(i was going to keep this post locked away in the drafts vault, but i feel like it's important to be honest. or maybe i'm too honest and over-sharey and need to just be quiet.)
i got to escape to lawrence this last weekend as a sanity break, as tim is now going to be gone from us even more than the 12 hours a day that he was as he opens a new store. it was a much, much needed break, but i fear after today, apparently no amount of time is enough to refresh me from my boys.
before i even had a chance to regale you with tales of my adventure (which included attending a roller derby) i am back in the trenches.
the boys were actually pretty good this morning, which was refreshing because they normally are constantly squabbling. they both want what the other one has and it's near constant conflict and whining that sometimes escalates to them yelling at each other and pushing/hitting/kicking/biting. the physical part is mostly max, ben starts most of the yelling. some days it has me in tears because i'm just so frustrated and lost about what do to. but most days, i just get tired of it and angry and want to just yell at them to shut up by the end of the day because i'm sooo fried. i don't, but i know that my mood and actions aren't the most patient and loving.
the fun started at lunch time because it wasn't something they liked. i knew they had had pb&j way too much over the weekend and seemed kind of breaded out, not eating their toast at breakfast, but also wouldn't really want anything else. meals are another major frustration because between the two of them, one child is usually whining, or even if it's something they don't directly dislike, they won't eat very much because they get bored or restless, and then they're hungry and wanting snacks soon after meals. usually i don't give in and send them to eat their neglected meals, but again, oy vey with the whining!
while max was napping, i heard ben upstairs in my craft/crap room. he likes to hang out up there and i usually let him, but i decided to check on him. he was playing with some pins that had been on my table, and showed me how he liked to wedge them between the gaps in his teeth so he looked like a walrus. we joked around and i took some pictures of him and just as i was thinking to myself what a nice time we were having, i noticed a wet spot on the carpet.
it was in the same spot that it had been wet another day when he had been alone upstairs. the other time i had asked him why the floor was wet and he said he didn't know, not acting suspicious at all. because me and max had been up there all that morning, i figured maybe max had knocked over my water, even though i didn't remember having a water bottle with me. today, i pressed further, pretty certain that he had peed on the floor. i asked him why the floor was wet and he told me that he had been thirsty so he got a glass of water and when he brought it upstairs he *insert sounds effects and wild hand gestures indicating the glass fumbling out of his hands and falling on the floor*. he was so detailed and matter of fact about it, but i just knew he was lying. i asked him where the glass was that had fallen and again, very cooly, he told me he had already taken it back downstairs. finally i just said, "do not lie to me. you have to tell the truth-did you pee on the floor?" he finally nodded his head and did his "i know i'm guilty and in trouble but maybe i can still charm you" grin. i didn't want to explode, ensuring he would never tell the truth again, so i calmly sent him to get a towel. i made him clean it up, and as he was, the thought hit me that this wasn't the only place he'd done this. i asked him if he'd peed on the floor anywhere else and again, at first he lied. after asking him directly if he'd done it in his room, he admitted that he had. (sometimes i've noticed wet spots on the carpet in their room, but it's always by their dresser where we keep a glass of water at night, so i thought maybe it was spills.)
THEN i remembered there being a mystery wet spot in my mom's play room/storage room after the boys had been playing down there. i had asked them both about it at the time, but they both seemed pretty oblivious. we figured it must have been from some sweaters that she had hung to line dry the day before because it was kind of behind the play kitchen away from where the boys play and right under one of her drying lines. i was so pissed off (har har)when i realized what he had done, but stayed very calm and directly asked him if we had peed on the floor at grammie's house? again with the nod and grin. i was mad, but even more, my brain was spinning trying to figure out how to best deal with the lying situation. peeing on the carpet is gross, but having a kid who can tell a very nonchalant, detailed, believable lie is really upsetting. i didn't want to come down on him so hard that he would just never admit the truth and stick to his lies, but at the same time, i also wanted to scare the bageezus out of him and have a punishment so horrible that he would never lie again. mostly knowing that wasn't possible, i tried to explain to him how disappointed i was that he had broken my trust and stayed very quiet. then he asked if he would still get to watch a show when max woke up-the normal routine. bling went the light bulb-the perfect punishment/consequence. i explained that he wouldn't because of his lies and naughty behavior and he erupted in tears and screaming. call me a mean mom, but i'll admit, that part was pretty gratifying to see him finally really upset over the situation. he kept screaming for at least ten minutes, mostly about how he wouldn't say he was sorry to grammie because it would be too embarrassing, and of course, about how he still wanted a show. several times i talked to him about the importance of being an honest person, but he just screamed.
max woke up during all of that and in a subtle effort to calm ben down a bit and to try to snap max out of a grouchy mood, i gave them graham crackers for a snack. ben immediately stopped screaming but max started. REALLY!!?? max was mad because he wanted " a lot. A LOT!!" of graham crackers. i tried to explain to him that they were all gone but he just kept raging. after having to put him in time-out, he only calmed down because i put his snack in a bag and we left the house.
he was majorly whiney in the car and in the few stores we went to, throwing several fits in target because he wanted to run instead of being in the cart, which i never let him do.
he finally calmed down and cheered up when we got to my parent's house, and thankfully, ben apologized for the carpet issue without any prompting. dinner was of course a struggle and draining, although i'm used to it. after dinner they went downstairs with my dad and watched a show-i totally forgot to enforce that ben shouldn't get to watch tv.
when he got home, because it wasn't quite bedtime, i decided to have the boys help me pick up the house a little-just going from room to room and picking up the toys. ben did a good job, but max, as he always is during clean-up time, was totally stubborn and resistant. first i had to take away the special toy i brought him from my trip, them he lost his bedtime story. he stares me down if i do a "i'm going to count to three and if you haven't picked up that toy..." , totally unwavering until i get to three and move towards him to take him to time out, at which time he finally says, "i'll do it! i'll do it!" but when i give him the chance, he'll just huff and plant himself again, totally not doing it. anymore, even if he says he's going to do it, i still take him to time out because i know i need to be in control and stick to what i said.
so tonight i left him in time out until bedtime, and when i did go in, ben and i had to endure his screaming while i read to ben because max wanted his story. i finally told him i was going to put him outside his door if he didn't stop and that lessened him to quiet whining and sniffing.
i try to be consistent with my discipline, but i know some days i don't do as well as i should because i'm just so worn down and tired of being "on" and in charge all day. i feel like i would need to go to bed when ben and max do to even have a chance at having enough energy to keep up with the boys, but then i wouldn't ever see tim or have any time to myself. many days our relationship already feels like a business partnership discussing logistics, if not just two exhausted zombies staring at each other at the end of the day.
i started reading the love and logic book but at the end of the day, i'm not in the mood for it. (i had skimmed it before and used what i had heard from family and friends. i've tried to go to the class several times but it has never worked with tim's work schedule.) plus, as stubborn as my boys are, and max especially, i don't have much faith that it would work.
my brain spins about how i can try to make things better, some doable, others probably not, or just not very reasonable: changing the boys' diets, new supplements/vitamins for me and the boys, more physical activity, different jobs, putting the boys in day care, etc. etc. etc. i make myself crazy trying to analyze what would help, but honestly, i often too overwhelmed to do the simplest things that i know would help. some days are a little better and i think we're on the up-swing/we've finally started to get the hang of his whole crazy situation. then other days are really, really bad. or in the middle, but pretty unpleasant.
i think i just needed to get this all out, but, seriously, if anybody has some sage momma advice, i am all ears. or if you could say some prayers for our little family, i would really appreciate it.