Monday, March 27, 2017

the young and the restless

The girls and I have been reading a little biography of the life of Saint Thomas More and I have basically fallen in love with him as a saint-friend. Last weekend we watched A Man for All Seasons with the older 2 and between that and the book we are reading, when Mike let me know that the Saint John Paul II National Shrine currently has a huge exhibit with multiple relics of the Saint, I was fairly dead set on going. So this Sunday our little family ventured into the city to pretend that we are adventurous.

The thing is we never, ever do adventurous things as a family and the reason is....


The boy is crazy. Crazy cute, crazy hilarious, and just plain crazy. I was a tad nervous about is little pilgrimage with him but I hoped that the grace of God would compensate for what I lack in dealing with his shenanigans, and maybe it did but holy moly it was HARD. He was fine on the drive there, he was fine for roughly the first 4 minutes within the Saint Thomas More exhibit, but once we got about 1/4 of the way in he just sprinted off, all the way to the entrance door and would have made a total break for it if only some unsuspecting stranger had opened the giant door for him.

I sent Mike to catch him since I was holding Fred B in the carrier and from that point in it was basically one reeeeeeeeally long tantrum/effort to get down and run/angry winning at being held/freaking out about being strapped into the stoller.
 Not the real ax and chopping block, but a replica of the one with which he was beheaded.

I am not asking for advice on how to take him places, though I'm sure I could use some on how to be more virtuous and patient with him-- I KNOW I could. I have absolutely come to the conclusion that we simply should not take him places that aren't completely fenced in right now and where he can't yell-talk about everything he sees. That is the solution. We almost never split up Masses on the weekends, but he is necessitating such extremes because he be cray.

I found myself getting really bitter about it and upset last night because I felt like "I should be beyond this now!" When, oh when, will I be at the point of mothering where my older ones can really help out and when the entirety of the car ride there and back is not full to the brim with a screaming baby and a screaming toddler?! (it totally was)

The answer is when my older kids are actually older. Naomi is 8, not 18 and that's just the reality of it right now. I cannot jump ahead 10 years into parenting and be at some magical easier place just by dreaming hard enough about it. In many ways I'm still in the trenches-- ok, in most ways I am.

For right now I need to relish the new and lovely parts of having some who are old enough to enjoy new things with me. It was so wonderful and lovely to read about the life of this Saint with my 6 and 8 year old and be amazed together at his life and death, and then stand in awe with them as we reverenced his relics. This is new and this is good, despite the fact that I'm still in the baby-toddler trenches with the younger ones.

Each new phase does not have to be perfect and easy breezie to be very good and to have really awesome new elements. For example, Naomi can hold Fred on her hip for little spurts, but only for about 30 seconds before she gets too tired (he's a chunker), but just because she can't hold him for 30 minutes doesn't mean those 30 seconds weren't blissful.

This is where we are right now and it is good, and it although it was insanely crazy taking the 2-year-old a' pilgrimage-ing, it is so good that we went.


  1. Great reminder. I have a 2 year old and a 3 month old. Sometimes I wonder why we can't do things like go to a restaurant or any event after 6:00pm, etc, but I am realizing it comes with the territory and that this is just our season right now!! :)

  2. So I'm not going to tell you how to take him places - but just give you some hope! Two year old boys are just plain crazy. Three year old boys are not much better. But something magical happens when they hit 4, and you start to see the light. And I raised the craziest boy of all - he was going to be the death of me. But now he's 18 and about to head off to college and he is the joy and laughter in our family. He still a bit crazy, but in a really good and wonderful way. He's the "fun" brother, and the brother who plays with his siblings, and the kid who has never met a baby or toddler he didn't love, and who didn't love him back. He's a natural leader, and couldn't care less about peer pressure. So hang in there!!

  3. We were at the JP II Shrine a few weeks ago and Peter totally hollered all the way through the JP part and ran through the St. Thomas More part. 2yo boys be crazy.

  4. I don't think you need any advice because you've already got such a mature attitude about it. Love you, and you know I'm still right there with you!

  5. Ohhhh, YES. We had to zip through the exhibit too b/c our girls were on the cusp of breaking out into a game of tag. Most of the time I feel like it's never NOT a circus when we go anywhere! I know it's good we that go places and that at least the older ones are getting something out of it...but, man, we are still wholly entrenched in the trenches.
    One of my friends is expecting her 6th and I remember when her kids were the same ages as mine are now, so it's helping me to get a pseudo-visual of life on the way out of the trenches.

  6. My Danny sounds exactly like your Fred - it is nearly impossible to take him anywhere that isn't fenced in. It's nice to read that I'm not alone in dealing with a crazy pants two year old! Thanks for the reminder that even though this phase is HARD HOLY CRAP, it is still good.

  7. I know child psychologists would disagree with this, but sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do - have you tried bribery? Joseph, if you are really good in the museum (use your inside voice, sit in your stroller, etc. I guess you'd have to be specific), I'll give you a lollipop when we leave. But then again, he might make a beeline to the door so you can leave and he can get his lollipop. I used to do it when mine were little and it worked like a charm. Ha.

  8. I have been meaning to take my kids there, but we have a crazy toddler too. Honestly, we haven't done hardly any of the field trips I had hoped this year, because he is in a similar stage. Phil is content to stay home with the crazy kids and I enjoy taking the older kids on a hike or to a quick trip somewhere on a Saturday. But it means splitting up the family on a weekend, but sometimes it can be nice, especially for me to get out with the more rational children alone :) Hang in there!

  9. It will get better. Really. My twins (total terrors at age two-- constantly running away from me, and in opposite directions) are now 8 and I can take them places and they are so awesome. (Helpful, even with our new little one) Keep plugging away, working on listening and obeying and all that is parenting in the trenches. Your hard work will pay off.
    In the meantime, maybe daddy gets a little "boy time" with your guys while you and the girls go enjoy the sights.

  10. If it makes you feel better, my kids are almost 15 (boy), 13, 10, 7 (all girls), and then 3 (boy). We joke that our toddler defies everything we ever thought we knew about parenting. Our oldest was an exceptionally calm boy (way calmer than his sisters.) Michael, the toddler, is a breed of his own. We've never done separate Masses until after he turned two and we realized that whoever had him in the cry room basically felt like they hadn't been to Mass. Because of the age spread of our kids, and because we have willing grandmothers, we do leave him way more often than we ever left the others. I think it's important for our big kids to be able to enjoy fun things without his crazy, and it's good for him to not be fussed at for an entire outing (because that's what happens every single time.) I take heart from the moms who say age 4 is the magic number. He really is so sweet, so joyful, so loving, but OMG, is he INTENSE! He's wicked smart, but completely lacking in the self-control my older four had at this age. We do work hard at obedience and self-control, but the progress is slower than a snail's pace. All this to say, solidarity, sister!

  11. It's not Joe, it's just, BOYS:) Yikes!! They are a trip.

  12. St. Thomas More is my husband's confirmation saint! Love him!

    Oh, toddler boys. I have one, too, and he's a handful! But he is my youngest of 8, so I am to that phase where my oldest is 17 and I have lots of help. It's totally different and in some ways - the ones you're talking about - much easier. In other ways I find it harder, though, and I kind of wish someone had warned me about that. Older kids have complicated problems, and life just gets more complicated in general. So, all the stages have their blessings and challenges, for sure.

    Hang in there! :)

  13. Solidarity!! Now if someone with a strong willed and behaviorally intense 5 year old could give me a testimony about the great teenager they turned out to be, that would be great. Terrible fours/fives anyone?? 😂