Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Trenches

I've had my moments of wishing really hard that I could just be at that point in motherhood where I am out of the trenches, wishing that I am the mom who is giving the advice to all the younger moms and telling them that "it gets easier!"

Back when I had just had Bernadette and was adjusting to life with 2 under 2, I read an article that claimed that once you had a 5-year-old everything would be SO much easier because of how helpful they are and blah-di-blah-di-blah and it really stuck with me (obviously since I still remember it 4 years later). I had 3 reactions to it:
1) a deep, abiding and fiery hope that it would indeed get MUCH easier once Naomi turned 5
2) doubt at the fact that it would actually happen and
3) annoyance that I had to wait SO long before any of the children would do things to make it easier for me.

Maybe it's the fact that God has continued to bless us with more beautiful babies-- and I am not trying to steal any hope away from fellow young moms right now-- but I am going to go ahead and say that having your oldest be over 5-years-old does not magically make things easier and it does NOT take you out of the "trenches" of motherhood.

While I realize that this entire blog is one giant demonstration of motherhood in the trenches, I'm going to go ahead and highlight a few recent incidences that have solidified to me my place here and that I should really just sit back and make myself comfortable because it is likely going to be a while before I exit.

Exhibit A: The tale of the bloody mouth.

On Saturday, a day which I incidentally kind of hate because I always feel like it should be some sort of a family day or a break for me and am always super disappointed when Mike sticks to his regularly scheduled work program- he legitimately has to and cannot afford to be taking that day off with us- but nonetheless, me no-likey.

Anywho, on Saturday, I was trudging though the morning as usual, lunch came and went and I was a tad desperate for nap/rest time when I sat to have a little leisurely book read with Lucy and Joseph- and that's when the screaming started. Naomi (the 6 year old) came running out with blood running down her face and Bernadette trailed behind wearing as much guilt on her face as there was blood on Naomi's. It became clear fast that there was a spat and Bernadette yanked a blanket out of Naomi's mouth and with it came (or almost came) 2 of Naomi's bottom teeth. I say "almost" because they were hanging there causing a gag reflex to well up within me every time I looked at them.

I screamed for Mike and had him tend to Naomi and then immediately there was a knock on the door and 2 friendly members of our parish were standing and asking to come in for a parish survey. They were super gracious and were not too horrified at the screams and blood that accompanied their visit and as soon as they left Mike managed to finally extract the teeth and the bleeding eventually stopped. And I was ready for a cocktail at 1 p.m. The trenches.

Exhibit 2: The baby dancing in the poop

That same Saturday, as the day neared it's end and we came closer to dinner, I realized that the house was in total disarray and that Joseph hadn't pooped for many, many days. These might seem like 2 unrelated things, but on this day they were all-too related.

My babies often struggle with infant constipation, which is gross but not as gross as the number of suppositories I've had to administer to each respective kid to keep them comfortable especially when their stomachs transition to solid foods (foreshadowing- solid foods=even more disgusting poop). The last time I had given Joseph one before this past Saturday it still took him almost 24 hours to, um, respond to it. Ok, it took him a day to crap. So this time I decided to give it to him and let him be by himself in his exersaucer for a bit while I swept the utterly disgusting play room and kitchen floors. I gave the suppository and got to sweeping.

About 20 minutes later Naomi came upstairs and asked if she could keep him company and since I was just finishing up sweeping, I said "of course!". Immediately upon walking out to him she asked in a horrified voice what on earth I had put all over the exersaucer. I replied confusedly and she responded that it looked like I had smeared peanut butter all over the bottom of it. I poured a glass of wine before I walked out to see, because I knew it was going to be bad and it was so SO bad.

Apparently my diaper application skills are not as stellar as my suppository application skills and while the poop producer did work- swimmingly- the diaper was only half on so where else could it all go but down the leg and into a puddle in at the bottom of the exersaucer. I walked out to a grinning Joseph, bouncing around, dancing in his own poop. The only thing them kept me from crying was the effect of the huge gulp of wine I had taken before I walked out. The trenches.

Then there was the time last week that I found myself nearly standing on my head in the crib so as to continue to nurse Joseph while laying him down so that he wouldn't wake up. While I feel like there are more days in this season of life where I feel like "I've got this" motherhood thing, that is more the exception than the rule, the same as it was back when I just had 2 babies. The fact is that most days involve no less than 17 butt wipes, 45 tantrums, 13 brawls over legos, and the fact that I am- the majority of the time- conversing with small people who are actually in a different character than themselves and make little to no sense at all. I'm exaggerating a little but only a little.

The beautiful part is that, as opposed to the earlier days of motherhood when I was aching for life to just be easier, I like it here in the trenches now. At the end of the day I sit in the silence and kind of miss the chaos. I know that when it is all over and they are grown and gone I will long for the days of bloody mouths, screaming, fighting, and babies dancing in their own poo. In the end I am thrilled that the article I read was wrong, because I am not ready for it to be easy yet.


  1. Agreed. Some days, I'm soo ready for everyone to be eighteen, gone, and the house to be quiet. But when we finally get to that point, I know I'm going to be the neurotic mom who's up wondering how they're all doing out in the great, wide world by themselves. You can't win. That's why there's alcohol.

  2. Isn't that such a juxtaposition? There are many moments when I wish it were bedtime. When they are asleep, I wish they were with me. I am also thankful I like my current trench... most days ;).

  3. This is why you are my favorite blogger!! I think a reality show would be hilarious :)

  4. I laughed so hard I cried, and then I just kept on crying, because boy, have I had days like this. Poop and banged out teeth (well tooth singular actually) and all.
    It is the hardest job there is, being a home schooling momma. but it is the best job.
    Thank for you sharing.

  5. The story with the teeth and the surprise knock at the door was perfect. Definitely the trenches of parenthood! Yesterday I turned around in the van and saw that Kolbe had written his name in huge letters all across his seat. I don't know if it will come out and I was so frustrated and the only thing that kept me from losing it was the thought of how precious that little handwriting is and how before I know it, he will be out driving on his own...sob! Great post!!

  6. You are a much stronger and braver woman than I. The other day Weston had an hour and a half tantrum after his nap and I literally walked out of the house as soon as Sean walked in. I'm so good at offering it up...
    ok can you write a post on how you handle sibling fights? These two are at each other's throats over here, I need some pointers!
    I loved this real life glimpse Ana. I see too many "motherhood is perfect and spotless" Instagram photos. Makes me think I'm doing it wrong...:)

  7. While I eagerly anticipate the days I can practice for a gig for more information than 12 minutes at a time (Queen Baby does not like to be put down), I will miss these days when all we need to turn around a bad day is a trip to the construction site around the corner with Sir Toddler.

  8. Those exersaucers/jumperoos are AMAZING at getting babies to poop... We had a similar incident this week (minus the suppository...) and I can't decide if I'm glad it all ended up soaking into the crappy (literally) playroom rug, or if it would have been better for him to be dancing in it? Doesn't matter HOW well you diaper, that poop is going to come squirting out like a projectile with a baby in that position anyway!

  9. Oh my goodness! I was cracking up while at the same time crying for how tough these days really are haha. What a great attitude to really enjoy these moments while we are in them and not wish them away - such a great reminder and I needed it!!!

  10. Oh my goodness...suppositories. Shudder. I feel your pain. Our babies have the same problem. Double shudder for the resolution and double laughter to the image of a smiling Joseph jumping in his poop. I just love visiting your little corner of the makes the chaos of small children feel normal!

  11. Oh my goodness...suppositories. Shudder. I feel your pain. Our babies have the same problem. Double shudder for the resolution and double laughter to the image of a smiling Joseph jumping in his poop. I just love visiting your little corner of the makes the chaos of small children feel normal!

  12. I just want to tell you I love your blog :) thank you for this.
    ~also in the trenches

  13. I've had high hopes for the "age of reason" my 6 year old is so close to. Kendra promises 10 is nice... I wonder how long until my kids don't think I've escaped out the bathroom and leave me alone a blessed minute. But, yeah, I like em. And their 7 o'clock bedtime.

  14. I'm not sure who told you age 5 was the magic one, but I'm going to say 7 or 8! It does start to get a little easier then. If you encourage Naomi to be a "helper"! And the poop! I was laughing only because I have several similar stories - one involving a baby who hadn't pooped in days and decided the time was while I was standing in line for confession while on a retreat. I had to make a hasty exit to my room and it was not pretty.