Monday, July 22, 2013

I think the word you're looking for is "chaos"

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.

Also she is a terrible sleeper now and the cry-it-out that I thought maybe we had dodged with her will most certainly have to take place if the multiple night wakings do not diminish on their own, and they won't. I knew this day would come. I waited for it and now I am documenting that it is here so that if I am curious when our future children will turn on me, this is the time frame. I remember the same thing happening with Bernadette when she was a baby but I could never pin point when or how it took place. So, future self, this is when and how. Today I found her chewing on the cover of the screws on the bottom of the toilet bowl, and I held back vomiting right then and there in the bowl for the sake of showing control in some area of life.

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.


  1. I love this! What is it about the middle child? ? We have some similar issues over here!

  2. Leo was on a fearsome nap strike until this afternoon. I think he heard me talking to Ben about how much I needed to get done today and decided that I was in need of his help (he's a generous soul, that Leo Gregory).

  3. I just vomited in anticipation of the coming spring, a little.

    Why are second borns so psychotic? Competing with number 1? Napoleon complex? Big sibling used up all mommy's fatty acids and their little brains are worse for the wear?

    Then again, my eldest is cray to the zay also. This season of parenting is not just hard, it's awful. And it feels like it will never end. And that nobody else is living this excuse for a normal life and going days at a time without a shower, a decent chunk of alone time, a conversation with an actual flesh and blood human friend, etc.

    Sorry, sunshine and panda bears up in here. Soldier on, mama. And have a fab IPA tonight. I'm not against solo drinking in public now that I've become so oppressed by tiny extroverts.

  4. Agree!
    Am also looking at my oldest as I start potty training my second thinking 'ok this worked once I can make it work again'. Hope Lucy remembers soon why sleep is good.

  5. I totally feel for you! Sometimes I read something and think -- did I write that?! It happened with Jenny's comment in the third paragraph, too. :)

    But they are so cute, aren't they?

    I've got three boys under four (the oldest just turned four this summer), so I understand the mamma-crazies. I got lucky, though-- my first two were only a year apart, and the oldest was a premie, so I waited a year and potty trained them both at the same time. I look forward to waiting a couple years for the third one (and then who knows how many more?).

    I feel like I say this way too much, but here goes: Just keep swimming! And good luck!!

  6. One thing you have in control are your reader's laughs! I'm selfishly grateful you document the chaos going on at your house, but I do also hope you continue to see glimmers of hope in your girls. Children must be sent to increase the character of their parents...

  7. If by "extra grace" you mean someone to day drink with you, I'm just a short distance away. :) seriously though, if you ever need someone to watch your kidlets for a few minutes so you can take a breather, call me!

  8. I must have PTSD from those times because I swear I developed a little eye twitch when I was reading this! But I promise, it DOES get better. Just keep looking at Naomi as your hope for the future. My youngest is 8 now, and while he's his own brand of crazy, I can at least escape it when I need to, get things done, etc. But, oh my, I STILL miss nap time....!

  9. What if you just let Naomi stop napping, and Bernadette could be in the room alone so she could sleep and Naomi could play quietly in the family room, or whatever?

    1. I second this! I give my oldest a timer (set it for an hour) and have him go downstairs to either nap or "quietly" play. Sometimes he sleeps and sometimes he doesn't. But for the most part, he stays down there. Almost always, my middle child will sleep then.

      BUT, with that, if they do sleep...I have been waking them up after an hour or so...which gives me the same outcome as forcing them to not sleep. Try it!

  10. Right now Grace is the crazy one, and I'm dreading the day when Sophie learns it from her. Drink up, friend!

  11. Man kid phases are the craziest right? I feel like all my kids go through a just straight up crazy stage where there is no reasoning with them and all they do is tantrum.

    And I agree with everyone else. Still enforce the nap! I still put them in their rooms for quiet time even if they don't sleep. Heck even if you just don't see them for a while its worth it!

  12. Bernadette sounds exactly like my Greta was when she was that age (2-3) or so. She was always going by another name and heaven forbid you call her her actual name or super fireworks tantrum erupted. And, her tantrums were epic...simply epic. And, set off by the tiniest little thing "you didn't let me close the door.", "I wanted the red cup." etc, etc. etc.

    She outgrew it and is now a mostly delightful and imaginative 8-yo. She still screeches and has a scream that can be heard across the miles, but she's calmed down A TON.

    So, there is hope.

  13. Craptastic may also be a synonym.