The Madness of Toddlers

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Toddlers are utterly baffling. Multiply the madness by two and I’m mayor of Crazy Town.

In the middle of the night

Twin B: Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY!
Me: What? What do you want?
Twin B: I want to be quiet.

While zipping up his jacket
Any twin: “I want to zip it!!! HELP ME!

At dinner
Me: Do you want another drink of water?
Twin B: No, I want WATER!

While buckling a carseat
Twin A: You buckle it. LET ME BUCKLE IT!

While pulling up pants
Twin A: YOU do it. I DO IT!!!!!

Outside
Me: Do you want to walk to the mailbox with me?
Twin A: NO. [hysterical crying] WAIT FOR ME!!!!!

Basically anytime

Me: Can I help you?
Any twin: NO YOU DO IT!

While washing hands
Twin A: YOU GAVE ME TOO MUCH SOAP!
Me: If you put your hands under the water, then the soap will go away.
Twin A: I DON’T WANT TO. YOU GAVE ME TOO MUCH SOAP!!!!

Me: You’re a complicated little fella.
Twin B: I not a ca ca ca. I am a RABBIT.

Me: Do you want some cheese?
Twin B: No thanks. I want some cheese.

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Nothing Like Having Your Head Slammed in the Door by a Toddler

Why do they hate me so much? Sometimes I feel like an indentured servant ruled by three tiny people who hate me. There is nothing quite like being screamed at while wiping butts.

…Except for maybe getting your head slammed in a French door by a freakishly strong 2-year-old.

….Except for maybe getting your head slammed in a closet door the very next day by the same freakishly stong two-year-old. (It’s weird: he’s not angry. He is like the Hulk without the anger.)

Seriously, moms have to do all these seriously nasty chores – on repeat – while little people yell at us about it. That feeling is magnified when there are three little people.

Why are you so mad when you have to let someone clean your bottom? Why are you so mad when you have to let someone fix you a delicious and nutritious meal? Wash your cellulite? Console your sadnesses and rock you to sleep and kiss your boo-boos? Sometimes it feels like pure hell to do all these things while they yell at me, or scream at me, or cry at me. Times three.

jumping on bedI know, I know, I know – they are growing up so fast and one day I will regret complaining about any of it. One day, soon, they won’t need me to wipe their butts. One day, soon, my snuggles and my kisses aren’t going to fix their bigger boo-boos. I know I will miss their innocence and their fat chubby toddler arms.

I know, I know, I know – I waited eight years for these babies. I survived adoption and 15 rounds of fertility drugs and bedrest and miscarriage and hemorrhage to get these three precious souls into my arms. How could I possibly complain about a single thing?

Because. Because none of that means it’s FUN to be kicked at when I’m trying to change their poops. It’s not sweet to get yelled at while fixing lunch not fast enough. It’s not adorable to get pummeled while trying to hug an upset child. Moms get beat up and knocked around more than they ever thought they would.

My kids are good kids. They are sweet and considerate and mostly obedient. They are also two years old, and two years old, and four years old. Sometimes, being two and being four isn’t pretty. Sometimes it isn’t sweet. They get frustrated. They get overwhelmed. It’s hard to be a toddler. And have you ever heard of a “mean drunk”? Well, some kids are a “mean sick” or a “mean injured”. (And some kids are just The Hulk without the anger. There’s a lot of testosterone in this house.)

I just wanted you to know that I feel like the ugly stepsister sometimes, just in case you do too.

***

This post was originally published on Beyond Infertility, a website about parenting after infertility. I am a regular contributor to their website.

Grad School Is Over (I Can’t Think of a Better Title Because Grad School Made Me So Tired.)

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We did it. Grad school. It’s over. I have no idea what Mr. Okayest’s degree is in, and I’m not sure I even care. I’m proud of him, but more importantly, I’m proud of us.

Mr. Okayest is the one who gets the degree, but he says it belongs to both of us. For every credit hour he spent in class, I spent one here with three babies. For every exam, paper, and project, I handled the children on my own. Weekends were never restful. We both earned this degree.

We can’t believe it’s over. We’re still in shock, waiting for the next assignment to drown us again. Four years of hell is OVER!

We were childless for the first eight years of our marriage. We also did not go to grad school during the first eight years of our marriage. When our first son came along in 2010, my husband decided that would be a great time to start grad school. Seriously, honey? You couldn’t have done that a little earlier?

Two years later, when I ended up in a high-risk twin pregnancy and bedrest, I said, “Surely, honey, you will take some time off school now?” Nope. He kept it up. He managed to take care of me, my son, the house, the cooking, the cleaning, and his homework. I thought he was crazy, but he got an “A” that semester.

When the twins were born in 2012, and I almost died, and spent a month learning how to, you know, live again, and we never slept, I said, “Surely, honey, you can take some time off school now?” Nope. He kept trucking. That was the hardest course of all, too, and it happened to fall during the hardest months of our lives. He got an “A” that semester, too, by some miracle. (And by “some miracle”, I am referring to our moms and aunts and grandmas and cousins and church sisters who helped care for me and my family!)

During the early days of the twins’ life, I simply could not care for them on my own. Newborns and a very needy two-year-old cannot wait for anything. Every need is immediate, and my battered body could not keep up with their needs.

I remember distinctly the first time my husband went back to class after my recovery. It was maybe the third week after the birth. My health was shaky, at best. I had not been apart from him for even one minute during the past month. He helped me go to the bathroom. He showered me. I hadn’t been able to walk or stand without his assistance for some time. I had not been away from him at all. My body and my heart depended on him.

He asked my aunt to come over just while he went to class. He hadn’t even gone back to work yet, but he headed to class at 5PM that day. My aunt and I were sitting on the couch, and he was tying his shoes, but he was watching my face. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I was terrified. I trusted my aunt to care for me and my three babies under three years old, but I was terrified to be away from my husband. He kissed me goodbye and he went to school. My aunt asked what was wrong. I couldn’t put it into words, but I think she understood.

Eventually, I got stronger. I hired a mother’s helper, an 11-year-old from church with lots of siblings, to help me after school. I remember us each feeding a baby a bottle on the couch.

Eventually, my oldest son got, well, older. He was able to (kind of) put on his own jammies. He was able to (kind of) wait his turn. However, he was simply not the same when Daddy was having a late class night. He usually didn’t see his father from Monday night until Wednesday night. That’s an eternity when you’re two or three years old! He wasn’t the same when his father had to do homework in the basement with the door shut. He wanted to be near his dad at all times. His tantrums were worse on school days and homework days.

Eventually the babies, too, became more independent. Daddy kept going to school, and they outgrew those bottles. They grew into toddlers who could just be put into their cribs while awake. Each one could wait a little bit when his brother needed me.

On the days that I was alone from 5AM to 9PM, my sweet in-laws would come every week. For years, they have been relieving me. I have used their visits to get my shower, or collapse in a heap of a nap, or to take my oldest son on a date, or to do the weekly shopping. I have used their visits to sneak in six months of swim lessons for my son while the babies napped at home with the grandparents. I have used their visits to schedule a multitude of doctor appointments for both me and my son. They gave me time off from the twins during the day, so that I could survive until 9PM when my husband came home. And, sometimes, when I was sick or my husband was out of town, they would even stay through bedtime. They say that it isn’t a selfless act; they say that they just love the time with the grandchildren! I still say it’s a selfless act, because this circus isn’t easy.

There were some really bad times. There were many times that I cried with exhaustion after all the kids were in bed. There were times that I didn’t want to wake up on his school days, because I knew what the next 16 hours would hold. There were times that one or two or all three were sick and I cared for them alone. There was vomit, diarrhea, countless nose wipings… There was even one time that I was vomiting while making them their dinner and while putting them to bed. (The kids were, of course, recovered from their stomach bug by the time they had given it to me.)

Grad school gave me a new respect for single parents. I have no idea how they do it. I almost felt incapable of handling my own life.

At dinner last week, while I fed the children while their Daddy was in his last class, I excitedly said to the children, “Guess what?! Daddy isn’t going to go to school any more! He will always be home for dinner and bedtime now!” All three just stared at me blankly while chewing their meatballs. This four-year-old and those two two-year-olds will probably have no memory of all the hard work and tears that was grad school. Their whole lives were this way, but they won’t remember a thing. (Oh, and the next night, he had to work late and missed dinner.)

It’s really over. I can’t believe it. Now we can get on to other things, like house repair. Oh my goodness, I’m still never going to see my husband, am I?

 

 

3-Year-Old Kid Quotes, Part 2

[This is the censored version. Sorry.]

Just like DaddyR: Don’t sing that song to the babies. They don’t like that.

R: The babies will be baptized? They will need floaties?

R: This is the fall-down potty. It’s okay. We can go to Lowe’s and get a better seat.

R: Momma, cut your poop-ons. [coupons]

While running to his blankie after lunch:
R: Blankie, I’m so happy to see you!

Daddy: Give me a hug.
R: No.
Daddy: If you’re sick, a hug makes you feel better.
R: [Hugs Daddy] I all better now.
Momma: Give me a hug, too.
R: No. I alde-ready got all better.

R: Daddy sucks the leaves up with his leaf vacuum. That’s what he ‘doos’.

R: I’m gonna go on a date. To Harbor Freight. [A tool store]

R: I will go pee-pee by myself. Momma, you come with me.

While pointing to our old black dog’s white whiskers:
R: Cleo has too many whites.

First-ever lick of a lollipop:
R: It’s like a binky!

Me: What did you today at preschool co-op?
R: I cried.

While I was pushing the triple stroller (which weighs much more than I do) up a hill:
R: Why you tired, Momma?
Me: Because this stroller is heavy.
R: You have a lotta kids. 1, 2, 3.

In bed:
Me: Don’t worry. Jesus will watch over you tonight.
R: Jesus can’t watch me. It’s dark.

R: Will you sleep with me, Momma? Not with Daddy?

Me: Who will give me a hug?
R: Not me. I alde-ready give you a hug.

R: I will dream about Fiona Apple. (!)

R: I don’t want to go outside.
Me: I do. I need fresh air.
R: I don’t need fresh air. There’s fresh air coming in the window.

To his brother:
R: Shake your booty!

About his brother:
R: Where we buy him?

R: Jesus is not our brother. Our babies is our brother.

While laughing hysterically at his brother:
Me: What’s so funny?
R: He has a PENIS!

R: Who gave you this toy? God?

To his brother:
R: Don’t be happy right now!

R: This house is dirty. We need to vacuum.

R: The washing machine is broken, Daddy. I think we have to go to Lowe’s. Oh no! They only have lawn mowers at Lowe’s!

R: I think we need a new baby.
Me: I don’t know if I can grow a new baby in my belly, but that would be nice.
R: We can go to the hospital. I can go with you.
Me: Oh? Is that where we get babies?
R: Yeah. Only 1 baby this time.
Me: Not twins?
R: No. I will give the babies back to the hospital.

While clutching his favorite book about Jesus that we had lost:
R: I FOUND JESUS!

While pointing to my shirt buttons:
R: Momma, I like your butt.

 

[Apparently, I am raising a semi-religious manly man who is a bit grouchy. I love him!]

***Bonus clip: Typical parents-of-multiples ridiculous mini-fight:
“Every time something important happens, you’re always making a salad!”

 

Run-On Sentence Life

I'm not *busy*. I'm just crazy.

I’m not *busy*. I’m just crazy.

My sister-in-law asked how I was doing, and this run-on sentence disaster is what came out:

“We’re doing great, other than I feel like a crazy woman with the babies going so fast in opposite directions. They are like puppies. And potty training at the same time? Insane! I put R on the potty, and then I have to herd Baby A out of the bathroom, and by that time, Baby B is in the bathroom, and by then R is kicking that one in the face (idly) while he tries to go potty, and by then the Baby A has climbed up on the fireplace hearth and is falling off, and then I have to leave R on the potty, but then he cries because he is “wone-wee” in there and can’t go if he’s “wone-wee” and by then, Baby B has climbed on top of some sort of wheeled toy and is actually being pushed by Baby A across the living room.”

Run-on sentence much? My whole life is a run-on sentence!

My days are crazy. People say, “Wow, you are so busy,” but it’s not about being busy. I have plenty of down time where I am just lying on the floor as happy babies stick their fingers in my nose and knee me in the c-section scar. It’s more about me always spinning in circles- sometimes literally. By the time I remove Baby A from crawling toward the dog, Baby B has crawled toward the dog. I spin in circles.

My whole day is fight-or-flight. My husband says this means I am just reacting to things. I think this means that I am just really sweaty all day long.

I taught Kindergarten for five years before this motherhood thing. I can easily wrangle 25 five-year-olds into coats in 1 minute flat, but I can’t dress my own three children in under twenty minutes. I can easily usher 25 five-year-olds out the door during a fire drill in mere seconds, but I can’t get to my own kid who is falling down the stairs before dropping another kid. I can easily keep 25-five-year-olds happily engaged at a lovely decibel level, but my own three children make my ears bleed.

I miss a few things from the old days, when my 25 kids got on the bus and went home at the end of the day. Now I have three children for 24 hours a day, and there are some things that I feel like I will never get back. That’s okay. I swear I’m not complaining. But, whew, I wish God could give me one of those days back right now, just for a little vacation.

My husband and I were introverts. We had a quiet life, but maybe that was the problem! Our life is so loud and wild now, even if it’s not overtly busy. If only we had been big partiers before children (ha!), then maybe this would be easier now. I think wild party animals and social butterflies get all the After-Baby-Attention because their busy social calendar screeches to a halt, but I’m here to say that maybe we should consider the poor introverts. How do we fare in all this commotion?

I wish I was that mom who gets all gushy about the noise and chaos bringing joy to her heart, but, as you know, I am not shy about saying that bedtime is my favorite part of the day. I love my kids, and I love their bedtime just as much. I long to get my house back for those lovely two hours before I go to bed. But shouldn’t I be celebrating this “joyful noise”?

Mr. Okayest says that we’ll get there. The kids are just too little to go upstairs together and make blanket forts and have raucous laughter echoing down the stairs while I make dinner in peace. They still require constant 100% physical effort from me.

I miss Sunday naps after church, making dinner in silence, and eating dinner without food on the floor. I miss reading the Sunday Washington Post, going to the movies on Friday night, and going out to eat once a week. I miss driving the car in undistracted (i.e., safe) silence. I miss not lugging a 30 pound diaper backpack everywhere I go (and not packing a 30 pound diaper backpack before going anywhere!). I miss a back and a neck that don’t hurt constantly. I swear I’m not complaining. After all, I did let the doctor implant two eggs in there.

I’m a crazy woman with a run-on sentence life. I promise you that I used to be smart, and creative. I promise you that my vocabulary used to be twice as large as it is now. I promise you that I never wrote any run-on sentences. I also promise you that I never said this sentence ever at all before yesterday: “We don’t put turtles in our brother’s bottom”.

I also promise you that I wouldn’t change it or trade it. To cope, I may cry, or watch Keeping up with the Kardashians, or shamefully snap at my husband, or drink too many Diet Cokes, or whine… but I promise I wouldn’t change it. I kiss their fat cheeks, I squeeze their cellulite, I inhale their baby head scent before it’s too late. I see  three shades of skin, three colors of eyes looking at me, and my heart melts sometimes. I am thankful. Truly. But I wouldn’t mind just that one pre-kid vacation day….

Reasons *My* Son is Crying

pregnancy tantrumThis list is inspired by (i.e., “a copycat version of”) the groundbreaking “Reasons My Son is Crying”, which is the most accurate and ridiculous portrayal of how small children make no sense, ever. People of the world, rejoice! Your small children are not actually lunatics!

Reasons *My* Son is Crying

  1. I won’t walk to the fridge with him.
  2. I won’t walk upstairs with him.
  3. I won’t hand him the cup of water that is right beside his hand.
  4. The dog won’t stay outside with him.
  5. It’s too cold out.
  6. It’s too hot out.
  7. He doesn’t want to be at the playground.
  8. He doesn’t want to leave the playground. (Same trip as #6, by the way)
  9. He doesn’t want to be naked.
  10. He doesn’t want to put on clothes. (Same tantrum as #9, by the way)
  11. He has to go to the bathroom.
  12. He doesn’t want to go to the bathroom.
  13. I asked him if he has to go to the bathroom.
  14. I asked him if he might want to go to the bathroom at any time in the near or distant future.
  15. I have to go to the bathroom.
  16. I was singing.
  17. Daddy laughed.
  18. Daddy laughed at The Daily Show.
  19. We had lentils for dinner.
  20. He has to blow his nose.
  21. His grandfather might want to take him out to lunch when he gets here tomorrow.
  22. His grandmother might want to give him a hug when she gets here tomorrow.
  23. He has to go to a friend’s house three days from now.
  24. He has to go to church again seven days from now.
  25. We were late to church and didn’t get a pew and have to sit in the back in a folding chair.
  26. He wants seconds of the sacrament.
  27. He wants to sit in the stroller on top of his brothers.
  28. He wants to sit under the stroller.
  29. The neighbors’ horses didn’t come to the fence.
  30. I made him leave after we petted horses for 20 minutes.
  31. The dog licked him.
  32. I didn’t say “okay” after he said, “I’m a puppy, Momma!” for the tenth time in row.
  33. We are getting the clippers out for a haircut.
  34. We are cutting his hair.
  35. We will have to cut his hair again another week.
  36. We have to go outside.
  37. We have to come inside.
  38. We are out of Naked brand green juice.
  39. I told him it was time for “Quiet Time” but he wanted “Nap Time”.
  40. I turned the TV off.
  41. I turned the TV on.
  42. I was wearing a Band-Aid.
  43. I won’t carry him down the stairs.
  44. I put lotion on him with cold hands.
  45. Daddy put lotion on him with warm hands.
  46. Daddy is working late.
  47. Daddy hugged him.
  48. Daddy hugged me.
  49. We are going to go trick-or-treating.
  50. He has to clean up.
  51. Everyone said “Happy birthday” in unison.

***

Here are some other versions of the same thing. All made me bust a gut.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/reasons-my-son-is-crying-tumblr_n_3038336.html

http://jasongood.net/365/2012/12/46-reasons-why-my-three-year-old-might-be-freaking-out/

http://jasongood.net/365/2011/08/day-215-approximately-3-minutes-inside-the-head-of-my-2-year-old/

Momma Quotes

kid stuck under tvWell, I gave you 2-year-old quotes. And then I gave you 3-year-old quotes. What I forgot was 34-year-old momma quotes. You’re welcome.

Moms say things in combinations that have never been tried before in the history of the world. Ever chastised your kid and then wondered, “Has anyone ever said that sentence before? That was a weird thing that just came out of my mouth.” You just witnessed a completely original moment in history. Here are some things that I (may) have remarkably invented, and  that made me laugh. Later.

“Don’t sniff your brother’s bottom when he’s naked.”

“We don’t put potties in the kitchen.”

“Your hair is not a napkin.”

“No, sorry, we can’t get another Jesus even though he died.”

“Doesn’t underwear feel cozy on your penis?”

“If you don’t finish your french fries, you can’t have any more blueberries.” (Don’t ask, cuz I don’t remember.)

“Um, that is just where my peepee comes out.”

“Um, that is just where my milk comes out.”

“Yes, you can play there if you promise not to step in dog poop.”

“We don’t poke the dog in her bottom.”

“No, you will not get baptized with a floatie.”

“Why do you have to put avocado in your ear every day?”

“I’m allowed to laugh.”

“I’m allowed to sing.”

“I’m allowed to run.”

“I’m allowed to talk.”

“It’s good to poop, but we can’t touch poop.”

“Yes, you can have some dog food.”

“Kick your leg like Aerosmith.”

“Honey, one of the babies snotted in my eye today and I finally got the booger out just now! My eye still burns though.”

“All right, who threw up in the toy box?!”

And, lastly, the best one ever:

“We don’t put turtles in our brother’s bottom.”