Sunday, October 25, 2009

Knowing me, Knowing you

So most moms are eventually able to decipher all the various cries of their baby. Now that Ellie and Quinn are all grown up at 2.5 and talk and demand and yell, they cry less, but I can tell from a long way away if either of them are actually hurt, or if someone has just thrown the other's toy in the toilet. When trying to get attention, Ellie will cry her fakey cry and if I don't respond, walk into the room I'm in, look at me, cry louder with slightly more emphasis, and then go back to the room she was in, often laying herself gently down on the floor, waiting for me to tend to her.

I keep encouraging Henry to work on speaking, because I like talking much better than crying, but until then, I'm continuing to work on understanding his cries. His "I'm a little hungry" cry is a bit of a whimper, like look at me! look at me! I might start really crying if you don't do something! His "I'm tired" cry is kind of like his I'm a little hungry cry, except he rubs his eyes, and looks like a crazed deer in headlights if he's really overtired.

Today, I went through my checklist. Hungry, no. Tired, yes, but refusing to stay sleeping. Burped, yes. Too hot? Too cold? Have a small piece of very pointy hay stuck to your junk? That was it. Too bad it took me two cut short naps to figure that one out. Apparently a little hay snuck in there when Chris changed his diaper on a hay-covered blanket in the car while we were at McMenamins for lunch. I felt terrible, kind of like the time he had a very pointy pine cone bit stuck in his back, under his shirt, and I just thought he didn't want to be in his carseat. Um, worst mother of the year award?

Bottom line (at least according to Henry): having a sharp pinecone gouge into your back is more uncomfortable than a pointy piece of hay stuck to a testicle, though the latter can certainly interrupt a nap.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dora, teeth and twindom

Dora is possibly the most annoying cartoon character that I have ever come across. What's with all the SHOUTING! SHOUTING! SHOUTING! And why is everything repeated at least three times? It may get banned.

Anyway. I hit a new low this week. I have admitted it to several (including Chris and my own mother), so I might as well post it on my blog. I told Quinn to "go brush your fucking teeth." I may have actually said, "GO BRUSH YOUR FUCKING TEETH!" Luckily, he has yet to repeat it. It was the end of a VERY long day, day three of Chris being gone, two of them with me flying solo, and the kids and I were at the end of our ropes. Quinn spit his toothpaste out at me (or at least he seemed to be spitting at me - he may beg to differ), kept biting down on his toothbrush when I was trying to help him, threw the toothbrush out of the bathroom into the hallway, and then went storming off after it toward sleeping Henry's room, yelling and laughing, and asking at decibel 12, "Is that funny, Mommy?", waking little Henry up. I make no excuses, just giving a full picture of the situation. I tell you this so maybe it will make something you said or did seem not so bad.

Tonight, he was a dream. "We're working together, Mommy! I love you, Mommy." while we were cleaning up the three full shelves of books that Ellie had thrown onto the floor. He knew I'd be blogging about him.

Motherhood is hard. Motherhood to three children under three is really hard.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


So I'm working on embracing the moment. I have always tried to do that, but right now I'm trying even harder. I can tell you that there were 2.5 very long hours from about 2:45-5:15 this morning that I was NOT embracing. I have one child who does not sleep. Quinn was wide awake in his crib, calling out to me every 20-30 minutes, waking me, Henry and Ellie up, wanting me to get him some new books to read. And then he didn't nap today. And it is driving me fucking crazy.

So anyway. Back to embracing the moment. I mentioned that I'm reading this book - MOMfulness, Mothering with Mindfulness, Compassion and Grace by Denise Roy - and I really connect with and recommend it. There is a section where the author quotes Herman Hesse, Siddartha:

"But today he only saw one of the river's secrets, one that gripped is soul. He saw that the water continually flowed and flowed and yet it was always there; it was always the same and yet every moment it was new. Who could understand, conceive this? He did not understand it; he was only aware of a dim suspicion, a faint memory, divine voices."

Roy goes on to talk about how her sister recognized that as her life, specifically about her children growing up, watching sets of children on the playground, year after year, just changing faces. I have thought the same thing so many times, though haven't been able to say it as succinctly as Herman Hesse.

Standing at the kitchen window tonight as I was making dinner, I watched Ellie drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, her paisley dress poofing out over her new pink kitty pajama bottoms she insisted on wearing, the early evening sunlight streaming through the Japanese maple in our front yard, making Ellie's little curls sparkle and shine, and I watched her growing minute by minute, just as I'm sure another mom stood 50 or 75 years ago, in our kitchen, watching her own children grow.

The moments are fleeting; I know this. But when I've had such little sleep, it's so hard to remember.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Good enough.

I spend so much of the day thinking about how I could do things better or differently as a mother, or lamenting over what I did or didn't do to make whatever it was happen or not happen. It's so hard living in that state of perpetually not being in the moment that you're in, but rather in the state you wished you were or weren't. Does that make sense?

For example, this morning - Henry woke up about 35 minutes into his normally 1.5 hour nap. My immediate thought - 'Did I not burp him enough? I must not have burped enough. Is that why he woke up early? Now his whole day of sleeping is going to be thrown, which will make for a very sad cranky baby, which will interfere with our outing to the Greek Festival, his afternoon naps, my free time this afternoon (to make dinner), and bedtime. I should have spent more time burping him.' In that one little second, I blamed myself for something I had no control over (I burped the kid over my left shoulder, right shoulder, sitting on my lap, facing out, facing to the left side, then the right, tilted him back, sitting up again...), and automatically defined how the rest of the day was going to go, based on the fact that I screwed the morning up by not burping him enough.

That's a lot of pressure.

I have this extreme want for everything to go as planned - naps, wake up times, outings, adventures, playtime, my time - working out, meeting a friend - whatever it is, I like things to be organized and go according to plan. And the reality is that is doesn't. With three under three, it is so hard to plan anything - and I find that REALLY difficult.

I'm reading this book - I've only just started it, actually - Momfulness by Denise Roy, which is a lot about how to be in the moment, finding peace and spirituality where you are and with what you are doing.

So I am going to try to embrace that.