Thursday, May 19, 2011

Every day is Mothers' Day

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me.

By "rough" I mean nothing-really-that-bad, but flat out exhausting...

You know that saying, you can have something "fast", you can have it "good", you can have it "cheap" or... you can have any combination of TWO of those, but you cannot have all three?

That little riddle has been popping into my mind in the last few weeks as I have considered my lot in life... And this started scrambling around in my head...

The housework has fallen behind a bit. The house is just- well- not.clean. (I guess that is really the best way to put it.)
I've been trying to keep up with exercise, and I have a huge project underway at work that will span about six weeks (we are 3 weeks in).

I've been doing my best to be a good mom and wife and not knowing the "laws" of this particular species of Venn diagram, I am not sure if more than 3 areas can be sufficiently covered at one time. All I know is I can see the teetering- I feel wobbly. On the days/weeks I feel I am keeping up with my duties at work, exercise habits are hard to maintain... the blog (as you know) is long suffering. The highest priority is of course the family, and you'll have to poll my wife, but I'm not sure how well I'm holding up my end. The madness of parenting a rounding-the-corner-towards-2 year old and a rounding-the-corner-toward-4 year old is as pervasive as mold.

Katy and I marvel every day at the paradoxes inherent the chemical reactions that occur in our brains: The degree to which I adore these ruggies and the simultaneous tension I feel as my time with them stretches the seams of the fibers of my being... At some point in every day, i want to melt from the awesomeness that pours out of their minds and mouths. And invariably, at some point in every day, I want to run screaming from their nonsense...

JB, for example, does a lot of TALKING right now. When he has had the perfect amount of sleep (the formula that determines this magical amount of sleep has not been revealed to me) he is funny, sweet, and adorable. But a lot of the time, he thinks he knows what's what and, he doesn't. And he thinks he's in charge of stuff that he can't possibly control. The most amazing thing about a 3 1/2 year old is how they learn the "tone" that accompanies adult conversation, but the tone is usually empty. Knowing the lingo is only half the game... Kids have no understanding of snark, no comprehension of the multitude of ways that humans intentionally and unintentionally mess with each other. They have learned the words and they mimic the tone, but they have no knowledge of the rules of engagement.

Picture this: A cloudy day. I work 8 or 9 hours and race to the day care to get the ruggies. JB, who at times has difficulty with "transition" tells me he's not ready to leave and he stalls so much that he nearly gets a time out. ML bounds towards me, we walk out the door and before we get to the car he has splashed his way into a large puddle. Soaked, I buckle him in and then buckle in JB. The entire way home, there's a lot of loud yapping and screeching. I have not yet been with my beautiful children for 20 minutes, but I'm already not sure how I will make it through the next 3 hours.

We pull into the driveway and JB sighs loudly: "I hate our house."


I am white-knucking the steering wheel. I can't believe the potency of the feelings I am experiencing. I know logically that I can not take this joker at his word, that I need to have more patience, but pure disgust is like a warm, white fire slowly consuming me. If a fully formed human had said this, I would have been all like:
"WTF is wrong with you?!? WHO says that?!? That is rude and you have a lot of nerve!!! If you dont' like this house, you don't have to live in it!!! Do you have any idea how hard we work to provide you with a shelter this amazing?!?"

Mind you the entire time I am mentally speach-ifying, ML is screeching: "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH-OOOOOOOHHHHHHH-ooOOOOOOOOOOOO-AAAAA!

I take a deep breath and ask JB in the most neutral tone I can muster: "Honey, why would you say that?" (inhale, exhale, heart beat, heart beat)

JB: "I don't know, I guess I just wish we could paint the whole thing orange."

[sigh] I'm glad I didn't just go with my first reaction.

ML, on the other hand is an entirely different beast. He is all action for JB's pensiveness. He is determined where JB is unsure. He is reckless and goofy where JB is cautious and serious. ML, for example, understands every mother-humping word we say, he can identify 68 different varieties of truck from a mile away, but he can not will his lips or vocal chords to pronounce the word: TRUCK.

I mean even though I know it is developmental, it really seem like stubbornness.
It's always:
or, inexplicably:

His insistence and persistence is mind-boggling.
"Yes!" I shout back, "I know!!! a TRUCK!!! It IS AWESOME!!! Just like it was 5 seconds ago!!! LOok there!!! Another one!!! AMAZING. THANK YOU FOR POINTING THAT NEW ONE OUT!!!"

ML is the type of kid that the first time he plunged his entire arm into the toilet bowl, it was all about the science of discovery, but now it is a Marks Brothers skit: He knows the specific "toilet bowl look" that he has to produce before he gives chase to the bathroom. And even though he has a healthy head start, he will wait for us- perched, contemplative, like a diver on a block- his arm readied at his ear, until i get within 2 lunges of him. We lock eyes. He waits for me to plead, "NO...." and then submerges to the clavicle, smiling... never breaking eye contact...

That kid tries to climb in the oven, sits in the refrigerator, turns on the dishwasher, surfs down the stairs into the garage, tries to feed peanut butter to the iMac. He smear blueberries in his hair to signal the completion of the meal and if you don't dive to remove the plate from his tray, he flips it like a flapjack at the world's fair. He has a power over me. I forget myself. I have thrown food BACK at him- in a desperate attempt to instill some manners, I act like a sociopath.

Still the boy will look at you and tilt his curly-haired head with a smile that says, "You know you're my girl" and at that point it's a wash.

This year, Mother's day was spent with friends and family and no gifts were exchanged in our house. We just enjoyed the air and the craziness.

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