Wednesday, February 6, 2013
My mornings recently have been chaotic. I don't even know if chaotic is the right word. There really are not enough words in the English language to adequately describe life with toddlers. Every word I can think of either sounds too nightmarish or else not realistic enough to describe what's actually going on, theres a sweet spot of descriptive words that just don't exist.
First of all, there's no such thing as waking up before the kids are up. Without fail I can hear the three bambinos talking, then fighting, then yelling for no reason, then what I can only assume is playing a full court basketball game in their little 10 x 10 foot room! Max is usually up of course in his baby jail, but he's much more patient than everyone else and you can only hear questioning baby remarks most days as to why no one has gotten him free of baby jail.
As soon as the masses are released from their rooms (we've got baby locks on their bedroom doorknobs because we've got a mischievous one who we've found in various parts of the house in the middle of the night and who wouldn't think twice at destroying pretty much anything he could get his little hands on) they instantly are arguing and fighting over some random toy. Like random. As in no one has touched it in months but suddenly upon waking all three magically need to play with that one toy right now. I know of course that they're all collectively starving to death and have no impulse control, but in the meantime I've usually gottta change a baby diaper and make a bottle for the most helpless member of the household. If I can manage to get everyone to the table in fifteen minutes without having to subject multiple offenders to the corner for multiple offences its really a great day! I can usually con them with a fruit of some kind until their porridge is ready, and then I've usually got to put up a fight with someone over why they can't/won't/have to take forever just to eat breakfast.
After we make it through breakfast I swear I spend about the next hour dealing with everyones different and diverse potty issues. I'm simultaneously trying to make coffee for myself or even eat something, but its constantly being interrupted as usual by various disputes, clean-ups, requests for help, requests for paint, requests for candy and/or chocolate milk 5 minutes after finishing breakfast, and on some days discovering something in the process of being damaged beyond repair.
But this is just the action of the morning, you've really got to use your imagination as to the noise level four of them can create. I also have the loudest three year old ever. His default volume level is loud. Then the whining, layered over my five year old's constant questions, and the always fun stage of baby shrieks! But its really the constant discipline I feel I'm dishing out that feels so tiring. Sometimes before 9 I'm completely out of patience. I'm a yelling, barking, completely deranged crazy person by 11. It seems as if the day is completely ruined by my impatience and frustration at such an early point. Its just plain discouraging.
Granted, its the middle of winter. Its Canada. We haven't been out in months.
And I'm 7 months pregnant. I'm irritated by the smallest of things. I tire from standing up and getting out of bed. I'm tired of struggling and discipline in about 5 minutes.
But I've gotta admit that even with extenuating circumstances sometimes I can't help but think:
"What the hell?!"
"Maybe I am a giant chump for falling for this stay-at-home-mom nonsense?"
"Maybe all my beloved 'principles' of the importance of home and children growing up in a peaceful, loving, environment with their own family is a complete pipe dream?"
"My mothering track record seems to be one of endless correction by God of what I thought I would be as a mother and what my family would be like so maybe this is His way of saying I'm on the completely wrong track?"
"That homeschooling idea was made in a time of complete insanity."
"Maybe toddlers do need highly institutionalized daycares/preschools for the majority of their waking hours?"
"Maybe children do make you insane like everyone says?"
"People who work for minimum wage in retail get more polite responses for their efforts and way less poop to deal with!"
So I've definitely got some pretty outrageous trains of thought going through my head sometimes.
And this isn't my first rodeo, I know I shouldn't be making anything close to genuine judgements, let alone important decisions or choices, during the third trimester because I am a crazy, stressed-out, hormonally deranged, crazy person. (Crazy is listed twice for a reason!)
And when I think about possible solutions of what would make my life easier there really aren't a lot. Sure, I could get out more. But I'm really exhausted and hardly anything could outweigh the amount of work it takes to get kids and then myself out the door these days. Maybe a live-in nanny/slave? Would that make things easier or only a bit cleaner? Possibly some magical medication to make me less constantly cranky? Yeah...that would help...but probably wouldn't be too conducive to the poor Little Love who's all dependent on me on the inside!
There are just some plain old facts you can't get around. Like not having any children over the age of reason and being painfully outnumbered! I understand that I'm most definitely in the thick of survival stage, being seven months pregnant, and will be for at least the next 8 months. I don't really put a lot of expectations in being close to normally functioning till a newborn is 6 months old, but why does it feel so, so much longer than that right now?? I know intellectually that you come out the other end of survival stage, if only because I've experienced it for brief periods in the past 6 years, but it seems impossible to imagine right now.
I'm running extremely low on hope. I think sometimes its still difficult to accept/get my head around how intense my experience of motherhood is compared to most everyone else. It makes me tend to think how most people who have five kids have older kids who can feed/dress themselves, help out, don't need potty attention, etc etc. I feel I'd have a more rounded and mature view of tough times if I had experienced a little bit more time of relative calmness compared to going from one survival period to the next. I guess I'm just trying to make the conclusion that I know I don't have the wisdom and experience that good mothers have, and that in turn becomes a vicious circle and makes things a little harder. The other conclusion is that I think to a great degree these seasons of insane toddler/baby stress are simply difficult times one has to go through and somehow make it out the other side to see all that can come of it. A cross you've just got to bear. But if the cross also involves four people who are still the very best part of my day then I might make it after all.