Posts Tagged ‘poop’

We got nearly 2 feet of snow between the 29th and 30th of this month, which is October in case you’ve become disoriented. It’s funny that I never dreamed of a white Halloween. Never really thought about it before. And to be honest, it’s beautiful.

In the beginning...

The snow is of the heavy, wet variety and it’s piled on the trees and every surface in thick, white pillows. The problem is that it’s October and the trees weren’t quite ready for those pillows. With their leaves still on, the poor trees are bending, bowing and breaking under the weight of the snow.

Broken trees = broken power lines = no power anywhere near me = no heat, no running water, no coffee.

This is still early on. Around 4PM on Saturday.

We did try to make the most of the situation though and had a great time playing in the snow as it fell.

Superman-Jack-O-Lantern-Snowman, naturally

Then night fell on us and with it a few trees, several branches and any hopes I had of sleeping. I made several middle of the night rounds with my flashlight in my freezing house checking on the trees outside. At 2AM I got T out of bed to help me shake off a tree that was resting on our back deck. A few good shakes and it sprang back up, only to lean against L’s window.

Morning came, and with it two extremely excited kids and a few extremely tired adults. Did I mention the no coffee thing? Also, there might have been some hot buttered rum the day before and a fair amount of red wine. (Hey, we had to keep warm!) We had our work cut out for us.

My nerves were fried and I was too frazzled, tired, and busy to take the pictures I should have. Like the picture of the huge old tree that fell down at some point in stealthy silence, about 6 feet from our house. Had the tree’s trajectory been a degree or two different, L’s room would have been crushed. I did take a couple on my phone though.

Back deck, sheltered from snowfall, in the morning

Pumpkin-Head Snowman after we unburied him in the morning

Holy Sh!t

I did learn some things though. Like just about anything, the crappy stuff related to an October snowstorm can be broken down to a top 5 list. So, here I give you:

The Top 5 Craptastic Things Caused by an October Snowstorm:

5. One is not prepared and has not yet removed the snow blower from its storage space under the back deck. It took lots and lots and lots of shoveling to get to that thing.

4. One is not prepared and has to dig out winter clothes from their storage place in the dark basement, by flashlight, helped by super-excited-to-play-in-the-snow-and-bonkers-wildly-excited-to-be-in-the-cold-dark-basement-with-flashlights kids.

3. No electricity means it’s dark. Very dark. Darkness and flashlights at bedtime with small children causes exceptional hyperness, excitement and fear.

2. No heat. It’s cold. Turns out our fireplace is purely decorative and supplies no heat to the house whatsoever. Last I checked on Sunday afternoon it was 55 and dropping inside.

1. The worst thing about it by far was the lack of running water. We have our own well, so no power = no water = no flushing, no washing. That expansive dinner we made on Saturday before the power went out? Hello piles of dirty dishes, bowls, pots and pans that can’t be washed. Those giant poops that my kids make? Still in the toilets waiting for a flush. YUCK!

By late afternoon on Sunday we had enough. We packed ourselves up and escaped to my parents’ house a couple of hours away. Our power is due to be restored at 11:45PM on Thursday, November 3rd. Until then we’ll stay here where it’s warm. On Friday, I will have to face a house full of old dirty dishes, a fridge full of rotten food, and those toilets.

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Motherhood is a multifaceted job – much like a gemstone that you hold in your hand turning in the light watching the angles and corners and surfaces glimmer and shine different, unexpected ways, only with more poop. As a mom I’m both hero and villain. I’m playmate and disciplinarian, teacher and student, and a bunch of other less glamorous things like chef, maid, coffee-chugger, insomniac, bathroom coach, and budding alcoholic. I have more roles than I can list because new ones arise every day. Am I an expert nail cutter, splinter-getter-outer? I am now. And, as a feather in my lovely mom-cap, as one last sexy thing I do, I plunge toilets. Often.

Indoor plumbing was not made with L in mind. His small body produces surprisingly unflushable waste. And to exacerbate the unflushable situation further, he apparently cannot learn the appropriate amount of toilet paper one needs. Although he frequently throws his dirty toilet paper in the garbage, (Oh, yeah, I’m also dirty toilet paper garbage digger. I’m so hot.)  he does sometimes remember to dispose of these enormous bunches of paper in the toilet.

We all watch the toilet flush murmuring “please, please, please” under our collective breaths.

Usually I catch it in time before an actual overflow. I can plunge while holding that ball thing up in the back while defensively body checking small curious people out of the way. Sometimes I’m too late. Then I’m standing in a growing puddle of horror, while plunging, and screaming for small curious people to go far far away.

I hate this job.

This job, and so many others like it, is what it means to be a grown-up. As a kid I really wanted to be a grown-up. I had romantic ideas of doing whatever I wanted (ha!) whenever I wanted (haha!) and staying up late (hahaha!). I thought I’d wear fabulous clothes (snort!) and lead and exciting life (sob!). Had I known that being a grown-up actually entailed so much toilet plunging and other people’s body parts and fluids then I might have relished my childhood a little more. I might have enjoyed my irresponsibility, the fact that the buck never stopped here.

What are your responsibilities that let you know you’ve finally arrived at adulthood?
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I am no good at potty training. I lose patience. I can’t stand the constant need to visit every gross bathroom everywhere. I hate reading books to a non-productive potty sitter who really just wants to get to the toilet paper and wash her hands. I hate faking enthusiasm at non-accomplishments like peeing on the floor or sitting on the potty and doing nothing.

This is why I’ve been ignoring S’s readiness. She tells me when she’s wet. She tells me before she poops. She loves to sit on her potty. She brings me the board books about going potty. She puts on L’s underpants. Considering that this child of mine knows about 5 words (hyperbole), I think she’s communicating pretty effectively.

So, today I made a half-assed attempt. It was a rainy day with just S and me at home together. I have a giant bag of hand-me-down underpants from my twin nieces. (Is that weird? I can’t decide if it’s gross or not.) So, on a lark, I put a pair on S. I said to her, “Now tell mommy if you have to pee.” About one second later she pointed to her crotch and said “pop, pop.” Used to just inventing what I think she’s trying to tell me I replied, “That’s right, you have underpants on. Just tell mommy when you have to pee.” Again with the crotch pointing and the “pop, pop.” Again with the “That’s right, just let me know when you have to pee.”

Naturally, she was letting me know that she had to pee. Since I completely missed her obvious signals she peed on the carpet. Ugh. Back into a diaper and off to Target to buy training pants which a friend recommended. These are basically a hybrid of underpants and cloth diapers. Back at home I put her in two pair. No more pee on the carpet.

We had umpteen cups of apple juice and spend most of the day switching between the potty seat on the toilet and her little potty. Training pants up, training pants down, a few naked baby runs. Still no actual potty action. She did manage to wet 4 pairs of training pants.

I know that in the grand scheme of potty training this was a just fine first day. The problem isn’t that she’s not getting it or anything like that. The problem is that I’m done. I still have not managed to get her to produce a drop of pee in any potty and I’m ready to throw in the towel and be totally exasperated with her. I know that this makes me a total a-hole, but it is what it is.

I have to find some potty zen. Remember awhile back when I got all zenned out? I need to do that again. Pee on the carpet? Who cares, Man. As long as we all love each other…

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When do I get to not be involved in my kids’, er, elimination? I want to not know and not care when or if they’ve pooped. I want it to be their problem. I’m sick of wrestling, reminding, wiping, reading to etc. I’m so sick of it all.

S is at the squirm stage. Think spooked greased pig amped up on red bull. But she’s still the easy one.

L has poop issues. He withholds, which is the most frustrating, annoying, infuriating, maddening thing in the world. I never could have guessed that another person’s bowel movements could have such an effect on me. Never in a million years.

We have a new plan. It involves a “treasure chest” full of small toys and rewards that he earns by not putting up a fight when it’s time to go. He is so excited about the treasure chest. He talks about the treasure chest. He constantly wants to check on the treasure chest. And yet, he has so far not earned any treasure. His aversion to pooping is stronger than his desire for new matchbox cars, batman tattoos and lollipops.

My job is to pretend I don’t care. If I take the power out of it all, it won’t be a power struggle, right? I can’t do it. I do care. It bothers me to see him squirm because he can barely hold it in any longer. And yet he holds it. It bothers me that he can’t eat his meals because he has to poop so badly. It bothers me that he’s awake in his room until 9 or 10 at night because he can’t fall asleep because he is holding in what really just wants to come out.

This new plan is plan number high-number. This has been going on since his 1.5-year-old sister was born. I can’t stand it. I know that one day when he’s a teenager with teenage problems I may wish for these smaller problems of a small child. Well, people tell me that anyway. But right now this feels like a big problem. L’s poop or lack thereof shapes my days. When he’s gone he’s a happy, cooperative child. When he hasn’t he’s grumpy, contrary and looking for a fight.

His poop, my pain in the ass.


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Cat Killer?

I know that this blog is supposed to be all about motherhood and parenting and my kids, and this entry isn’t at all about any of that. But it’s my blog and I can do what I want to. Right now, my big problem is my cat.

I’ve written about her before. My sad, anxiety ridden cat. My cat who has ruined our carpeting, several throw blankets, baby blankets and playmats and recently 2 pieces of my sectional couch. My cat who for the last year, has been peeing (and sometimes pooping) all over my house. It’s been a year, a year, of this and I’ve had enough.

Prozac was meant to be the last chance. Now even that has failed and I’m faced with a really hard choice: put her to sleep or keep her, knowing that she will continue to pee on things until at some point in the future things get so bad that I’ll be faced with this choice again. Adoption isn’t an option. She’s a 15-year-old, indoor cat who pees inappropriately. Taking her to a no-kill shelter isn’t a good option either as I feel like it’s not a kindness to her. She’d be so unhappy, and unhappiness is her big problem. Sequestering her isn’t an option either. We’ve done that and it only made things worse.

Am I really capable of packing my cat into her carrier, bringing her to the vet and having them kill her? Because she pees?? I wish this was more black and white. I wish she was sick, in pain, suffering. I wish I wasn’t the grown up here and that this problem could just go over my head to the person who is really in charge.

Right now she’s on my lap. This sucks. I thought I was going to be putting her down today, but I can’t. If I’m going to do it at all, it will have to wait for Friday when I have some time with no kids so I can take care of it. Am I a very bad person to consider this? Am I going to be wracked with guilt for the rest of my life if I do it?

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(Today is day 3 of the Back to Blogging challenge at SITS (sponsored by Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances) and the assignment is to share a post with a title we particularly like. So I’m reposting this one from way back when (April 7, 2010 – OK I know it’s not really way back). I don’t know why I like the title so much. I guess I just think it’s funny to replace the word “car” with “baby” in this common phrase. And, it’s really something I was excited about, and I called it “new baby smell” back then, when I was excited and still didn’t know the real truth…)

New Baby Smell was something I had heard about – one of those unbearably pleasurable things that I hadn’t yet experienced, like new car smell (since I always had used cars). But this time I was going to get the real deal. My baby would be new!

Before my son was born, swept up in the romance of the about-to-be, I would sometimes bury my nose in his tiny new clothes and blankets, which of course had been pre-washed in the special, super gentle, baby detergent. I inhaled the aromas of all the  baby oils, lotions and soaps, all organic naturally. I imagined New Baby Smell to be a wonderful fusion of these soft sweet things combined with some special fragrance that my baby would emit from his pores and his sweet baby breath. I was in for a surprise.

My baby smelled like vomit and rotten milk. All the time. This was his signature scent. Certainly there were times when his smell would change. Like immediately after a bath. If I was quick, I could smell him and get a noseful of water and baby oil before he vomited again, but I was rarely quick enough and often got a hairful, or even once an earful, of vomit while trying this risky maneuver. The only thing that really covered the vomit and rotten milk smell was his gas.

My baby did not know how to shit, you see. He’d push and clench at the same time leading to no movement but much frustration, crying, and I imagine abdominal pain. Apparently this is normal. But no one tells you that you are born not knowing how to shit. What he did know, was how to fart. The boy could clear a room. I’d be trapped, nursing him, and suddenly be enveloped in a thick death cloud of smell that I swear lingered in my hair and on my clothes. (Oh, I forgot to mention that my signature scent during the early months was also rotten milk and vomit, and sometimes, baby fart.)

Ah, yes. Nursing. This is the time I imagined I’d breathe in New Baby Smell. I thought I’d stroke the soft downy hair of my tiny baby, nuzzle my nose into his warm, soft cheek, relish in these quiet moments. Maybe I’m ungainly, or maybe it’s because L was born over 10 lbs, but I never got coordinated enough to nurse, stroke and nuzzle at the same time. Not that I’d want to. That soft downy hair I imagined was actually falling out in clumps. And the scalp underneath was covered in the thick yellow scabs of cradle cap, which is also totally normal and common but you never hear about. And of course, the warm, soft cheek was deeply fragranced with vomit and rotten milk. Oh, and the quiet moments. Yeah right! L thrashed about wildly while I tried to hold onto his massive head in one hand and steer my equally massive breast into his mouth with the other (it is easier to move your breasts than the baby’s head, by the way).

For us, nursing was not a simple thing I could quietly do while sitting around with others having polite conversation. First of all, the others usually had left the room anyway because of the aforementioned gas problem. But more importantly, to me, was that I had to be completely naked from the waist up. It was enough work for me to steer the giant head and giant breast without also having to discreetly move aside layers of clothes designed to be easy to discreetly move aside.

So, I spent the first several months of motherhood mostly alone, mostly naked, mostly in a noxious cloud of stink. New Baby Smell my ass.

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I’m sure you’ve all been wondering about and losing sleep over L’s poop issues. I was going to write this great post about how he hasn’t had any Miralax for almost 2 weeks, and he’s been going, without that much of a fight, a couple of times per day with nary a pooped-in pair of undies to be tossed! I’ve been ruminating on this great update post in my mind for the last day or two.

Then just now happened. Just now is not a good mommy moment for me. It’s bedtime. The kid has gotta go. It’s obvious. He stands like he’s gotta go; he squirms like he’s gotta go; he smells like he’s gotta go. So, I tell him it’s time to go.

“NO! I DON’T POOP ANYMORE! I WILL HOLD IT IN FOREVER!!” Out of nowhere. Suddenly tears.

Next comes me trying reason, trying kindness, trying scary-serious voice, trying wrestling and finally giving up and picking the kid up, tossing him into his bedroom while saying (yelling), “Fine! Then you can go straight to bed with no books, no PJ’s, and no brushing your teeth! Your teeth will all rot right out of your head!” Door slams.

He’s upstairs now crying, “Get me out of here!”

I am the best.mom.ever. Anyone want some advice? Come to me! I’m sooooo good at this. I can’t believe that it’s actually my job to raise this child without entirely fucking him up. Clearly, I’m not capable of this.

Hang on, here he comes….

OK, it’s now 20 minutes later. L came down fairly calm. I asked if he was ready to go and he said yes and went. Then asked, “Are you so proud of me?” I told him that I was not. That I would have been proud if he just went in the first place. Mean, I know.

Well, now he’s in bed fully evacuated at least. I suck at this job.

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Poop War Zone

I regret I didn’t take a picture.

My mom was visiting today and she went upstairs to get S up from her nap. Soon I heard a distress call something like “There’s a problem up here!” and it was strange because the baby was still crying, even after my mother’s arrival. Problem? L and I went up to investigate.

My poor mom is holding a squirming, naked, screaming S who is absolutely covered in poop. It’s under her nails, up her nose, all over her arms and legs, on her face and mouth, everywhere. Here is where I say again to my mom “THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for being here!!!” (She was supposed to have left, but L and I are good at stalling.) My mom took care of bathing the baby. It was a huge task.

I decided to tackle the crib, Pack n’ Play actually. And I had L’s “help.” The scene was like a poop war zone. Like nothing I’ve seen before. It looked like two dogs crapped in there and then had a fight. In the center was the biggest pile of shit you can imagine and it’s unthinkable how that could have come out of my baby. Shoved in the corner was a perfectly empty diaper. Everywhere were smears and hand prints. S also had peed in there so a good portion of the mess was wet and soaked through. Somehow, in her poop wrangling, she got the waterproof pad that was under the sheet all crumpled up in the corner. So the wet mess soaked right through to the mattress.

I did the best I could using non-toxic cleaners and baby wipes. All pacifiers were thrown out, laundry done on hot with extra soap. I thought all was well. But I just went upstairs to remake the bed, as it’s almost bedtime. The room still smells. Carefully, I leaned over and smelled the fabric edge of the Pack n’ Play. Poop. No poop I can see, but poop I can smell. I don’t know how to clean this as it’s attached to the frame.

That brings me to my current sweat soaked state. With S and L “helping” I’ve been dismantling the crib that has been in L’s room in order to move it into S’s room. Hopefully she’ll sleep in it tonight since the babysitter is due in 15 minutes. Ugh, Ugh, Ugh.

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One day when L was 22 or 23 months old he asked to poop on the potty. Positive that nothing would come of it, I said sure and popped him onto the toilet. To my utter amazement, he pooped and peed and asked for underpants. So began L’s potty training. We went to the store that day and bought some underpants.

To encourage his potty interest, I rewarded him with 1 m&m for pee and 2 for poop. We spent the next few days at home, drinking lots of juice, spending waaaaaaay more time than I liked in our tiny downstairs bathroom, and having m&ms.

The m&ms were a huge hit. He had never had any candy before and I think they blew his mind. For the next several months, I continued with the m&m rewards. L was only too happy to go to the bathroom back in those days! But that’s not the point of this story. Unintentionally, I ingrained in his mind a very strong association between m&ms and going potty. I don’t think it ever occurred to him that m&ms exist outside of that paradigm. Until, one day, I took him to a puppet show.

This was a huge mistake. The whole endeavor was a disaster and I should have known better. At 2, L was even less capable of sitting still or following a plot than he is now. The show was a marionette version of the story of Perseus. WTF was I thinking? We arrive and hit the potties first thing. On our way back to our seats we pass the concession stand; feeling generous and still naively excited for our outing, I bought L some chips. L is so excited to be in the theater. He’s barely big enough to hold the folding seat down, but he’s determined and he sits, waits, and munches on chips. This is going to be great!

Waiting has never been one of L’s strengths. Soon he’s restless and bored. He notices two girls, maybe 11 or 12 years old, sitting in the row in front of us, but 5 or 6 seats down to our right. They are eating m&ms. (Were you wondering how this was going to tie in?) A whole big bag of m&ms. L has never seen a large bag of m&ms, never seen m&ms aside from the 1 or 2 he’d get for going potty. He was amazed, fascinated and wanted to know everything. “Mommy! Look! Doze girls go potty?” “Shhh, L.”

I can’t stop what happens next. The lights begin to fade. L leans over the chair in front of him (yes, it’s occupied) to get the girls’ attention. “Girls! Hey! Girls! ‘Cuze me! You go poop on the potty?” This is loud. Everyone is looking, including the girls, who are mortified. I pull, I hush, I hold him on my lap. I try to make him (and everyone) pay attention to the show that’s beginning on stage. But L is determined to find out how one gets hold of a huge bag of m&ms. What exactly does he have to do on the potty to get that? He needs to know.

He continues to harass the poor, humiliated girls. “Was it big poops? Pee too?” It couldn’t get worse for these girls. I was able to distract him for a few minutes with the show, but he quickly realized that he didn’t know wtf was going on, and he was too young to even get wtf marionettes were. Somehow, naturally, all the other kids in the audience were watching quietly.

We stayed for maybe 20 minutes. Definitely 20 minutes too long. Every couple of minutes he lurched forward again to re-humiliate the girls by asking detailed questions about their bowel movements. Of course, no one had any idea why my son was so curious about any of this. This m&m association is just his own. Those poor girls.

I finally dragged him out of there while he screamed “BUT I WANT TO KNOW IF THEY POOPED!” I yelled at him the whole drive home. I promised I would never take him anywhere ever again. And we soon stopped the m&m reward system altogether.

I was reminded of this story today when a friend offered some m&ms to L. He’s now seen them here and there and the association has worn off. Stupidly, I will probably take L to another marionette show at some point in his life.

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Kitty is Depressed

Generally, when I think of my role as a mother, I’m thinking of my relationship to L and S. But long before I had them, long before I was even married, waaaaay back in 1999, I adopted a 4-year-old cat from the local animal shelter and thus first became a “mom”. So, it follows that my WTF moments sometimes involve her. Today’s WTF moment is the fact that my cat is on Prozac.

No, L’s defiance and contrary streak haven’t been getting to the cat as well. It’s actually S who was my cat’s last straw. This second child, another insult to my cat’s position in the family, just put her over the edge.

It started as a mystery. When S was a couple of months old and I was putting her down on the floor on blankets or playmats, I noticed a strong pee smell in the area. I couldn’t find the source. Finally, I found a wet spot on a blanket left on the floor. I blamed L. I thought he was acting out as a reaction to the baby and that he peed on her blanket. I got mad. He apologized. I thought that was that.

The pee smell persisted and one day I caught my cat in the act. (Why didn’t L deny the charge?) I could not believe it. This was a cat that had no annoying habits. She never meowed, never woke us up, didn’t scratch, claw at things etc. She was the perfect cat. I brought her to the vet. Clean bill of health. Went home with the advice not to leave baby blankets on the floor.

To compress a months’ long saga into a short one, the pee apparently soaked through the blankets into the carpet and once the smell is there the cat keeps peeing there. I used every cleaning product and concoction known to man. It’s through the carpet to the padding and probably the wood underneath. My only solution will be to replace my carpeting. Bad cat.

Months went by and we lived like this. The cat peed. I got crazy mad. I cleaned to no avail. Finally, I had enough. I brought her to the vet. Went home with the advice to sequester my cat to a different, smaller, area of the house. So, that’s how the cat came to live only in my master bedroom and bathroom. She has almost no human contact during the day. After a month of this, I guess she had enough, and she began her campaign of biological warfare.

As T and I climbed into bed, the cat jumped up and pooped in the middle of the bed. Holy shit. Despite every urge to take her outside and throw her in the woods  right then and there, we decided that what she needed was more attention and affection.

The next two days saw the cat reintroduced to the rest of the house, and to human contact. She was pet, brushed and held. She was around people all day. Surely she’d be happy now? Well, that’s when she peed on the bed and started peeing on the couches. That brings me to today. I called the vet. Prozac is this cat’s last shot. I’ve been feeling horrible all day knowing that soon I might be making a decision to put the cat down. She’s 15 years old, poops and pees everywhere – this is not a cat I can live with, and not a cat that is adoptable. This is sad. Maybe we should both start the Prozac.

So, wish us luck. Hopefully the Prozac will work; otherwise I’ll be facing a terrible decision. 😦

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She’s seen it all now. All my effort to pretend I had a nice family for nothing. Nana witnessed me drag a screaming L to the car this morning, pin him in his carseat and forcibly strap him down as he thrashed, cried, shrieked, kicked, hit and tried to bite me. She then saw me turn to my husband, her son, and yell at him about something or other. Then, after storming back inside to retrieve my crying baby in her carseat, I proceeded to yell at both T and Nana about how helpful they were being standing there watching all of this.

As I drove away, after my initial mean thoughts about how useless they were and how I had to do everything, I thought about what Nana must be thinking. How much I’ve changed since she first met me 10 years ago as a carefree, adventuring young 20-something traveling with my boyfriend, who I obviously adored, and did not berate or yell at. What changed me into this control-freak-bitch?

I think life would be so much easier if I could just clone myself a few times over. That way, all the errands would be run right, the dishwasher would be loaded correctly, the laundry folded, the kids put to bed in a timely, orderly fashion etc. Everything would be done right. Instead, I have to deal with these other people helping me, and doing things all wrong.

When it’s just T, things generally run pretty smoothly. I don’t really mind when I find another pair of PJs under the PJs I just took off the baby. I think it’s weird, but I don’t care. (This happened 2 days ago. After all this time having kids, WTF is he thinking? Wasn’t it hard to squeeze already footed-feet into the second pair of footie PJs?) We have a system for dividing the labor so we don’t really step on eachother’s toes too much. I load the dishwasher; he unloads. I do all the laundry, but he carries the heavy basket upstairs. He changes all lightbulbs; I clean the bathrooms. All in all, things work and we live in peace.

Adding another adult in the house has me beside myself. I don’t have as much control over everything as I like. This lack of control makes me feel uncomfortable. I know that having everything done my way is not a life or death situation. I even know that other people *could* do things better than I do them. (Nevermind, I don’t believe that for a second.) Why do I need everything done my way so badly? Why can’t I just relinquish some of this control?

I know it would make me happier if I just didn’t care. I’d be happier if I didn’t care that L wasn’t dressed before coming downstairs this morning, making getting him dressed a 1/2 hour ordeal involving tears and yelling and even a time out, rather than a 3 minute nothing if done first thing in his room. And why does it bother me so much that Nana wants to handwash everything instead of just putting it all in the dishwasher? She’s the one slaving over the sink, why does it drive me crazy? I’ll tell you why: because I am a control-freak-bitch.

I am sure I’m not the only one. Motherhood changes some of us into these people we sometimes don’t like. It’s insult added to injury. Not only do we not look like our younger selves, but our personalities are worse as well. It’s another one of those terrible stereotypes about women and wives. It’s the harpy wife who gives chores, nags, and isn’t pleased by the job done. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want poor T to have to live with that person! But, am I turning into her? What kind of message does that send my kids about what a woman’s job is, and a man’s worth?

Isn’t it typical that even when I’m trying so hard to make everything go right for my kids, I’m still unhappy that I’m not doing a good enough job, because just by virtue of trying I’m teaching my kids something bad? Ugh, can’t it ever just be easy? Forget saving for college, I need to save up for my kids’ therapy.

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Warning: as I write this I am in the middle of a battle. I am currently angry. Everything I may say here is the stuff I think while in the throes of this shit. These are not the sane thoughts I may have a few hours from now. After bedtime, after a glass (likely more) of wine.

New parenting strategy sucks and fails. Instead of engaging L in the daily battle for him to poop, I decided to let him do whatever he wants. So, when he pooped a bit in his pants, but still refused to go the rest of the way on the toilet, I said “OK, we’re late to meet our friends, let’s go.” Then, at the playground, when he couldn’t run around with his friends, and he kept going to stand in a corner with his legs crossed in desperation, I let him know that at any time I could take him to the potty at the playground, or we could go home to go potty. He declined. We stayed at the park. Then, when we got home and found that he had pooped more in his pants, I sat him on the toilet. That brings us to now. I had to walk out of the bathroom because I was going to lose it. I was going to get in his face and scream at him that what he’s doing it so stupid. He is refusing to poop, STILL. He is also crying because his bottom is so sore from being filthy all this time. So, leaving my idiot 3-year-old to his own devices does not work. What else can I do? I don’t have the patience or kindness for this.

This is not a potty training thing. L has been potty trained for nearly a year and a half. This is a recent phenomenon that I didn’t originally handle well and it has now turned into a major issue. I give the kid Miralax daily to ensure he does not become constipated. He does, eventually, have at least one bm per day.

I’m at my wit’s end. I quit. I want to holler from the rooftop that I have a malfunctioning 3-year-old for sale.

There, I said it all. I called my child an idiot and you all witnessed it. This is my secret inner dialogue and maybe I really am the only mom who has it. Maybe you are now thinking that this really isn’t a blog you want to read after all, since I’m clearly the meanest mom ever. But this is just where I am right now. And maybe I’m not the only one. Maybe some morsel of this mommy-tantrum is familiar to someone else.

My son is in the other room crying. I am out of my depth. If I can’t handle a 3-year-old’s poop issues, how am I going to manage my kids’ problems when they’re older and the problems are bigger? Obviously I don’t have what it takes.

OK, deep breath. I don’t know if I can say kind things to L right now. But I can read him a book. Here I go.

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I imagine life in other people’s homes as mostly pleasant. Sure there are normal toddler tantrums, there’s over-stimulation, hunger and over-tired outbursts, but I expect that most of the time, the people in the home are happy. This is not true in my home – we are not happy. We aren’t happy because we live with a crazy person.

From one moment to the next, over the smallest of infractions, L can go from the happiest child to a sulking, brooding, foot stomping, hitting, kicking, spitting, screaming, threat-slinging monster. (I thought that brooding was reserved for teenagers? Maybe I’m just getting it out of the way early? Wishful thinking, I’m sure.)

So far this morning L has told me that he loves me and thanked me for the new shirt I bought him yesterday. (Aw!) A short time later, he attacked me with his drumsticks, calling me “Bad Mommy” and telling me that he didn’t like me and didn’t have to listen. (#%$!) Soon after that he cuddled up to my leg to ask if he could help me.  (Aw!) A moment later he screamed at me not to look at him, demanding that he needs privacy. (@$%&*) WTF? How am I supposed to live with this kind of mood-shifter?

I’ve tried different tactics dealing with his bad behavior. I have given more time outs than you would believe. No effect. I have taken away offending toys (the ones he hits me with, throws, etc). No effect. (On one particularly bad day, I actually took away every single toy and book. I carried his whole toy box, very nearly killing myself, down to the basement telling him that I was going to give it all away to nice poor children. Once again, I’m waiting for my mom of the year award.) I have ignored him. This just leads to more and more outlandish behavior until it can no longer be ignored. What can I do? How can my sweet child say that he wants to throw me in the garbage? And where in the world did  he come up with “I’m going to shoot you with my gun!”? What kind of bad mother am I to have a child who says these things?

Just like in everything in life, different people excel at different things. I think I’m a good mom to a baby. I am not good at 3-year-old boy. I just don’t get him; I react too emotionally to his evil outbursts; I am almost never on the same page as him; I don’t like his games (mostly running and throwing himself at things and asking “isn’t that cool?”); I don’t like his interests (poop, worms, jumping off of dangerous things); I don’t have the same type of energy (constant). I’m hoping, that at some later age, we’ll sync up again. Until then, I’m considering renting him out. But, just like my damn cat who now pees on the carpet, who would want him? Do those safe haven places even take 3-year-olds?

And then, just when I’m ready to pack him in the car to drop him off at the local fire station, his natural instinct for self-preservation kicks in. He turns on the charm, dialing up to full blast, and says something like “Mommy, you’re my special girl.” And, like an idiot, I melt. All is forgiven. My sweet, snuggly, boy is back, his demons exorcised. For the moment.

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It Not Easy

August 2009: L is about 2.5 and still sleeping in a crib, in a pull-up. I’m 8 mos pregnant.

I come into his room after his nap to find him absolutely covered in poop. His arms to well above his elbows. His legs in entirety. The crib, the walls, everything. So gross. His explanation: “But me just trying to make waterfall with my poop. It not easy.” I have no idea what he was talking about or what he meant. But poop waterfalls have been officially outlawed in this house.

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Story Teller

April 20, 2010, in the car with Niece 1 and Niece 2:

After telling a particularly unbecoming story involving several variations of “poop” and “pooping” and “butt,” L ends the story with “and then she had poop on her foot.” I gave him a disapproving look and he replied with, “What, Mommy? Foot isn’t a bad word!”

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I’m looking forward to getting old, to a time when my memories of my kids’ younger years are clouded by nostalgia and become sepia toned. At that time, I will look at the pictures I took today and I’ll pull a memory out of thin air. One that feels real, matches the adorable photos, but is totally unrelated to what actually happened today. I will be the person telling others (my own kids perhaps!) to enjoy these years, because they grow up so quick. Snort!

So, back to reality. Let’s start with the photos. Adorable 3-year-old son seated at a sun-swathed picnic table. Green pastures dotted with cows behind him. On his face a huge grin, and a formidable chocolate ice cream goatee. That’s right, I took the kid out for ice cream. Kid heaven, right?

As always, with retrospect I recognize that the disaster that ensued was a result of my own mistakes. Instead of giving L a snack upon waking from his nap, I decided he could make it until we got ice cream. He was so excited! But, by the time we got there, his mood had deteriorated into hungry-3-year-old. If you’re not familiar with this, well, then you’re lucky. But if you are, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. A simple question like, “Do you want a cone or a cup?” sends the kid into a screaming tantrum. Feet stomping, face pouting, shouting demands to everyone (“Stop looking at me!!”).

I am mortified and apologize to everyone I see. I can feel the judgments in their minds. Of course he’s a spoiled brat, his mom is getting him ice cream while he behaves like THAT! and No kid of mine would get away with that kind of behavior! You get the point. One kind gentlemen took pity on me and offered to show L his “cool tractor” outside. Poor guy never saw it coming. L turned the full force of his fury on him screaming, “No! You get away from me! Don’t you talk to me! I don’t like you! I poop on your head!”

I know, I know, I should have taken him by the hand right then and there and left. But, that’s what I did earlier in the day when he behaved this way in gymnastics class. At some point, I actually have to follow through with a planned activity, don’t I? Also, this ice cream was a reward he earned. His jar of pom-poms was filled from his good behaviors all week. And I knew he was just hungry, which was my fault. So I got him the ice cream.

We go to the picnic table and he continues his tirade. He calls me a bad mom. That’s it. I yank the untouched ice cream out of his hand, take a bite, tell him its delicious, and head to the garbage can. This is really what he deserves. This is exactly what I should have done, but when I got to the garbage, I had a change of heart (stupid, stupid heart). I gave him back the ice cream with the threat that if he said one more obnoxious thing, I was going to throw it away. Empty threat. He knew it. I knew it.

His unpleasantness wore off about halfway through the ice cream, when enough food was in his stomach for it to send a signal to his brain to turn off the evil switch. This is when I got my pictures in. He had an enormous chocolate goatee and was so adorable (if you didn’t know him). When he finished eating we head back inside to wash his hands. Everyone inside swoons at his cuteness and he acts the part beautifully. I feel slightly redeemed. The redemption is fleeting.

In the bathroom, he tells me “I don’t have to poop.” This was unprompted, which means that he really has to go. Bad. I urge and plead with him to sit on the potty. No go. Finally I just force him. I pull down his pants and sit him up there. He thrashes, hitting, kicking, screaming. (Keep in mind, this whole time I have 7-month-old S in an ergo on my chest.) He refuses to poop. Defeated, we head out. As I’m paying for the pint of ice cream to take home, my L poops in his pants. This is SECONDS after leaving the bathroom.

Old age, come and get me! Let me pine for these days. Let me cry at L’s wedding and wish for just one second I could have my 3-year-old back. Let me tell my future daughter-in-law that my kids never behaved that way when she comes to visit with my rotten 3-year-old grand kids. I don’t care that I’ll be wrong. I want to love these days. I want to love this child. (Well, OK, I do love him, but I want to like him too! And not just when he’s sleeping.) This is why I take photos. The photos capture a moment that could have been, might have been, should have been, and one day, according to my failing mind, is what happened.
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