Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oh, Motherhood...

I had these great pictures picked out for a Wordless Wednesday post last week. But then Wednesday happened & I found myself having a lot of words.

Liam’s done with Mother’s Day Out (aka “school”) for the summer, which means we’re home on Mon, Wed & Fri. (My parents keep the boys on Tues & Thurs while I work.) Some days are just too overwhelming to get out and about with both boys—those days don’t usually involve good naps. But it can be hard being at home alone with the boys all day.

We live in an old house (1928) that isn’t very child friendly, so last year, we turned our dining room into a playroom and gated it off. This is Liam’s space where he can roam—Rob & I jokingly call it “The Land of Yes” because it seems like we’re constantly telling him “No!” and “Don’t touch that!” in every other room of the house. Well, for a curious 20 month old, being confined to one room for the majority of your waking hours is pure torture. It’s torture for his 31 year old mother, too.

So, a few days ago, we decided Liam needed some new toys. We haven’t bought him anything since Christmas & developmentally, he’s grown since then, so he needs some new stuff. I’ve noticed that he is trying to connect things—he has a set of bath crayons that are open on one end and he’s constantly trying to fit one end into the other. Blocks! He needs blocks that interlock. So I went on a mission to find him the perfect set of Mega Bloks. I stumbled upon this set at Target:

Perfect—he’s totally into dump trucks right now. He loves stacking things in the back. Yellow is one of the colors he confidently knows. And, it’s filled with Mega Bloks.

So, Wednesday, I went on a mission to find one. (The one at Target was missing a wheel.) I called the two other Target stores within driving distance. No luck. I went to Toys R Us. I went to Walmart. I went to Kmart. I took the kids with me to all of these places. After 5 hours in the car roaming from one side of town to the other, the boys were over it. And so was I. (Amazon, you win.)

We came home and the boys both slept—overlapping naps can be an elusive thing in this house! I was very happy to have a bit of a break and recharge for a while.

At 5pm, Rob came home from work to see the boys for a bit before needing to head back out. He played with Jack first, then took Liam on a walk. Liam and I were blowing bubbles on the porch when Rob left again & Jack was in the bumbo, so I took them inside and we all went into the playroom and played for a little while. Both boys needed a bath, so I thought I would just put them in the tub together.

Stupid, stupid mommy.  
Why would you ever think it would be a good idea to bathe your toddler & infant together for the first time when you are home alone?

At first, all was great. Jack sat in his bath ring (for the first time!) and Liam was happy to play with him. But after a few minutes, Liam got antsy and wanted me to hold him—he kept trying to climb out of the tub and I kept asking him to sit down.

Then someone started knocking on the front door. I obviously couldn’t answer it with the kids in the tub, so I ignored it. They knocked again. Then they rang the doorbell. At this point, I thought, “Maybe I should answer it…they’re certainly persistent.” After the 2nd time they rang the doorbell, I pulled Jack out of the tub and onto my left hip. Then I pulled Liam out & onto my right hip. Halfway through the kitchen, I attempted to hoist them up a little bit (they were slippery!) and managed to knock their heads together.

Mother of the year right here, ladies and gentlemen.

Both kids are crying, the doorbell is ringing and a dog is….Oh, shit. Chloe, our dog is outside barking. Our neighbors saw her in the yard & know that she’s an inside dog, so they were trying to bring her back to us. (She must have been outside when Rob left and Liam and I were playing on the porch.) I finally make it to the front door.

I don’t know if I imagined the stunned look on my neighbor’s (who I don’t know, BTW) face or if it was real… All I know is that she saw a frazzled woman with a messy ponytail, no bra & peanut butter on her shirt, holding two naked, squirming, crying children. Liam was thrashing around so much I had to set him down, where he ran around the porch and our front yard totally naked.

 The exchange when something like this:

Her: “Sorry to bother you…”
Me: “No, I’m sorry it took me so long, I had my boys in the tub…”
Her: “Your dog….”
Me: “Oh my gosh, I don’t know how she got out! Thank you for bringing her back! I’m so sorry”
Her: “Oh, no… I’m sorry….” (Look of pity as she walked away.)

I picked Liam back up, brought the boys inside, then put them both back in the tub. (Great idea, right?) They were good for a while but it started getting late and I needed to get Liam fed and down for bed. I got Jack out of the tub first, wrapped him in a towel, then laid him on the bath mat.

I reached for Liam and he threw an absolute tantrum. Yelling, thrashing, saying, “No!” I held onto him (difficult thing to do with a slippery toddler) and told him that bath time was over and that we were going to get our pjs on and have some dinner. He was leaning over and had his face resting on my forearm when I thought I felt something on my arm… Was that…Did he just…? OUCH!!!!!!!! HE BIT ME.

I let a lot of behaviors go— there are so many crappy phases of toddlerhood that I figure not giving him the attention he’s seeking when he acts out is the best way to handle it at this point. Liam screams quit a bit right now when he doesn’t get what he wants. I tell him he’s being too loud & move on. He went through (& apparently this is resurfacing) a phase of hitting. I hold his hands, tell him no, say “That hurts Mommy! Be sweet!” and let it go. But biting me? Ooooh, he was in trouble now.

I loudly said (ok, yelled), “No! No biting! You are going in timeout!” This was a first. I marched him into his room, put him in his bed naked and walked out. As I walked down the hall to go get Jack I told him that he would stay in there until I was finished with Jack and then he would apologize to Mommy.

Ok, I’m not a fan of putting him in his bed for punishment—that’s not an association I want him to make. But, there was no other confined, safe space that wasn’t full of toys available. So, I did what I had to do.

He screamed for a minute, then got quiet. I finished up with Jack, put him on his playmat, then went back for Liam. When I picked him up, I told him, “You need to apologize to Mommy. Say, ‘I’m sorry I hurt you, Mommy.’” He looked at me and said, “Hurt you.” Good enough. (He has said “sorry” several times before.)

I took him into the nursery to get his diaper and pjs on while asking him where certain body parts were. I figured it was best to try to get him in a good mood before trying to feed him dinner. “Where’s your nose, Liam?” He pointed to it. “Where’s your elbow?” He showed me. “Where’s Mommy’s hair?” He reached out, stroked my hair with his hands and said, “Pretty.”

I dissolved into a puddle of tears.

What a roller-coaster ride motherhood is… furious at them one second & completely in love with them the next. Days like these are tough, but I know how unbelievably lucky I am to have them— because for every tough moment, there are 100 amazing ones.

As for the original pics I had planned to post, I’ll save them for another day—but here are a few pics I managed to snap that day of the boys in the bath. They’re not the best, but they were the best I could do that day, & that’s all anyone can ask for.

I'm certain there will be lots of better bath shots in our future!