Posts Tagged ‘mother’

This is not working. My home life feels like a war zone. Everything is a battle. I have tried so many ways to get through to L, and he just seems hell-bent on choosing the fight every time.

Lately I’ve tried explaining that he has a choice. When he raises his hand to hit me I calmly say, “Think about what you’re about to do. Think about what you want. Think about how you can get what you want. Think about what will happen if you hit me.” This sometimes does the trick. On a dime he will switch from a hateful, spitting-mad psychopath to a sweet, affectionate boy. (Does this mean he’s a crazy person? Who can turn such big emotions on and off like that?)

Sometimes reminding him to think about it doesn’t work. When he’s just geared up for a fight, there is nothing anyone can do but live through what comes next.

I’m sick of it.

My two children are not getting the same kind of attention, love, and affection from me. I try. I really, really, really try to give L all the positive reinforcement, all the encouragement, all the praise, love, affection that I can. But it’s impossible to do sometimes.

At least 2/3 of my interactions with him are battles.

And those that aren’t battles are just battles that haven’t started yet. I can’t play with him because when the play time ends it’s a melt down. I can’t tickle, wrestle with, act silly with, chase…. I don’t get to enjoy him the way I want. The way he would love. With him I have to restrain myself. The more playful I am, the more crazy he gets, the bigger the fallout in the end.

It seems so unfair. All day long I could play with S. I get to chase her to put on her PJs. I’ve never been able to do this with L. Even when he was her age, he took the games too far. He’d run away, but not in a playful way. In a serious, I’m-running-away-from-you-and-when-you-catch-me-I-will-hit-and-kick-and-forever-try-to-escape-and-if-I-can’t-I-will-completely-fall-apart kind of way. It sucks.

And every time I play with S I think of all the good times L and I have missed out on. All the good times we’ll forever miss out on because he makes everything so hard.

I have tried lavishing him with attention and play, but he’s insatiable. It doesn’t matter if it’s one minute, thirty minutes, or three days. When it ends he goes nuts. Often he goes nuts in the middle just by taking things too far. Tickling turns into aggression. Chase turns into wrecking the house.

This isn’t fair and I find myself constantly thinking the terrible thought “Why can’t I just have two like S?” I think L has so much awesomeness going for him, but for some reason it’s like he’s choosing to just act terribly. I’m tired of it. I feel like it’s not fair to the rest of us.

Clearly I’m not handling him right. But every different thing I’ve tried has failed in a different way.


I started writing this while T wrangled with L in his worst form. I felt beat up, defeated. I felt sorry for myself. Then I had to step away from the computer because after T came downstairs L begged, through hysterical tears from the top of the stairs, “Mommy, please come help me calm down. Please come up and calm me down.” He needed to sit on my lap and rock like a baby. He needed me to help him take some deep breaths, whisper nice things, sing him a song. And then that’s that. He’s calm, he’s happy. Obviously his emotions are just too big for him to deal with. He’s feeling out of control.

And now I feel like a shitty mom for wishing he wasn’t him but some S-like child instead. He’s just a little person trying to deal, and not figuring out how everyone else is doing it. And I’m right there beside him on his roller coaster. Going from hopeful to angry to defeated to self-pitying to sad to guilty and back to hopeful again. It’s an exhausting cycle.


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It’s Mother’s Day – a day when we give and receive flowers and chocolate as a way of saying thanks for something that is impossible to properly say thanks for. Where to begin when thanking and appreciating your mother? Thanks for enduring all the discomforts of pregnancy, and sorry I kept kicking you in the bladder? Also, sorry I didn’t come out on time and you had to be pregnant for way too long. Oh, and thanks for giving birth. You did a bang-up job and I appreciate all that effort. And all those nights when I cried?Sorry about that.

Is it possible to begin there and still manage to properly thank a woman who still cares for me and helps me all the time and has for 35 years? Of course not. The only way to properly appreciate a mother is to become a mother yourself. Even then, it’s impossible really. Now I get the pregnancy, birth, late nights etc, but I still can’t properly appreciate her for the teen years, the 20’s, and as a grandmother. Trust me, my mom needs A LOT of appreciation for those teen years. Sorry about all that, Mom.

A couple of months ago my mother watched my two kids for 5 days, after gifting T and I enough airline miles to get us to Puerto Rico for a vacation. How freaking amazing is that? I can’t imagine surviving motherhood without her help. She has 5 grandchildren and has a real relationship with each one. Each child knows and loves Grandma, trusts Grandma completely as a caregiver. Lucky Grandma is close enough to these kids that she sees the real (read: bad) them that is usually reserved just for parents. How do you thank someone for that? For loving your kids?

The answer is you don’t. Such is the nature of motherhood. There is no possible way to thank, appreciate or repay my mother. So, all I can say is: Thanks, Mom. I know you spent so much time caring for and worrying about me. I kept you on your toes and certainly didn’t do anything to make your job at all easy. But I turned out OK. Thanks to you. Your unwavering love and support gave me the chance to go out and explore, because I knew I could (and would) always come back in the end. Now I have my own little hard-headed child and I can begin to see just how annoying challenging I was. Hopefully he’ll keep his authority-defiance to a minimum and I won’t have to suffer all the calls from principals and camp directors that you did.

You’re so freaking good at this mom-thing that you make the rest of us look bad. Happy Mother’s Day!

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I will never be a high achieving stay at home mom. Part of me wants to be, but a bigger part of me is lazy. Once in awhile I do something that those cool moms do. My something from today was going for a jog on the local bike path with S in the stroller and L on his bike. I saw a bunch of other moms out there doing the same. The kind I (sort of) want to be like. They looked like they do this sort of thing all the time. I did not. I looked like someone you might want to administer first aid to.

Anyway, the reason I will never be like these other moms is that their jog with their 2 kids was one tiny piece in their successful day of action, while I feel like I’m done. I did something good for me, fun for the kids, healthy for everyone. I’m done. I win for the day, day over. But the day isn’t over. It’s not even 10:00. What now? What more do these small people expect from me? A lot.

L wanted to go straight to a playground. That was not an option because of the aforementioned looking like I needed first aid problem. So after sitting around for awhile near the parking lot and calling it a “snack picnic”, (so I could stop sweating,) we came home. I told the kids it was lunch time and they are obediently eating the lunch I put in front of them even though it is only 10:45. When they finish, I will lie again and tell them it’s nap time.

They’ll go into their respective rooms to sleep/bounce off the walls and I’ll be able to shower. My greedy right-now-self is psyched for the early nap. I am completely disregarding my poor 2-hours-from-now self who will have a longer than usual afternoon with 2 wakeful kids. Instead of being satiated by the morning’s family fun, they will be bottomless pits of craving for more of the good stuff.

So all of you moms who fill your days with family jogs, then family baking, then family puzzle making, family imaginative play, family chalk drawing, and other enriching activities, I envy you – but not quite enough to be you.

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Recently I was asked in a comment about how I made the decision to have a second baby. This is a seriously good question, especially considering the trouble I had with L over the last year. The simple answer is that having only one child was never really a consideration for me. So it wasn’t a question of if but a question of when.

Luckily we decided to try for #2 before L was 2 years old. Had I still not been pregnant by the time L morphed from sweet but challenging toddler to complete evil monster villain (somewhere around 2.5), I don’t know if I would have gone through with #2. The year from almost 3 to almost 4 was so so so hard. L was not easy to be around, to put it mildly, (way mildly – he was extremely, impossibly, unfathomably unpleasant,) but thankfully S was already here by then.

So now I have my sweet but challenging 4-year-old and my sweet 1.5-year-old and I’m done. Right? Totally. I’m completely 100% mostly almost sure of it. What more could I want? I had 2 healthy pregnancies, have two healthy kids, have one of each sex – why push my luck? Also, I can sort of see the end of the tunnel. Baby days are close(ish) to behind me. Soon I’ll have a family that can go places and do things and not be encumbered by naps, diapers, and other babyish stuff.

But babies are just so cute. Can’t argue with that logic.

Unlike normal people, I liked being pregnant and I liked the newborn phase. I love that warm little floppy helpless bundle, even if it means colic, no sleep, sore nipples and diaper blow-outs. I recognize that this feeling I have is not remotely coming from my rational brain. It’s coming from some evolutionary, biological, clock-ticking, animal place and I should know better. And I do. Mostly. Luckily, T totally knows better and has not even the slightest inclination towards having another baby.

So, back to the question of how one arrives at the decision to have or not to have another child? I don’t really have an answer for that. For having a second, we didn’t really ever consider the alternative so there was no decision process beyond timing. As far as having any more, I feel like the partner who is done has veto power over the partner who may want one more. So we’re done. Well, at least we’re shelving the topic. For now. No, really, we’re done. Almost certainly absolutely probably so.

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As I type this my kids are nearly 100 miles away from me. I’m not talking in the figurative sense – as in I’ve reached some awesome meditative state and/or plugged them into Sprout and I’m looking at the bottom of my second glass of wine – but in the literal sense. As in they are an hour and a half away from me. Sounds pretty good, right? Wait. It gets better. Very, very early tomorrow morning, T and I will get up (happily) and hop on a flight for a 5 day trip to Puerto Rico. No kids. Just us.

The point of this post isn’t to gloat over my amazing luck, but to give a massive shout out to my spectacularly awesome parents. Not only are they looking after the kids while we’re away, but as a gift to T for his last birthday, my mom gave him enough airline miles to get us our tickets to PR.

So, if you want to know what the best mother on Earth looks like, that’s it. She’s the mom who takes her kid’s kids, and sends her kid and husband away for a vacation together. Don’t bother trying to be the best mom in the world, that spot is already occupied by my mom.

Thank you, Mom!!!

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Nicole over at Ninja Mom started a meme called Character Assassination Carousel, in which we get to have our revenge on the children’s books we hate but are forced to read over and over again. She kicked it off with a letter to Shel Silverstein in the voice of the much aggrieved tree from The Giving Tree. Next to ride the carousel was Kristine from Wait in the Van who wrote a hilarious and scathing attack on Love You Forever. Now it’s my turn and I’m a little pissed because those two already wrote about my most-loathed books. Fear not! I have enough vitriol to hate more than just two books!

I’m the type of person who needs my own space. I’m social (a little), like being around people (honestly, I like very few people), but really need down time, alone time, me time. I’ve always been very independent. Basically I’d be fine on a deserted island and probably wouldn’t resort to personifying a volley ball for company. I’ve spent a good deal of my life trying to get away from people without hurting their feelings, with mixed success. It’s not you, it’s me. (Are you wondering where I’m going with this?) All of this is to say that I sympathize so much with the little bunny in The Runaway Bunny.

I know, I know, this is a much-loved classic. What kind of mother am I to criticize Margaret Wise Brown? Meh, I hate this book. The poor little bunny just wants some space! But his mom does not get it. At all. Not only does she want to be with him at all times, she wants to smother him. She just can’t hear her poor little bunny’s pleas for freedom and independence. It begins with the little bunny’s declaration that he is going to run away.

“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.”

That’s right kid. I own you!

RunAway Bunny

Clearly, this bunny wants to get a little distance between himself and his suffocating mother bunny. The book continues with the little bunny thinking of different ways to get the hell away from his psycho mom. He wants to be rock on a mountain, but the mother bunny threatens to become a mountain climber. He decides he’ll become  a boat and sail away from her. But she one-ups him by becoming the wind so she can “blow you where I want you to go.”

That’s right kid. I own you. Can you imagine being this mother bunny’s boyfriend and trying to break up with her? She has crazy stalker written all over her. You just know she’s perfected the ominous-love-note-made-up-from-letters-cut-out-of-magazines trick. Sheesh! No wonder there’s no daddy bunny. He probably had to get a restraining order.

Here she even disguises herself as a tree so he unwittingly lands on her when he's a bird needing to rest. Holy psycho!

Being that he is just a little bunny, his crazy mother (totally resisting the urge to bring Blossom and attachment parenting into this…) can out-think him in her attempts to hover over him for always. Outmatched, he finally gives up. You can almost hear his hope dying as he realizes that he is stuck with her.

“Shucks,” said the bunny, “I might as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.”

I give up. You own me.

Poor little bunny.

Next month Beta Dad, whose blog is worth checking out if for no other reason than the awesome header picture, will be riding on the Character Assassination Carousel. I wonder what book he’ll skewer?

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Why should my kid know the alphabet? Because “the man” says so? Well, fuck the man. I don’t like the letters C, P or U so I’m not going to teach them to my kids. If they decide, at some later date, that they do like those letters, then they are free to add them into the alphabet, wherever they please. My children are special small people and I believe they know what’s best for themselves.

That’s right. My kids know what’s best. That’s why L has cookies for breakfast and is allowed to use the stove. If he burns himself, which I doubt he will, he will learn organically that placing his face on the element is a poor choice.

S does not like her carseat. She’s 1.5 now and old enough to know what’s best for her. I don’t give a shit that “the man” says it’s the law. Laws stifle my children’s freedom to develop at their own pace, into whomever they please. So I allow S to climb around the car freely as I drive. People are shocked by this and want to take my daughter from me. It’s not their fault that they feel this way. They harbor long-standing resentments towards everyone because they were made to share as children, and are still trying to seek retribution for having to give other kids a turn with the shovel in the sandbox.

I don’t stop my children from hitting your children. Confused? Don’t be. If my child wants to hit yours, yours probably deserves it. By not forcing my child to keep his hands to himself, my child will learn the natural way that hitting does not gain friends. Your child is free to walk away from my child. I am not willing to shove nonviolence propaganda down his throat just to please judgmental parents, society at large, and the children mine are beating on.

I don’t discourage my children from putting forks into outlets or drinking from the toilet, if they feel so inclined. Those might not be my choices, but they are not me. They are free to make their own choices, even if it means that I will suffer the heartache of mourning the loss of my electrocuted toddler. At least she had her freedom.

I don’t have to conform to your ways because I’m not going to send my children to school. They won’t be forced to confront society until they are adults, or whenever they decide they are ready to move out of my home. At that time, they will have the maturity to navigate the world on their own, because I’ve let them navigate the world on their own since the day they were born.

I’m not judging you for kowtowing to “the man” and sheepishly doing random things like teaching colors just because you’ve been told to. (If my kid wants to call blue red, then that’s his creative right.) I’m not better than you just because I’m not stunting my children’s individuality like you are.

I know I’m really cerebral about this stuff, but that’s just because I’m really freaking smart. Smarter than you are. But that’s OK.

Wondering what this is all about? Check out Blossom’s latest. I probably should have encouraged you to read that first, but I thought it would be funnier this way. I really don’t see my post as much more outrageous than hers.

Blossom says, “I have heard people say that those who force their kids to share, be polite, and excel on adult terms are really just creating children who are monkeys…” Really, Mayim? You’ve heard people say this? What people? Where? Well, I’ve heard people say that those who force their babies out of their vaginas are really just birthing children who are witless losers. I would never push my baby to come out if she didn’t want to. Just because by our “adult terms” we could both die if I don’t push. Why force your baby to enter the world that way? If my baby wants to be born, she’ll come out on her own. She knows what’s best for her.

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