Monday, October 24, 2011

Separation Anxiety

No, not my kids...me.

And I never thought it would happen.  I've always been OK with separation.  That's not to say it wasn't hard at times, but I didn't fall apart like some moms I've known.  I've found it does get easier each time, and with each child.

Little T went to kindergarten this year.  He's so ready and excited to learn.  But, he's been having some trouble wanting to go each day "because I miss you too much."  He's a momma's boy.  And I secretly love that.

I found that when he climbed aboard the bus that first day, I was nervous and anxious, but ready.  See more on that here.  Sad, and happy.  A little boohoo and a little woohoo.

And I've been fine, even though each morning, I get the same line about how he misses me all day.  At this point, I realize it's just a stall tactic.  Or so I thought.

Today, I volunteered in his class.  It's always amazing to see your children in their classrooms, following instructions, working and chatting with other children.  It's then that it really hits you just HOW grown up they are.  When it was time to leave, he hugged me and asked if I could stay all day.  "No, honey, Ms. S doesn't need me here anymore" (probably because after I was there the room was a DISASTER, I think she was ready for me to just leave -- the experience of which confirms to me that I most definitely am NOT cut out to be a teacher).

"Can't you just stay for a little bit?"
"No, mommy has to go, but I'll see you after school, ok?  How about one day next week I come and have lunch with you?"
"OK" in a tiny voice, head hung in disappointment.

And suddenly, all that "readiness" and "strength" on my part dissolved into an enormous puddle of goo.  I left reluctantly and am now experiencing what I can only describe as separation anxiety.  It literally took all I had not to grab his hand and excuse him from school for the rest of the day so we could hang out.  I miss the little guy.  REALLY, really miss him all of a sudden.  Plus he fell on the bus and scraped up his eye and his head.  I can't even soothe his booboos.  Which, as any mom will tell you, is a killer.

4:00 can't come soon enough today.  Actually, 4:00 is eagerly awaited every day.  It seems that with my increased free time comes increased loneliness.  By 3:00 or so, I can FEEL how much I miss the kids and am ready for the bus.  Today, T needs some mommy time.  So that's what he's going to get.

Or is it the other way around?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Strike a Pose

Not long ago, I was snapping some random shots of the kids.  I was taking some pictures of Meems, and told her to pose like a supermodel.

This is what she came up with.
Clearly, she's a natural.

Friday, October 14, 2011

When is it Time?

And how do you know?

In addition to my three human babies, we have a yellow lab.  Our first child, really, as we got him as a baby and have loved him ever since.  Like any child, there have been trials and tribulations.  If you've ever seen Marley and Me, then you get an idea of what Churchill was like.  He's been a great family dog, although he had a lot of trouble adjusting to the humans when they started coming home from the hospital.  After some medication, lots of love, and a basic resignation to the fact that those squirmy little things were here to stay, he settled in to his role as family dog.

He's 13 now, and he's gotten very old in the last year.  You might even say the last 6 months.  He has trouble walking (arthritis and some hip dysplasia -- all too common with labs but remarkably late onset for a dog his size), sleeps most of the day and has gas.  Lots and lots of gas.  Lately, though, he's also been having accidents.  And sometimes his legs will give out and he has to drag himself around the yard.  We recently learned that was due to nerve damage in his hip.  A couple months ago, he started having little accidents just trying to stand up.  His back legs were working so hard to stand that he was losing control of other faculties.  And now, this week, he's had an accident in the house every day, sometimes twice, even after he's been outside (if he goes outside at all).  The vet gave him meds to help with the arthritis, but a side effect is diarrhea (one of the issues we're trying to combat) and they upset his stomach.  He spent last night in the garage for fear of another accident after an unpleasant episode that affected the family room, dining room, kitchen and hallway of our house last night, right after he'd been outside.  And hours after a similar incident that morning.  This morning, he refuses to come inside.  He's spent the better part of the last week hiding behind the bed in the guest room, shaking because he thinks he's in trouble, or because he doesn't understand and he's scared...I don't know which.  Maybe both.  He's not in trouble.  Although our carpeting and rugs are taking a hit, you can't be angry with him -- he's too pathetic.

What do you do?  When do you know it's time to move on and how do you know?  I can't imagine our lives without him.  But as his mother I see he's miserable, and scared and in pain.  And I can't do anything to help.  In our selfishness of not wanting to say goodbye, are we being cruel?  If we decide it's that time, are we giving up too easily?  I've been crying all morning, careful to wear sunglasses so Meems couldn't see me on the way to her tutor and school.  She is now saying she wants to cancel a much anticipated mother/daughter outing to the American Girl store tomorrow because she's worried about him.  She's afraid he'll have an accident.  She's so intuitive to emotion and suffering...does she sense something?

The weekend awaits.  I am hopeful that our lack of schedule will give us time to love him and the clarity to know what to do.  I pray that life will get better for him with his meds, and I pray for the strength we'll need to decide what to do if it doesn't.  And, in the meantime, we will love on him and cherish what we have.  Because who knows how much longer we'll have it.      

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stealth

Not long ago, I had to run by work to pick up my laptop.  It was a day off for the kids, so they were with me.  We pulled into the lot, and I parked the car with strict instructions NOT to get out of the car, that I would be right back, and DON’T MOVE A MUSCLE.  Mommy is expecting you to behave for 5 minutes while she sneaks in (in her holey jeans and messy hair – a workplace no-no) to get this one little thing.  

Of course, my coworker is there, so I'm kinda busted, but she doesn't really care and I close the door so no one else can see the hot mess that is me today.  As I download the necessary files, a car alarm goes off.  My car alarm.  The car is locked, so they are stuck inside and somehow have managed to set off the alarm, but cannot get out.  They are screaming and jumping around in the car, banging on the windows because they are trapped (it never occurs to them they can unlock the car) while the horn blares and the car is rocking back and forth and people are staring.  I am looking, in horror, out the window, too frozen with "whattheheck" to move.  I can hear them from INSIDE the building.  And THEY are INSIDE the car!  I run outside and start pushing buttons on the key fob – one of which is the unlock button – and they pour out of the car screaming at each other and at me, trying to blame the nonsense on one another and then on me.  Somehow it is my fault they set the alarm off because I left them in the car.  Little Meems is so upset she literally starts to melt down in the parking lot, head thrown back sobbing uncontrollably while she screams that it’s not her fault and W did THIS and T did THAT and then the horn went OFF and we were TRAPPED and WHERE WERE YOU and we were so SCARED we thought you were never coming BACK. 

I was gone for 30 seconds.  They were right outside my office window.  I had waved to them from that window, to show them right where I was and to indicate it would only be a minute.  

This kind of madness is precisely why I left them in the car. 

She was doing the ugly cry.  And now the maintenance staff has come outside to see what’s going on and what old lady hapless person is in need of assistance.  Then the general manager comes running outside and...well, he's my boss.  Jeans and holes and messy hair are extremely frowned upon here, as are screaming children and noisy scenes in general.  

I am busted.  And everyone’s still freaking out.  Now T has lost it, blubbering something unintelligible, and W is still trying to maintain his innocence by simultaneously crying and shouting  that he didn't do anything and that Meems is the meanest sister in the world, and I STILL cannot figure out how to turn the darned thing off.  I am doing that quiet yell thing...you know when you're quietly speaking to your children but you're doing it with your teeth clenched and your neck veins popping out?  

I finally turn off the car.  Meems runs over and drapes herself over my legs.  W and T just have stunned looks on their faces.  The crowd of people now in the parking lot pick their jaws up off the ground and whisper to each other, shaking their heads as they head off.  I am left standing there, panting as though I had run a marathon.  I have a cramp in my side.  Sweat is streaming down my face and I can feel the steam coming off my head.  My coworker starts giggling and my boss just looks at me for a long time and starts laughing.  He tells me he just loves my kids and heads back inside, hooting hysterically.  

I peel Meems off my legs, hug the boys and load everyone back into the car, leaving without my laptop.  Must. escape. with. remaining. dignity. intact.  

Considering it's in low supply, I'm going to need all I can get.  Welcome to motherhood! 










Monday, October 10, 2011

Supposed to Be

I was supposed to exercise this morning, but I remembered that my boss needs to pick up some papers at my house and he just said "early" so I'm here waiting for him instead.  Because as soon as I get a mile from my house, he will call and say he is on my doorstep.  That is how my life works.

I was supposed to throw those pajama pants out because they have a big hole in the seat, but I decided, after this blog entry, to throw caution to the wind and wear them into my yard just to take the dog outside.  Of course I saw my neighbor, who immediately commented on my pants.

I was supposed to do laundry yesterday and get some things done while I worked from home (ah, the beauty of working from home) and all I did was work.

I am supposed to have a document ready for a client in a little while, but I'm writing this instead.  And thinking about exercise and the laundry.

I am supposed to wake Little Meems up to get her ready for her math tutor, but she looks so cute and sweet and she was up late worrying and stressing about her new earrings to the point of insomnia.

I was supposed to wait until she was older to let her get those earrings, but she's had a really difficult year and has worked hard and been so brave and she never asks for anything other than gum, so I knew this would thrill her.

Apparently, I am supposed to make my son breakfast right now, seeing as how he just woke up and IS STARVING, but I showed him how to toast his own Pop Tarts instead.  He'll thank me for that one day.  So will his wife.

I am supposed to, as a wife, be organized and the house should be clean and the floors mopped and there should be creative meals every night, but I'm not organized and the house is clean, but the floors need to be mopped and I balance my creative meals with things like breakfast night and corn dogs.  Besides, kids don't like food to be too creative.

I am supposed to write every little thing down in their baby books to save my  memories.  Only I can't seem to remember where the baby books are.  So I do this instead.

I'm supposed to be doing "mom" things today, like laundry and dusting and scrubbing toilets.  But I'm going to go snuggle with my babies and watch Good Luck Charlie instead.

Because that IS a "mom" thing.

Turns out, I AM doing something I'm supposed to do.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Consequences, Part 2

While we're on the topic of consequences...

Sometimes you learn the hard way on your own.  No punishment necessary.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You

This hurts me more than it hurts you.

How many times did I hear this growing up?  How many times did I think “yeah, right?” 

And now, one of the “things I will never say to my children” is a well-worn standard.

Along with that other “things I will never say to my children” standard, “because I said so.”  But that’s another entry for another day.

Consequences are tough.  Especially when you have a repeat offender.  Especially when you thought you’d put the offending behavior behind you, because you thought a lesson had been learned.  And perspective and maturity had been gained.  

In this case, the offense is netting the child a week without friends, video games, TV, or anything other than already scheduled activities.  This includes sacrificing a much-anticipated birthday party this weekend.

Ouch.  That hurt just writing it.  But, there comes a time when you have to make it hurt, in order to nip it in the bud, to coin one of my mother’s famous expressions.  Still, the tears…it’s those tears that come from a place of true sadness and shame, tears from deep within that you can’t control no matter how much you try to be stoic and so grown up…those are the ones that get me.  And those are the ones I’m anticipating.

And that’s why, as a parent, you know that it does hurt you more than it hurts them.  WAY more.  Because they may be feeling hurt, but you’re feeling their hurt tenfold.  Because their broken heart is your shattered one.  Because their wounded ego is your crushed spirit.  Because you are connected to them in mysterious ways you never anticipated.  You'd sacrifice yourself to pain ten times over if it meant they never had to feel it.  

But, the pain is part of the process.  And while it's one of the hardest things we, as parents, have to endure, it's also the best gift we can give...the understanding that actions have consequences.  

No matter how much it hurts.