One of the hardest parts of motherhood for me is how out of control I feel in terms of... everything. Discipline, sleep, schedules, food, drink, sicknesses, health, personality differences, you name it, I am absolutely out of control of it all.
It's easy to say that and to know it deep down in my core, but what really stinks is when seasons of life come around like this one where every outward circumstance is confirming this truth, like, all up in my face.
I used to have a really sweet, quiet, compliant baby, her name was Lucy Josephine.
I loved her a lot and cherished every moment of her good nature and even better sleep. I am not quite sure what happened to her but from what I can surmise, another, equally as cute, but not nearly as equally sweet and happy baby has come and taken her place. Her name is also Lucy Josephine- oddly enough- and I love her just as much as the sweet Lucy, which is also crazy. New Lucy has a level of sass and pitch to her scream which can quickly drive her mother to hysterics, much like her 2 older sisters.
Then there is Bernadette. Oh sweet, border-line insane Bernadette.
Don't get me wrong, she is sweet and smart and creative and lovely, but it just doesn't stop there. She spends most of her days in a character that is anything but Bernadette Martha Hahn, my second born. Mostly she goes but the names: Lina, Nora, Tina, Pina, (what's with all the "Inas?) or Sweet Petunia, but if you refer to her as "Bernadette" she will not have it. And particularly if you are referring to her in her given name to correct her for anything or say the word which she will not tolerate being uttered in her presence, I will go ahead and risk typing it hopeful that she will not sense that it is being used: "No". If you do decide to risk it and tell her that whatever it is she wants to do at present is not acceptable, like, I don't know- step on her little sister, yank toys away from her little sister, smear sour cream all over the kitchen, etc.. or if you ask her to do something that simply does not please her you must be prepared for an explosion whose magnitude rivals that of the largest, craziest fireworks display you've ever experienced. It's like the finale at the end of the display that you are positive will never come to an end and by the time it does your head feels like it is going to explode, except her tantrums are much less pretty and exciting, they are just plain crazy.
I think Mike has discovered ONE and only ONE way of talking her down from her crazy tantrum cliff and that is total distraction and diverting her attention from whatever was pissing her off. Usually he'll just ask her some random stupid question like: "Who is my mother, Nana or Grammy?" and act like he's totally clueless about the answer and then she has to work hard to convince him who it is. It has worked a few times to get her to stop screaming, kicking writhing, wailing or whatever other unholy bodily expressions she's decided to employ for that given tantrum, and so I'll keep trying it. Every single one of her tantrums leaves me feeling completely drained and like I need a drink.
Naomi is giving me some hope for the future because A) she is worlds more rational than the other two and her tantrums have decreased in daily number and intensity 2) she can be told to do something and understand the request and respond, even though her responses are often less than ideal, C) she is potty trained, and no matter how much crap (pun oh so very intended) she put us through for many many months, she now goes all by herself all the time and there are no accidents, 4) she finally sleeps ok without popping up in our faces in the middle of the night, or coming out of her room upwards of 20 times a night after we lay her down.
I am sure the list will get longer for Naomi and before long we'll be looking at Bernadette in the same light, using her as an example of future hope for our other, semi-psychotic littler ones, but this is not intended to be a super hopeful post, so I won't go on in this vein.
To top all the chaos off, I have decided as of today to cut out naps out for both older girls in order to get them to sleep at a reasonable hour at night and in order to have them not drive me completely insane with their hijinks at bed time. They are both still being forced to stay in a room and look quietly at books, but let's be honest, I have had to go in 12 too many times already because of attempts to escape, requests for more books and it is just nothing like my beloved nap time.
And so to the tune of the monitor listening to my lone napping child, I mourn the loss of my day-time respite and pray for some extra grace to deal with the insanity and chaos that is life with 3 kids, 4 and under.