupted sleep, the chance to pee and shower in complete privacy for as long as he wanted, the ability to eat all meals in peace and quiet without having 8 grabby, dirty little hands trying to pry the food of his plate, and an exhibition where he and his dad could leisurely stroll around looking for potential clients. Again, that sounds like pure torture....forgive me for not realizing that sooner. Oh yes, Tim is quite in need of a break....

It's funny how we see business trips so differently. Our therapist was treated to listening to me rant about this for a good 20 minutes at the beginning of our therapy session on Wednesday. Tim was lucky enough to miss out on that because he was on his luxury trip. And I said to our therapist "and how am I supposed to NOT feel resentful when he acts like going on a business trip is a huge sacrifice and such an inconvenience for HIM". I guess I would've been more sympathetic....no, that's a poor choice of words....I would've been more understanding if he had said "yeah, it's been tough for me to be away from you and the kids...I don't like having to travel and leave you home taking care of the kids by yourself...you really deserve a break so I'm glad we'll have the opportunity to spend some time together on Saturday night". Ya know, I'm starting to think I should just write a script for him...that way he'd always say the right things and I'd never have to mad at him.

Okay, so about date night...what on earth will we talk about? I'll tell you what we'll talk about...the kids. Before kids, we used to have fantastic conversations about various things in life that would hold our interest for hours. Now we talk about things like poop....we'll spend awhile discussing poop too. For instance, this morning we had a pretty good discussion on it because we both seemed to disagree as to what qualifies as diarrhea. The babies are now transitioning slowly to regular whole milk so I find myself examining every single diaper to make sure their poop hasn't changed enough to indicate a reaction to the milk. So we get the babies up this morning and Tim says "Garrett is poopy" and I give him one of those looks like "yeah, so change him", as if it needs to be announced that the child has pooped (or maybe he was just hoping I'd jump up quickly and excitedly tell him that I'd be happy to change Garrett's diaper).

The first thing Tim says "eeeew, he has diarrhea". I was in the kitchen by now and groaned at the thought of the babies' not transitioning well to the milk. So I asked "is it really bad? Like really runny and gross?" and he yells back "yeah, it's really runny and it smells pretty bad". I just roll my eyes because it's just so typical for transitions to not go well at all. Then after awhile Landon has a poopy diaper and Tim goes to change him and says "ugh, he has diarrhea too". I don't know why but I wanted to see the poop to see how bad it was (motherhood has obviously consumed me 110%) and I said "you consider THAT diarrhea?"....it was nowhere near what I would consider diarrhea. It was a much softer consistency than usual but it has been like that since they started milk, which I fully expected with starting milk.

I said "that is not diarrhea....diarrhea would be all liquidy...like nothing BUT liquid...this has some consistency to it. It's just smashed because he sat it in for a few minutes...and if he had diarrhea consistently, he'd have a butt rash which he clearly doesn't have". Tim just looked at me as if to say "And who declared you the expert on diarrhea??" He must have known I read his mind when I said "I've seen enough poopy diapers to know the difference between a soft, mushy poop and diarrhea and let's just leave it at that".

So I'm assuming this is the kinda stuff we'll chat about at dinner tomorrow night....this is what we've been reduced to. I just pray the hostess sits us in a little table in the back where no one can hear our discussion...."can you believe those people are sitting there discussing their childrens' shit?"

On a final note, Garrett is walking with much more confidence now, even though he stumbles every now and then. He is so adorable to watch and I have to laugh when he walks all the way across the room, stopping every few seconds to catch his balance before he topples over, because he just looks too small to be walking. Oh and Landon said "hi, mama" today....I took the babies out for a walk this afternoon and he looked up from the stroller and said "hi mama". Yes, I realize he probably REALLY didn't say that but it sounded close enough for it to be considered "hi mama" so I'll live in my own little world with that one. And, lastly, another that definitely makes motherhood worth all this was when your child thanks you for making them feel better. Last night, Cole's butt was a little red (thanks to the teachers at his school who thought he could wipe his own butt and didn't bother to check if he did a good enough job)...so I put some diaper rash creme on his bottom and afterwards he said "Thanks Mommy, you made me feel better". My heart melted....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And the "Parent of the Year" Award goes to....not me!!

Okay, I'll admit it...I still let Bella sleep in our bed. Well, it's not exactly that I "let" her...it's more like, she climbs into our bed in the middle of the night (ever so quietly) and I don't bother to get up to take her back to her bed. In fact, there have been nights where she does wake me up and says "Mommy, I can't find my blankie" and I actually get up out of my warm, cozy bed to go to her room to search for her blankie. This happened last night...she got in bed with me at 4:15 am and she laid her head on my shoulder and said "Mommy, I can't find my blankie" and I said "oh Bella, can't you just go to sleep for the next 2 hours without it" and of course she said "no", pretty much on the verge of tears. So off I go to her room, searching for that f"ing blanket and I can't find it anywhere. I go back to my room and tell her "look, I can't find the blanket...you'll just have to get back to sleep without it". Then I can see in the dimness of the lights that she actually has her blankie, as she proudly announces "I found it...It was mixed in with my pillows". Yeah, she drags the whole bed with her when she comes into my room....her 2 pillows (the Hello Kitty pillow and the Disney princess pillow, as if she feels like if she has a preference for one over the other, that Hello Kitty or Cinderalla may feel like they got the shaft), her little taggie blanket (this is the one she can never seem to find that she sends me searching for), and her huge Hello Kitty blanket. Oh and her paci...yes, let's not forget the paci. The one paci that she refused to give to the Paci Fairy....I don't think even Jo, the Supernanny, could convince Cole or Bella to give up that last paci. No amount of sexy British accent or promise of fabulous gifts in return for the pacis would ever work. I laugh when people say "well, you've never seen a kid go off to college with a pacifier, have you....so don't sweat it".....my kids will be the first ones to challenge that saying...I just have a feeling....just like the saying "God doesn't give you more than you can handle", which I also laugh at when I hear (and then I go drink a bottle of wine)....because obviously God does give you more than you can handle (or maybe it's just me and I'm His test subject)

Anyway, so back to the whole blanket dilemma...so at 4:15 am in the morning as I'm tiredly wandering the hallway and her room to look for this f"ing blankie, as I now lovingly refer to it as, I realize how screwed I am. Why I'm JUST now realizing this is beyond me, honestly. It's like a light bulb finally went off above my head and I was smacked with reality, right there in the darkness of my own home. My daughter has me so tightly wound around her finger that it's actually funny...well, no not really funny as in "haha" kinda funny but funny in the sense that I now realize I'm digging a very deep hole for myself and there's no way out except to use tough love.

And by tough love, I mean, I'm gonna have to start walking her back to her room and making her stay in there. Let's talk about the reasons why I haven't done that so far.....there are 3 of them...Cole, Landon and Garrett. The way our upstairs is set up, all our bedrooms each have a connecting wall, with Garrett and Landon's room having a connecting wall on both sides. So on one side, they have Cole and Bella's room and on the other side, they have mine and Tim's room. If Bella cries...no, let's re-phrase that, WHEN Bella cries when I send her packing back to her room, she'll wake the whole freakin house up. I guess I'm picking the lesser of 2 evils, if you will. I'd rather be dealing with 1 child who wants to continue sleeping in bed with me (even if it costs me much needed sleep) than deal with 3 crying, grumpy kids in the middle of the night who were awakened so rudely from a peaceful slumber. And let me just say, for the record, that Garrett and Landon are not children you wanna deal with in the middle of the night if they are wakened unexpectedly. Cole may be consolable but that could go either way.

Every night when I say goodnight to Bella, I say "now you're gonna stay in your room because you're a big girl, right? And Cole would be lonely if you left him". I used to say "Hello Kitty will be lonely if you left her" but then she started dragging her freakin Hello Kitty doll along with her to my bed so I stopped saying that, figuring she can't drag Cole to my bed (well, she probably would if she could....she's definitely the boss in their relationship...she has been the source of many of his time-outs...but she earns a time-out right along with him, as she says "Mommy, but it was Cole who jumped off the kitchen table, not me" and I say "yes, well, you're the one who told him to do it so you get a time out too". ) Why can I be tough with her in those situations but not at 4:00 am????

Yeah, so every night we have this conversation about how she's gonna stay in her bed because she's a big girl and Cole would be lonely if he were to wake up and see she's not there and yadda, yadda, yadda....she just smiles and says "okay, Mommy" and then as I'm walking out her door, I hear her quietly say "see you in the middle of the night". CRAP!!!!

I know it's gonna be the battle of all battles with this child when it comes to this issue because realistically she'll still be sharing a bed with me when she's 16 yrs old if I don't put a stop to it. But I just don't wanna deal with it now, when I need as much as sleep as I can possibly get. Many moms I've talked to about this say "you have to be consistent, walk her back to her room every single time, and just let her cry if she cries". But I need my sleep, dammit. And I know I can't be the only parent dealing with this situation....the thought of another 3 yr old child climbing in her parent's bed gives me great pleasure because then I realize I am not alone. That's how I give myself permission to believe that it's okay to do this, just for now....just until I can handle the battle that will ensue when I enforce her to stay in her room.

Good Lord, why doesn't anyone tell you how difficult parenting is??? All you hear is "it's a love like you've never known before" but no one ever says "you will be challenged every single day, every minute of the day....oh and night-time too...it's 24/7...".....and they certainly never follow that up with "you'll feel guilty about every decision you make, every little thing that you could possibly feel guilty about, you will feel guilty about...hell, you'll feel guilty about feeling guilty"....I know I'll be the main reason my kids end up on some therapist's sofa someday in the future, crying about the woes of their childhood. Well, maybe Tim will share that responsibility as well because Lord knows he's not earning the "Parent of the Year" award either. I guess that'll go to Brad Pitt this year because he makes parenting look so easy.

When people learn that we have 2 sets of twins, they always always ask "have you seen that show 'Jon and Kate, plus 8'?"....as if they're trying to secretly tell me "see, you don't have it so tough...she has twins and sextuplets and she manages to hold it together". What I'd love to say to them is "yes, ON CAMERA she's holding it together....behind closed doors, perhaps she's collapsed on the bathroom floor in tears wondering 'is this really my life now'?" Although I really do have to hand it to the woman...she's super organized and I'm envious. I always wondered how she kept up with the laundry until I saw the episode last night and realized she has a neighbor lady come over and fold all the laundry and then a friend of hers comes over later and puts the clothes away for her.

I realize this a super long post, much longer than I intended it to be actually. But once I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll....tough love with Bella will come later. For now, she wins the battle. And she knows it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Life will never be the same again, so they say....

video

Yes, look who's walking now....Garrett! I have to say I'm surprised he started walking at 11 months, as Cole and Bella didn't walk until they were about 13-14 months old. But Garrett is a mama's boy whole-heartedly and I guess he figured he had better become upright if he wanted to stay attached to my side at all times. If he really wants to keep up with me, he grabs onto my pants leg and walks along with me (well, actually it's more like me dragging him along with me but he happily follows). Landon hasn't figured out the whole walking thing yet but it's just a matter of time. He leans forward and then falls, forgetting that he has to actually move his legs at the same time in order to walk. It's actually quite comical to watch (how mean is that??)

Everyone says once a baby walks, that life will never be the same again and I suppose that's true in many ways and I often think people actually mean that in a negative way. But for me, my children being mobile has always been a good thing. It's meant I didn't have to carry 2 extremely heavy children up the stairs and down the stairs at the same time, it's meant not having to park all the way out in the freakin boondocks when I go somewhere with the kids just so I can park by the shopping cart collecter thingie, it's meant less whining because the kids can finally go where they want...and let's get real honest here...it's meant FREEDOM for me as well! I guess maybe I'm in the minority here when I say that a mobile child for me was easier than a non-mobile child. Although there were times that Cole and Bella would run in opposite directions and I would have to quickly decide which child was in the most danger of being hurt or kidnapped (usually it was Cole...figures). And then there was the time I decided that getting them harnesses was a good idea (this is also when I started to think that my attitude about a child finally being able to walk was clearly nothing other than pure insanity...that, or severe sleep deprivation). So I went out and got them 2 of those backpack type harnesses...the kind that look like cute cuddly teddy bears that were actually backpacks with harnesses attached, as if I'm trying to fool my children into believing that this is actually a really cool idea..."here, look at this adorable teddy bear backpack you get to wear...oh and it comes with this really cool leash-type thingie that Mommy gets to hold to keep you from running away like a wild animal". The kids quickly figured out that they could only walk about 3-4 feet in front of me before I yanked them back towards me, yelling "stay with Mommy". Then the backpacks weren't cool anymore and then suddenly one day I couldn't find the "leashes" that attach to the backpack. Hmmmm, any ideas what happened? I'll say one thing...never even underestimate how smart your children are. I used to be one of those people who would see a parent out in public with their child on a leash and think "OMG, I would never do that, it seems so degrading to the child"...that was obviously before I had children, and twins at that. I do a lot of things now that I said I'd never do as a parent...and I'll just say another thing...never be so quick to judge another parent until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

So the fun has begun again...and I'm liking the fact that Garrett can now walk. I'm suspecting I'll enjoy when Landon learns to walk too....I'm not sure how that will sit with me when I'm out alone with all 4 kids and they all decide to take off in separate directions (east, west, south and north). I'll cross that bridge sooner or later...perhaps I can get Garrett and Landon to wear the "really cool" backpacks. Until Cole and Bella enlighten them on the real reason why I have them wearing the backpacks.

I'm also happy to write that Cole and Bella are now potty-trained...whew! I can't remember the last time they had an accident. And I don't have to sit there and nag them "do you have to use the potty? are you sure? are you really sure? do you wanna at least try? are you sure? are you really sure? can you just try for 10 seconds? please??". Nope...now they announce "I need to pee" or "I need to poop" and off they go running to the bathroom, usually followed by the other child who will sit there and watch. I think Cole and Bella believe everyone needs company while going to the bathroom...it's a time for you to sit there and do your business but still socialize at the same time. For instance, the other night I had the gall to lock the bathroom door behind me so I could pee in privacy and Bella knocked on the door and asked "Mommy, what are you doing?" and I said "going pee"...and she said "but you locked the door" and I said "I know, I'd like some privacy" and she asked "why?".... yeah, why would I want privacy when the most important conversations are held in the bathroom?? So she stood outside the door asking me "what's for dinner? did you wash my snowman jammies?"....these are things she simply had to know and I guess it couldn't wait another minute until I was out of the bathroom and face-to-face with her.

Well, so that's the latest....Garrett is walking (and he has 2 new teeth to boot), Landon is trying to figure out how to walk, and Cole and Bella are now potty trained. I think that's a pretty good update....

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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