Thursday, September 9, 2010

Meet my Kids

This is Oliver, the sweetest boy in the world, who has hair that sticks straight up in the morning if his daddy doesn't blow dry it after his bath and 'blue eyes' that are really turning green. His favorite activities are helping me in the kitchen, turning people into baby birds with magic wands he finds in the park, and scaring other people by climbing to the very tippy top of the playscape. He begs to play in our cars and likes to push all the buttons, toggle all the switches and pull all the levers. Then, when you go to start the car, he likes to laugh at you when everything comes on and you scream. His likes also include rain, cats, pancakes, Pixar movies, playing in the rain, sneaking coffee, jellybeans, tea parties and taking pictures of his friends. His dislikes include lizards, loud noises (he covers his ears), casseroles, transitions (ie, bathtime, naptime, bedtime, but doesn't mind bathing or sleeping), sharing, costumes and drinking water.

This is Henley. She is the most beautiful child and strongest baby in the world. She was born scowling at the world but she has come to terms with it now. She enjoys fans, Mam pacifiers, Sofie T. Giraffe, banana, naps, bosoms for pillows, her brother, petting the cat, cuddles, toe licking by dogs, chatting, sparkly necklaces, doing push-ups and long hair. Her dislikes include: Angry voices, teeth, diaper changes, long car rides, eating during the day, sad music, being left alone too long and restrictive clothing.

I am amazed every day that no one has sprung out from a closet and said "These kids aren't actually yours! You have been punked" And then laughed hysterically at the idea that I would ever be trusted with another life, much less two of them. Oliver forces me to look my 2 year old self straight in the eye and then attempt to parent it. I wonder if Henley will be the same way. I know I have it easy with these two kids, both are healthy, neither have special needs or have allergies. They both are super smart and beautiful (even to other people)! And still I wonder some days how I am going to survive to see tomorrow.

Every morning I wake excited about the day that is coming, every day around 4 I am dying for it to be over. I never thought I could work this hard, for this long, for this little pay. But the first time Henley accidentally said "mama" was worth it. The first time Oliver announced his name to me in the kitchen was worth it. The first time she got up on her hands and knees with this look on her face like she was the first baby to attempt such a feat. Oliver's first steps, Henley's first giggle. His early potty learning and her birth. These are such points of pride for me it makes it (almost) forget about the aching muscles, the constant headache, the ever-present guilt, the exhaustion, the second guessing and the sweat and tears.

Parenting is not all bliss, it is not all good, and some of it is down right terrible. One thing is comforting though, I bet you when my kids become the amazing adults that they will become I won't be thinking about the tantrums but the triumphs of my parenting career. Yay for the amnesia of nostalgia!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Labor (Day) of Love

Just some photos of our Labor Day! We spent it eating ribs and drinking beer with my lovely family. Oliver had a blast at Grandmommy's house and even took a really long nap there! I think he would move in with his Grandma or Grandmommy, he is totally in love with all his grandparents!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Good Day

Lets start with what a bad day looks like. It looks like the television being on all day, me being checked out and dinner being a complete fail. It looks like Oliver throwing a tantrum over dinner, the baby being ignored, and Oliver's brain rotting in his brain because I am completely uninterested or too tired from the night before to even try to be creatively teaching him. It looks like no park, no rain, just oppressive heat so outside play is undesirable. 4pm fills me with dread for the next 2 hours, those two hours are the longest of my day because CT will not be home until 6. Oliver begs for food before dinner and I relent, causing a dinnertime meltdown where he will not eat and just wants to be held and throws tantrums because we are eating and he is not hungry. I go to bed on a bad night feeling like if I had just left my children with a half intelligent monkey that day, they would have learned more and been just as well looked after (Fun Fact: Ape milk is almost identical to human milk) and I go between wanting to wake Oliver up and cuddle him all night apologizing for yelling at him over how clumsy he is and wanting to just get into the car and leaving forever. The guilt threatens to suffocate me on a bad day.

On a good day which are rare and far between. The radio is on the better part of the day, but the television is off. We play at the park all morning and find time to do a puzzle or two or other educational activity before nap. There is no tantrum before nap, because Oliver was able to behave like a child all morning. After nap we do an activity like the pool, or cookie making or crafts until dinner. Oliver plays alone during dinner prep and while he begs me for food still, I do not give him anything. He eats his dinner, which doesn't suck. Henley gets a full 3 naps during the day, plays contentedly when she is up and doesn't puke on me as soon as I get dressed. I get a shower. Oliver goes up to bed without screaming bloody murder. Henley gets to sleep at a decent hour and doesn't scream in her sleep every 10 minutes. I fall into my bed exhausted from having to be on from 6am-8pm. There were still tantrums but they were dealt with swiftly and only a bit of yelling.

Wow, is that what my life has become? All I need for a day to be decent, for me to go to sleep feeling more like a mom than a monster is to wear myself completely out all day long? I read somewhere that a child Oliver's age shouldn't be inactive for longer than an hour unless they are asleep. This is so tiring, I don't know what to say. Most days the kid can't take a crap unless I am sitting right there with him. On these days he will not play outside, or in the pool or at the park without me right there all the way. I long for better days, the days when he will go discover the world on his own a little. And yes, I know they grow up so fast and I shouldn't wish it away. Trust me, the guilt for even saying it out loud will consume me as I try to sleep tonight.