Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Not all its cracked up to be...

The weather here is taunting us. We keep getting 1 or 2 nice, summery days when we let our guard down and think that perhaps, after a long drawn out spring, summer has arrived. But then, just when we're starting to get comfortable in our new-found sunshine, shorts and tank tops, it starts to rain. Not just afternoon showers, which I can deal with, but raining for days on end, with no sign of letting up. June is typically a rainy month around here, but the rain is doing nothing to bring my mood out of the pit that its been in lately.

I'm pretty sure that the weather is causing my children to be miserable as well. At least, I hope that is what it is, otherwise someone stole my kids and replaced them with ones that look like them but certainly don't act like them. The last week or so has resulted in many tears (from kids and Mommy alike), numerous bumps to the head (just the kids), yelling (all parties), frustration and just general gloom.

Yesterday was one of those terrible, awful, no good, very bad days (to quote Robert Munsch). It started out like any other- the boys snuggling into bed with me to watch tv while Chris gets ready for work and I catch a few more minutes of (not)peaceful slumber. Within minutes, this results in a kicking match to see which boy has more space that inevitably ends with Mom getting kicked, fighting while one wants to be covered up while the other doesn't, arguing because one boy can't see/hear/see and hear the tv due to the other talking/crying/yelling/sitting in the line of sight. Very soon, Mommy decides that this isn't working and we all might as well head downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast.

Upon arriving in the kitchen, the fighting begins over who will open the pantry door, who will pick their cereal first, what color bowl/cup/spoon they will get....

I am granted precisely 3 minutes and 48 seconds of peace until one boy is done breakfast and then begins bugging the other about who finished their breakfast first. An argument ensues.

I send them off to play while I try to eat my breakfast and drink my chai latte in peace before rushing upstairs to shower and get ready for the day. This almost never happens as I imagined it.

Hundreds of toys occupy our playroom, living room, bedrooms, and basement but inevitably there is always 1 toy that both boys want to play with at JUST THAT MINUTE. Crying/ hitting/ kicking/ biting (Levi's weaopn of choice lately) explodes into my thoughts as I am taking my 4th bite of oatmeal. I go to deal with the war, only to return to find my oatmeal has become cold and solidified.

I've been out of bed for about 22 minutes.

I drink my lukewarm chai and herd the boys upstairs to do something while I shower quickly. I'm finally enjoying a minute of peace while I shampoo my hair when I am interrupted by not 1, but 2 naked boys opening the door of the shower and climbing in, uninvited.

At least they aren't fighting.

I finish my shower, get out and get dressed, then go back to get the boys out and dressed. The race and eventual meltdown to be the first to be dressed begins. Is there anything these darling boys won't fight about?

The rodeo event that is getting everyone dressed finally complete, we head back downstairs where I load the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher as Levi takes them out again and Loki licks them, give the boys a snack because they are ALWAYS hungry, get them ready to head out to our morning plans (groceries, playdates, park, zoo, mall, etc).

Our morning outing goes fairly well, with minimal fighting because we are out and about. The moment feet cross the threshold into our house it begins again. Who sits on the side of the stair closest to the wall (or railing, depending on where the coveted spot is that day), who can take their shoes off first, etc....

I remind myself that its NAPTIME, my favorite part of the day (next to bedtime) and get the boys to their rooms as quickly as possible. If I'm lucky, I will get 1/2 an hour of "me time" before Luca starts asking if quiet time is over. He will do this every 5 minutes until I finally relent and let him out of his room where he will then stand over me and ask a zillion questions about anything and everything.

Levi gets up and is usually crabbier than he was before nap. That kid does not wake up well. After a while, IF Luca leaves him alone and lets him wake up in his own time, he will be happy. If Luca bugs him (the norm), he will be miserable until bedtime.

Snacks are handed out and eaten. Playdough is pulled out and played with, only to be found strewn about the house later, regardless of the fact that they are not allowed to leave the table when playing playdough. 5 minutes later, they are tired of playdough so we clean it up and they pull out crayons, coloring books and stickers. Throughout the next few days I find stickers stuck to my socks, even though the same rule as with playdough applies.

Four o'clock rolls around and requests for snacks and supper begin. I try to distract them with anything I can find.

Five o'clock and I begin making supper to complaints about what it is, regardless of whether it is their favorite meal or not. Complaining is almost an olympic sport around here.

Crying, whining, fighting, clinging ensues until 6 o'clock when Daddy (finally!) walks through the door. We have happy children for all of 5 minutes, until they are asked to sit at the table to eat. Then they remember that they don't want to eat what I have cooked and will then begin their marathon of crying and pouting throughout supper.

Mine and Chris' patience is tapped out, and as soon as supper is done, the boys are sent upstairs for a bath or shower, pjs, snack, stories and bed.

By 7:30, we hope that the house is quiet only to have to put Luca back in bed numerous times.

By about 9 I am so worn out from the day that I fall into bed and quickly drift to dreamland.

Only to repeat it all again tomorrow....

This was my day yesterday. Parenthood is HARD.

While reading my good friend Julianne's blog, I was reminded that I'm not the only one that has days like this. I'm trying to remember that and rather than wish these preschool years away in favor of more independent, less posessive kids, I remind myself to enjoy these times when they want Mommy to referee all their fights and kiss their war wounds better.

It won't always be like this.


CanadianMama said...

I agree Janice - this weather isn't helping at all - NOT even a little bit!!

ps. I love that both boys come into the shower with you. I bet it's annoying but pretty cute at the same time :)

The Tompkins Family said...

EEEKK!!! And I'm having a second child?! I can relate to those kinds of days though, even with just one. The constant whining, crying and hanging from my pants saying "up, up, up" gets VERY tiring. Just ONCE I would like to make a meal, eat it and clean it up in silence. But I imagine I have another 18 years before that'll happen!

Hope things gets better. I miss you a ton!

p.s. - I also love how you get little visitors in the shower. So stinking adorable...although I'm sure incredibly annoying when you just want 10 minutes to yourself.

Writer Mom said...

Thanks for the shout-out to my blog! I love your description of this very bad, but largely normal, day in the life of a mom with young kids. It is hard.

I wonder if it would help with the fighting to focus on the mantra I learned from Jon & Kate Plus 8: "You get what you get and you don't get upset." My kids quote this now as well. We are a "colour-blind" household and always have been because I saw all the fighting my friends with older kids did over bowl and cup colours. We refer to the Jon & Kate rule for most things like snacks, colours, toys, movies, etc. and it still requires some re-inforcing, but really, really helps to cut down on tiny, tiring, pointless arguments.

You are a wonderful mom to your boys. Look for daily ways to stop the fighting in it's tracks (when you come in the house, say, "Luca, sit here...Levi, here is your spot!" to take shoes off, and if you do it enthusiastically enough, maybe they will sit there and take their shoes off without fighting).

I look for little ways to improve instead of big, huge ways as the little ways add up. Then when there is no fighting for an hour (set the timer) give them a treat, just to get them going.

Just a few little ideas from a mom who has slightly older kids than yours and has picked up some tricks along the way from different sources. I frequently remind my kids that they will be best friends in childhood and adulthood, so they may as well start now and don't waste any time being buddies, because siblings are forever. It may not help in the short term, but I think it will help in the long range view.

Hang in there. The sun will eventually shine. Tell the boys you are all practicing at having peace in your house today....I find if it's a game it all goes better. If I can remain positive it goes a long way for how my kids behave, but that's where you need friends to encourage you and to step away from the craziness once in awhile. Remember that you are a good mom, that you are bigger than they are, and that you can do this parenting thing. Hugs & kisses to you, friend!

Raelene said...

I completely agree. It's hard staying home with the kids. Especially when this weather just won't brighten up. You aren't alone, for sure!

Karyn said...

Bad days come and go. I actually enjoyed your relaying of a bad day.

Does it help to know that you won't remember these days so much as the happy, joyful moments?

Writer Mom has some good suggestions. I particularly like her advise about telling each boy where to sit when you come in the house.

You are doing a good job, Jani Lynne.....even when it is hard, it is worth it.

BTW....it is always hard - just for different reasons. :)

Karyn said...

Bad days come and go. I actually enjoyed your relaying of a bad day.

Does it help to know that you won't remember these days so much as the happy, joyful moments?

Writer Mom has some good suggestions. I particularly like her advise about telling each boy where to sit when you come in the house.

You are doing a good job, Jani Lynne.....even when it is hard, it is worth it.

BTW....it is always hard - just for different reasons. :)