Thursday, June 2, 2016

Working on Becoming the Mom I've Always Wanted

These little three-year-old boys are INCREDIBLY amazing, loving, affectionate, smart, hilarious, rebelliously awesome kids. There's so much to tell about how they're growing & developing into kids who'll express why they won't do something, selectively not hear me tell them it's time to clean up, be cautious about food on a plate but jump up & down on a couch while trying to shove each other off.

I play with them, tell them I love them, hug, kiss, comfort them when they bust out crying, encourage them to get up when they fall, tell them they can do & be anything... in essence I've been working on becoming the mother I've always wanted... there's so much with my mother that I've forgiven & let go just so I can be a happy adult. But when I look at my kids I still can't understand how my mother didn't show love & affection towards her own kids. She's the kind of person who's always angry at something. And if she isn't mad she's complaining. She could be physically & emotionally brutal with us growing up & even though she's mellowed over the years (& even admitted a long time ago that she did treat us bad) she hasn't really let go of her anger. When they were born she'd be up & down mood-wise & criticism-wise but with the years she's only getting worse.

Now that I have kids she's found another way to be unforgiving. I'm a working single mother of two active toddlers so I can't always talk. So if she tries to FaceTime Saturday 8:00 a.m. morning--which I've told her countless times that that time of day's busy with me making breakfast, trying to clean, etc.--she still expects me to pick up. Last week she wanted to FaceTime but I picked up & said that the kids were asleep & I was even trying to catch a nap. Later in the day I tried to FaceTime her but she didn't pick up. So I FaceTimed my dad thinking they were together & my kids got a chance to talk to him. A few minutes after we hung up my mother called from her landline. She was yelling at me because my father walked in the door & mentioned that he just "saw" the kids -- but she called earlier & why didn't I call her back so she could FaceTime. I said that I called her first three times but when she didn't answer I called him... then she said that I most certainly did not, she didn't hear the phone so I didn't call. I said, of course I did, why would I lie? If I told you I called then I did, why are you yelling? She kept it up some more until my head throbbed. I said just look at your phone... I'll call you back so you can see the kids. I'm in my forties & she's still yelling at me like I'm some worthless little kid who's slighted & disrespected the hell out of her. It's a lot.

Phone calls have become her new weapon. She blames me for keeping her from the kids if I can't talk when she calls. If she calls & I pick up & tell her we're running errands, but we chit chat a little before we hang up, she still expects me to call her back & FaceTime when I get home. If I don't call back she calls the next day hostile at me because I didn't call back. I tell her, you wanted me to call you back? Didn't we speak earlier? I'm so tired when I get home & still have so much to do, why are you angry because I didn't know that I'm supposed to call you bak? And if you wanted to see them why didn't you call back or ask me earlier to call you back when I got home? That's what I would've done if I were you... so you're sitting around mad at home waiting for me to call assuming I naturally would when I'm not even thinking about it?

When I get home I'm trying to survive until the kids' bedtime because I'm EXHAUSTED so truthfully I'm not thinking about calling her & I've explained this so many times. I told her that I can't think about my kids who are naturally my priority, and then think about her. I just can't do it. She takes this personally & gets so sensitive that there's no win for me at all. Some months ago she sent me texts telling me about how ungrateful I am. She doesn't even text me often but she was so mad she got to typing. As soon as I read them I started to cry & immediately deleted them all because I didn't want that mess on my phone. I didn't text back either. I called & said that I don't know who she wants me to be but I can't be everything to everybody. She eventually apologized, which was rare, because she actually did seem to understand how my own exhaustion with parenting AND work might not allow me the energy to think about her in the way she wants me to. But she got the attention out of me that she wanted. And that moment of peace didn't last because she continues to keep this up.

She's emotionally needy AND emotionally unavailable. How this could be I'll never know. She's perpetually angry, holds grudges, and has narcissistic tendencies that will never change. I'd think that my many responsibilities would be the source of my stress & anxiety but it's my own mother. She's 71 & is showing no signs of improving. I'm the only one of her three kids that maintain regular contact with her & I've become the easiest target.

I've been wishing so hard that she had activities or a social life now that she's retired living out of state. I was actually happy she moved thinking that the distance might improve our relationship. But she stays home most of the day & only leaves to go to the store. And I know that if she busied herself & made a life that's active she wouldn't put so much weight on me & need so much contact from me. Her clingy toxicity is a complete drain. I love talking to my dad because he's funny & has a great social life. We might talk once or twice a week but it's always good vibe-y & with no put downs or negativity. He's so miserable it's beyond expression; I even asked her once why it seems that she hates him with the way she yells & belittles him. She actually seemed taken aback at my use of the word "hate" & tried to change the subject but surprisingly she wasn't offended... because for all her issues at that moment she might've been able to see how objectively it would seem that way. (And she's been like this with him for years; we've been begging them to divorce for over 30 years.) He sees me as an adult & says that I'm doing a good job with the kids... my mother will NEVER see me this way.

I can't see myself treating my kids this way. It's a lot of work to not internalize & not feel guilt but that's the whole mess of this thing. There shouldn't be a feeling of dread every time my mother calls. Or every time I think about her. To be gone from this blog so long & come back with this is a shame but this is real. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow because I need an intervention. My mother's not able to respect me as an adult & as a parent of my boys. It will never happen so I have to work on boundaries & find mental health options for my own peace of mind.

Aahhhhh... feels great to have these feelings out of my head.

Other than this, everything's great!!!!! Great to be back, hope to be a bit more regular after all this time :) :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Story Time's Not a Good Fit

I'm still in a little bit of shock. If we had stayed at library story time for one more second, I'm convinced we would've been asked to leave & never come back. We actually left before it ended. Another Meetup fail. Another great storyteller who was friendly, engaging, clearly loves to be around small children. And what did these fellas do as soon as they hit the story time room??

Opened cabinets. Opened closets. Opened baby bags. Climbed up & through whiteboard easels. Pulled out little people chairs & attempted to stand in them. Tried to leave the room by themselves. Each at different times the entire time we were there. Forget about the room not being childproofed... the only children doing all these things were mine!! Aside from the storyteller the only other adult voice you could hear was mine: "No," "Don't do it," "Nope, nope, stop," "Baby, say excuse me," "No, darling, don't put that in your mouth,""Come to mommy," "Why, what are you doing??"

I absolutely have no idea how many times I must've pulled one boy here, stopped one boy there, moving in every conceivable direction. And all this happened in about 15 minutes. 

The marvelous thing about it too is that I could actually see their toddler brains thinking of all the fun things they could do in this brand new, big, bright space. It was a mix of mischief & pure, unadulterated delight. They were on automatic but also thoughtful & deliberate. I can't explain it, but I must say that with each day these little humans are both growing up & are becoming more savage... what the hell am I gonna do??!!

I imagined they'd love the interaction with the puppets & the songs, all the other kids. And fortunately these little boys are two of the most social people I know. They genuinely like other people & even climbed into & out of a few adult laps. Granted, I can only get through a page or two when we read at home only to have one or both rip the book out of my hands to eat it or climb up on their toddler table to baby dance.

But it's official, took today for me to actually see the reality: They're rambunctiously wild little boys who will climb, shriek, stomp, spin, push, pull, maniacally laugh, sprint, stumble, slide & throw... & it's truly only the beginning, they're not even 2 yet... 

I hoped for us to enjoy a nice (free) library story time circuit that would fill our mornings & then we'd head off to the park, beach or playdate in the afternoon. I gotta recalibrate & fast.

Sweet Jesus, I need to find a kiddie sports Meetup or run wild Meetup for 17 month olds. Or start one myself... 

Good People Alert: When we prematurely exited story time we stayed at the library because there were some nice kiddie features (like a spinning wheel maze on a wall). There were also desktop computers, & a woman was sitting there with her almost 2 year old in another chair. One of my boys was so drawn to the computer that he just walked up to the lady & tried to climb up her body to get into the chair. She kindly picked him up & let him sit in her lap while she & her daughter were enjoying a counting game. Really nice woman & her daughter was sweet as candy.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Meetup FAIL; Home Training

I can only imagine how we must have looked: Went to a story time Meetup at our small library branch, & these little boys were grabbing DVDs off shelves, climbing into chairs AND jumping up & down on them, going into other people's bags & taking stuff out; wanting to use the computer that had some kind of ABC Mouse software going crazy -- all at different times in different directions, each of them, within an hour's time. They had a ball!! Even with the madness I get a tickle out of watching them have fun. They're napping now but I can't even take a doze because I had a macchiato with an extra shot.

The storyteller was magnificent, so engaging & I enjoyed her myself. And for the 20 seconds I could keep the boys engaged they were completely into her. But from now on I'm gonna have to scope spaces out to make sure there's enough room & not too many distractions. This library was simply too small & there were way too many kids to even allow the twins room to be distracted. Heading to another library next week with a story time kiddie space that's two times larger, no computers in sight & a large play area for the kids who'd rather play & be themselves.

Many of the moms & nannies were really nice, but there were more than a couple who had a bizarre sense of entitlement. I managed for a moment to hold both boys in my arms while the storyteller's doing her thing. This random mom holding what I'm assuming was a 7-month old walks over with a chair & expects me to move so she can sit down & take the view I already had. While she's saying "excuse me" she doesn't even stop to see if I'll move. Her bizarre privilege obviously superseded mine, & her baby's view was clearly more important to my boys' view. And I wouldn't have moved but I was so taken aback I automatically did.

This wasn't the first time where some snotty woman decides to bogart, & it's usually always a woman too -- cutting in front of me when I'm heading to the door with my heavy craigslist double stroller without even holding it open for me; taking something off a store shelf when I'm about to pick it up; when I open the store fridge door to get a gallon of milk somehow an arm reaches out in front of me to grab a milk without so much as a "thank you" or "excuse me".  No damn home training. What's wrong with people??

I cannot stand rude people. I cannot stand rude people who are rude in front of their own kids who'll likely grow up to be rude themselves. I find my yoga & just let it go because I'm not trying to be a bad example of allowing other people's rudeness to get to me & embarrass myself & my own toddler tribe.  I might say a chilly "you're welcome" but that's the extent of it. Because what I really wanna say is "you b*tch".

Even with the twin madness we were nonstop with the excuse me'sthank you's, & I'm sorry's. These boys of mine whirl about like mini-human tornadoes but I'll be damned if they don't demonstrate good manners every time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Meetup

In an effort to have a full summer I found a few Meetups & had my first one today... it was really nice to meet other moms who essentially wanna get out of the house to socialize. Just met to get a coffee & go on a walk, & it was great. We ended up at the library & let the kids stretch their little baby legs out. The twins really enjoyed their young company, & the other moms were nice & friendly. Gonna go to another one tomorrow, library story time for ages 0-2 with the same Meetup.

The boys are napping & when they get up we're gonna go to the police department to get our new convertible car seats installed (they finally outgrew their Chiccos!! I installed them but these new ones are a monster, don't even wanna figure it out so why try). Then we're gonna hit the park to munch on mulch and sand before calling it a day -- another full day & it was really nice to begin it with nice company.

But I hope to finish the Italy-Uruguay match before we leave... loving the World Cup!! Can't believe I caught futbol fever -- Go USA!!

** UPDATE **
The boys love their car seats but the nylon upholstery looks like it could get a little hot; gotta put a towel under their baby behinds. Old car seats had so many big 'ol crumbs it looked like he was feeding the birds when he took the seats out & shook them clean before handing them to me... And the officer was sooooooooooooo incredibly nice -- & the stories he was sharing about parents getting second-hand carseats, learning from him that they were recalled for one thing or another, and STILL expecting him to install them... what's wrong with people??

Monday, June 23, 2014

Butt-Taps for Two

Why these boys laugh when I tell them no while they're up to dangerous shenanigans almost makes me laugh every time. And it's usually only when they're doing something dangerous, like jumping up and down on the couch or recliner. I had to tap both their butts tonight because every time I told them to stop they would just stare at me to see if I was serious. When I'd pull one off the chair the other would climb up & pretend to start jumping; when I would go after him chair he'd fall back in the chair & laugh as if to say "ain't nobody jumping here, nothing to see, lady." They clearly were treating it as a game & I just couldn't keep up. Finally, one of them jumps into the chair just when I'm pulling the other one off. As I go to get him he practically falls back & could've landed on the hardwoods -- & then has the nerve to start laughing. He got three good swats on the butt. A look of surprise was followed by a wail. The guilt was overwhelming but I had to keep it together. Big hugs, "I love you's" & warnings about the chair... he didn't jump in that chair for the rest of the night. The other one couldn't quite make sense of all this & about 10 minutes later, with the chair all to himself, he gets to jumping like a madman. Three swats later & the same script as his brother was all it took. Neither boy visited the recliner for the rest of the night. They rediscovered their toddler cars & had a ball.

Earlier we went to the store & I placed them both in a cart, like inside the large basket. They kept wanting to stand up because they were acting as though we were at home in the laundry hamper & playing "choo choo" -- I push them around the house as if they're on a train & whistle "choo choo". I kept having to sit them down & tried to distract them by talking about the items on the shelves. If it weren't so cute I would've easily forgotten how dangerous it was. But I saw the experience through their eyes -- first shopping trip in a cart, only other similar experience allowed them to stand -- so I kept it up & thanked God they didn't tip the cart when we left. Putting them back in the car was the biggest relief. Certainly not a butt-tapping event & they'll eventually learn how to ride the cart. But the jumping up & down in the chair was blatant testing. Argh.

I've spoken to friends & co-workers for as long as I can remember & all agree that only when there's danger have they had to initiate physical discipline. I grew up getting my *ss tore up & as I have my own complicated opinions on that, & the times I deserved it (blatant disobedience or for the one & only time I bullied someone younger than me) I harbor no ill will. But I'm gonna have to recalibrate -- no more multiple no's & focus much more on redirection, which is truly tough when it's just me & there's another toddler ramped or ramping up while the other's getting his focus readjusted. And I'm not a yeller, & fortunately they do mind me most other times when I say "no." But I look at some resources on what to do when they're tiptoe-ing with causing harm to themselves or others. They're not even 2 yet so the lack of impulse control is going to taken a life of its own. Everyone's got their opinions on the discipline controversy & especially on the very young. But I'm not enjoying the feeling of guilt & I most certainly don't want to make bootie tapping a habit (if I don't have to).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

T.I.R.E.D... but Feeling Fantastic

Twin toddler boys ain't no joke!! They keep me running with their constant climbing on couches & chairs, going from manic LOLs & wails of epic proportions, finicky eating (one boy) & nonstop scarfing (other boy), & having shoes dropped in my lap because they want to go outside -- I move from minute to minute with the hopes of hanging on until the next hour... I'm completely exhausted, so overwhelmed with housework to the point that since I don't know where to start I don't do anything... and I am absolutely in love with these baby maniacs. It just takes an out-of-the-blue laugh, a baby-voiced "noooooooooo" to just about everything, that reminds me of the goodness of God to have blessed me with these two beautiful creatures.

And since we had a winter that I could swear was a second Ice Age I'm making a conscious effort to get outside to play every day. Don't care if it's to the park or the backyard, no less than 30 minutes of constant play. Housework may suffer & other efforts fall behind, but these kids need to know the sun.

So with that: I put them to bed 10 minutes early because I needed to. I gotta get back to journaling because it'll help me stay present (crossed fingers) -- my darlings are 17 months already & I'm here to tell you, I can't believe how time has flown. So in an effort to not let these days pass in a blur I need to make time to write.  I'm beat, but I feel fantastic. Off to bed. At 9:00 CST. What a life!! (yes, it is)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

One of the twins is rolling!! Dude's on his stomach in his crib one minute, then on his back the next -- he's got the crib roll down, & when I go in to pick him up it takes him a few seconds to find my eyes, then the sweetest smile. The other one's too busy laughing to himself in his crib, but he was the first to master the airplane pose. Now they both do it!! When they're in the pose they're grunting, working hard at strengthening their baby abs.

They're also sitting up!! One has more of a forward lean than the other but with each day they can sit up for longer stretches of time. Today they're up to 3 minutes each. And don't let something have their attention while they're working out -- one sticks out his tongue, the other his bottom lip, both eyes fixed with intensity on whatever toy or teething object's within reach.

And they love sweet potatoes!! They still only get mostly breast milk, but I'm working on incorporating some baby food. They've only had some spoonfuls over the last few weeks. The biggest hurdle was getting them used to eating from a spoon with rice cereal. The pediatrician said not to put cereal in their bottles but feed from a spoon instead, but they kept pushing the spoon out of their mouths with their tiny tongues.

So little by little they've been eating from a spoon. Most of the baby food winds up on their faces or their bib, how adorable. But what's hilarious is when they each grab my hand that's holding the spoon & bring it to their mouths. It's awesome to see them enjoy food & want more. So far they like the taste of bananas as well as sweet potatoes. They'll tolerate prunes & can't stand peas. (The peas do taste nasty.)

These brothers are wearing me out!! We spend a lot of time on the floor between naps -- going back & forth between them to ensure I give them equal sit up practice, for example, is more than a notion. It's a constant juggle floor-working with them both that sometimes I have to rest my eyes for at least 10 seconds before moving on to the next activity.

Exersaucer til bored & cranky- floor for sitting, airplane/tummy work, rolling, chilling til bored & cranky - back to activity center til cranky & tired - nap. And the cycle continues. And I am SO GLAD when it's nap time!! Thank you, Jesus!! Then I start to miss them & can't wait for them to wake up. It's madness.

I think I'm training them when, in fact, they're training me. And I'm loving it.

And did I mention that my hair's been falling out? What the hell --

Hairline's looking sparse, scalp's way too visible. Didn't hear about that post-partum action... & my joints are all creaky as they readjust, who knew? I also have mommy thumb on both hands, ain't never even heard about that until I googled 'thumb pain' & the auto fill added 'mommy thumb'. Ain't that a blip --