Saturday, April 30, 2011

Because I said so

Today was a day like no other. It was filled with crying, screaming and tantrum throwing...

And that was just me.

Its amazing how dealing with kids can sometimes cause you to lose sight of the fact that YOU are the parent. Sure, you give birth to this amazing creature, but while you're counting those fingers and toes, did YOU ever stop to contemplate the day that you'd have to be a PARENT? Did you ever picture yourself losing all self control and repeating those words you heard YOUR parents say- and swore you'd never say: “Because I said so.”

What kid actually ever accepted that response??? I know I certainly didn't, and yet, during the midst of the day from Hell, I gave up with arguing all the reasons why my sons needed to listen to me and just shouted it.

Because I said so.

It didn't work. It never does. And I don't think that THAT even annoyed me as much as the fact that I got to that point in the first place. How is it that a 10 year old can figure out all the right buttons to push to make you blow your top? I was never given a manual for how to raise my kids- why were my kids given a manual for how to raise their parents?

I know there are at least 100 different psychologists out there that would disagree with how I handled today's catastrophe. Advice would probably range from I should have kept my mouth shut and not allowed an argument to boiling Cameron in hot oil...

Okay, maybe not that.

I know I could've done things differently- especially now that my throat hurts and I find myself contemplating putting an IV of wine in my arm. But, really now, how many people have watched disasters unfold before their eyes, but couldn't tear themselves away long enough to save themselves?

Oh my gosh- I'm that twit you watch in the movies. You know the one- she's the one that has plenty of time to get out of the way of that train that's barreling down on her, but instead, she stands there screaming at the top of her lungs.

Oh, good God- kill me now. I've become a cliché.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Letter to my son

Dear Smallest Child 'o' Mine,

Right now you are sleeping- and that is a good thing for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that you were nearly auctioned off on eBay. I toyed with the thought, but after realizing that no one would buy you in the state you had been in- that I would have had to pay THEM to take you- I walked away from the virtual auction house.

Today -at only 4 months old- you gave me a glimpse of your teenage years. Your insatiable appetite, your refusal to sleep, your constant cries in response to my pleading...

There's a chance I may revisit the eBay idea at a later date, but if that doesn't pan out, I might post you on Craigslist... or possibly FreeCycle.

You're 4 months old. It boggles my mind as to what you could POSSIBLY have to complain about. You weren't wet. You were constantly eating, so hunger was out of the question. I gave you the option of choosing what you wanted to wear today, but you stared at me blankly, so if the problem was your outfit, well, that's purely on you. You cried when I held you; you cried when I put you down. You cried when I talked to you; you cried when I sang to you- though, I don't blame you there. Vocally blessed, I am not.

My sweet, precious 4 month old- do you realize how close you came to being a sweet, precious 4 month old in a basket on someone else's doorstep today? The basket was negotiable- a laundry basket would have worked. Heck, you can't crawl- I thought about just setting you there, like a crying, little lump of wet clay. That when I passed by those doorstep's that held 'Welcome' mats, I looked at them as beacons of hope, beckoning me to leave my worries at their doorstep.

You -my love, my light- YOU are the reason why some animals eat their young. I can only imagine that the decision making process goes a little something like this:

“Aw, honey- our cubs are adorable! See that one? See how quiet she is? She's a thinker- we won't ever have to worry about HER getting picked off by a hunter.”

“What about that rowdy one?”

“Oh, he's a fighter! He's going to be a great leader of our pride one day!”

“And that one? The one that won't stop crying?”

“He's lunch.”

I'm not saying I'm thinking of eating you- that's horrible and wrong.

I WILL however be bookmarking eBay.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Hey! Its a circus!

They fly through the air with the greatest of ease- that daring young man on the flying trapeze.

Some people might think that old song is about a circus performer; those of us that have boys, know better.

Today I spent a good portion of my day running all over the house trying to keep my boys from killing themselves through a series of death defying feats and wrestling matches. Sure, head trauma SOUNDS like a great time, but its all well and fine until you get the hospital bill.

For the most part, I've grown accustomed to the many daring actions my sons have performed over the years. When I hear crying now, my response is usually, “Who did what?”, and I will rarely make my way to the scene of the crime, insisting that -unless legs have been broken or they have a sucking chest wound- they need to come to me because I wasn't the one who decided to jump off the top bunk; jump off the dresser; get their hand stuck in the crib bars; etc. I've gotten wiser in my old age- unless I'm looking to increase my activity level, running to them for every cry will do nothing except cause me to lose patience and breath.

Please don't take anything I say the wrong way; I actually LOVE having boys. Do you know how many parents take a CPR certification class and NEVER get the chance to perfect their skills? And I got to not only perform CPR, but the Heimlich as well- all in one week in my first 2 years as a mom! I have learned that most head wounds- though messy- are not always serious; I've also learned the different types of bugs that are okay to eat (FYI- pill bugs are perfectly safe and great “pre-munching” entertainment!).

Maybe I'm sick and twisted (very likely), but I find it amusing to watch the faces of new moms as they stare intently at their toddler boys at the park. They don't want to be “helicopter moms”, hovering closely and suffocating their sons' experiences, but fear keeps them from sitting down and relaxing. So, they stand there, rocking back and forth, waiting, ready to sprint like Superman the moment Jr. starts to take a tumble. The problem is, I learned long ago that you'll never reach them in time, and the fear on your face will cause them to scream bloody murder even if they aren't hurt. The best approach, I've found, is the “ignorance is bliss” approach. Its a kind of “If a child falls on the play ground, but no mommy is around to hear him scream, does he make a sound?” approach. Its all very Zen.

After having boys, I also don't worry about germs as much anymore. Sure, there are some instances where a good hand-washing is in order; and I will NEVER allow the 5 second rule at a truck stop; but I've seen Jacob crawl under chairs at a doctor's office and come out chewing on something- after that, you kind of stop worrying about keeping them “germ free”. When your child says, “Look what I found, Mom!” as they're leaving a park restroom -don't ask- the least of your worries should be shopping cart handles.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Just smile and nod...

When I was younger, I used to wonder what people meant by “fish stories”. It made no sense to me. I was little, so I honestly thought “fish stories” were all tales about fish.

When I got older, I became wise to what it meant and even concocted my own when I went fishing a few times- “I SWEAR- it was HUGE! I tried to get a picture but it practically broke my rod before flopping back into the water.” Sure, my fish had practically qualified as a minnow, but THEY didn't know that, and, in all honesty, my friends at the time probably wouldn't have cared anyways. They weren't those kinds of people. You know the kind- fish people.

Little did I know, “fish tales” aren't just for the fishermen. I encountered my first twist on them when I became a mom:

How big was YOUR baby?”

And it began. The question and answer took a different route every time, always depending on the person and situation. Sometimes the answer was “He was THIS BIG!”, arms outstretched and head nodding in the direction of the biggest house around. Those are the times when you're comparing war stories and each mom is trying to one up the other. Its a badge of honor to have delivered the biggest baby, and you get points for if you were able to do it naturally.

Suddenly, by the way, the word “natural” had several different meanings. “Natural” to the die hard baby-wearing-organic crowd meant sweating and screaming it out without drugs of any kind- epidural included. When discussing my "natural" birth with them, there was an emphasis on how the epidural didn't take, and breathing techniques- always breathing techniques.  Most of the time I was able to still get a respectful nod if I told them that I held off on the epidural until nearly the end, and I was applauded if I mentioned the fact that the anesthesiologist messed up twice before getting the epidural right. 

Then, there were those of us that found a loophole to still get those points for going 'au naturel'- yes, I gave birth naturally- he had to come out sometime, so NATURALLY, I gave birth to him. Points for me- and since my first was 500 lbs, I came out the winner by a long shot.

Of course, there were always those people who looked at my 9 lb 1 oz son and asked how big he was, and it was then that I saw fit to use percentages- “He's in the 90th percentile.” I knew they were on a mission to bring up overweight babies and I knew they could be distracted easily. “90th percentile- wow, so what does that mean?” “He's bigger than 90% of babies his age.” The conversation usually dropped there since they had no idea what the average size was for babies his age.

Birth stories have always been fun. There's not a veteran on Earth that can outdo a mom: “Oh, really- you lost an arm? I GAVE BIRTH to an ANTELOPE sized infant. You got a purple heart- I got stretch marks AND stitches.” There's just no winning with moms. If Mom A went 24 hours, then Mom B added in the two weeks of pre-labor and suddenly she's shouting out “Oh, that's a lot- I know that when I went 125 hours, I was DYING.”

That's another thing, mom stories are always polite. Its rare that you'll hear a mom say, “Well, that's nothin'” to another mom. Maybe its out of respect, but I personally think it has to do with fear. Regardless of how long a mom went, you KNOW that she has seen pain and come out the other side, and for that, you should fear her. Any woman who has heard the stories and yet STILL put herself in a position to go through that pain is not only slightly masochistic but also a the tiniest bit crazy. You don't mess with crazy- you respect it and back away slowly.

Once we've compared baby sizes and birth stories, that's when things get interesting, because THEN we've hit “Baby Stories”, and THAT, my friends, is a tale for another day.


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