Thursday, January 8, 2015


This is really long. I guess you could call it kind of a "day in the life" post. You can skip it unless really bored, and even then, I've warned you. I should have gone to bed early instead of staying up to write this, but I'm pretty sure someday, I'll be glad I preserved this slice of our circus. 

No decluttering post here. Today was too good not to throw down some words for posterity. Because the children have all been asleep for over an hour, I can start to laugh about how ridiculous this stuff is. And because in the thick of it, I had some amusing text exchanges and a phone call that pulled me back from the brink.

Yesterday Tim and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. By God's grace, we have survived each other. To celebrate, I forgot about the blissful occasion until my mom reminded me. For the last 6 months, I've thought off and on how it'd be really nice to do something extra special. Then the plague descended on our house and my brain melted. Once he got home and we got the boys put to bed, we put our new vacuum together while I informed him that one of our children got a note from school about something that isn't a big deal in the grand scheme but makes us feel bad as parents. "Cheers! We suck as parents." Oh vacuum humor-it's what 10 years together gets you.

John Paul fought his nap like a crazed animal yesterday, but I finally got him sedated after bringing the big boys home from school. Then I let him sleep way later than I probably should have. John Paul is cute, but he does not make the after school homework/dinner time segment of my day a fun one. So without his screaming or paper snatching, I helped Ben on his book report and made dinner in peace. If your second grader does not have to do book reports, but think that sounds way fun and you're feeling sad about missing out, you are more than welcome to come hang with Ben while he slogs through his. The salt in our very fresh, gaping book report wound was the assignment sheet the teacher sent home for the next book report. Before we had even turned this one in.

What did I make for our anniversary dinner you are wondering? Well, considering Tim wouldn't be home for dinner and I had ignored the thawed pack in the fridge as long as I could, me and the boys feasted on liver. This is worth noting because I really, really hate liver. I have started making it about once every couple of months (the amount of time it takes me to build up a new round of courage) because we get it from processing since no one else wants it (free! i love free!) and because it's exceptionally healthy. I have great hopes that if I make the boys choke it down occasionally, they will have exceptionally straight teeth and the strongest of physiques. Darn you Weston Price for always being in the back of my head. (If you don't know the work of Weston Price, I'm not going to explain it. And consider yourself lucky for being able to feed your children with maybe a little less guilt.)

Like I said, I hate liver. We had to eat it as kids, and I swore that I never would as an adult. It's the one food that as a kid, made me gag with every bite. I'm only a little bit better about it now. But because I have to play it cool with the boys and can't gag with every bite, I have found that aggressively chewing it on the extreme side of my mouth, while cursing it in my head, and sometimes running my feet in place under my chair, seems to get me by. Last night I only (discretely) gagged twice. The boys don't like it, but eat it just as well as other things they don't like. No gagging on their parts.

Since I let John Paul sleep so late, he got to stay up later and hang out with Tim while I put the big boys to bed. I came downstairs and Tim was putting him to bed, which has happened probably less than 5 times in all of his life. When Tim came out, he said, "I think it's so sweet how John Paul lets me know when he's done rocking and ready to lay down." I scowled at him. Hard.  Although we had been on a pretty good streak of bedtimes for several months and I had hoped that we were consistently past obnoxious bedtime shenanigans from our children, John Paul has been "not sweet" at nap and bedtime lately. I usually nurse and rock him, then put him in his bed after a while. Lately he does not really want to nurse, or rock, or have me hold him, but he also definitely does NOT want to be put in his bed.

(Boy, that's a lot and I didn't even get to today.)

Ben got a fever during the night-so cue 'ol Mr. "my fingers are like string" I've gotten used to his fever weirdness and was reminded that Tim also kind of hallucinates when he has fevers. When we were dating, he told me alllll about the Civil War, but without making any sense. "How can Ben have a fever when he ate the healthiest of all healthy foods for dinner?" you are asking yourself. Maybe the problem is I'm feeding him too healthy! Tomorrow we'll get donuts to celebrate yet another missed day of school.

So Ben was home from school today, but not uncomfortable, so that was nice. He worked on his workbooks they have every night so that he wouldn't be crushed by the extra stuff that would come home with Max. I hated make-up work so much as a kid that I figured it was very rarely worth it to try to fake it to stay home. I hate make-up work just as much as a parent. You're trying to ease this kid back into things and build them back up, but they have the stress of extra work. A necessary evil.

Max isn't getting enough attention in all this hullabuloo. Thankfully, he's our easy child right now. He gets his homework done super fast and keeps himself busy with art projects. He makes a lot of messes, but project messes are my least despised of messes. But don't worry, he's not perfect. Every night he comes into the kitchen and asks what's for dinner. I then tell him, and he goes sulking away 9/10 times. For a while, I refused to answer him, which he didn't think was funny. Very rarely, he answers, "eh, I'm okay with that." Gee thanks pal. On the very, very rare occasion it's something he really likes, he becomes overwhelmingly excited. "Slappy when happy" is how I describe it.

The other funny thing about Max is that his ears are stopped up right now from the cold he had? I'm of the "wait it out" school of parenting thought, trying to do a few things at home. But his teacher probably thinks we're idiots for not taking him to the doctor. Well, his sub-his teacher's on maternity leave. Hopefully they will clear by the time she gets back. Otherwise we'll just have to say, "Hey lady, we're sorry, but isn't it already obvious we're not very good parents?!" I felt guilted into cutting Max's hair this fall when he reported home, "Mrs. Teacher asked me when I was going to get a hair cut?" She doesn't understand my street urchin vision. But back to his ears. Communicating with Max is like trying to talk to a 90 year old former machinist. Everything is a loud, "HUH?!" But he's a nosey old man, so even if I'm not talking to him, it's still, "HUH?!" There was a couple days were both he AND Ben had the pluggy ears. Dinner with Norman and Walter was a real treat.

Well, I've sure written a lot. Some people exercise out their frustrations. I'll use the cold weather as an excuse for that not being an option, Cause this weather?! Isn't it a real treat. There's a gal I'm FB friends with who lives in Florida who has posted swimming pictures twice this month. I want to kick her tan, exposed shins!!!

The real gem of the last two days has been John Paul's sleep. Yesterday had nothin' on today, and as of last night, I considered yesterday pretty annoying. He was so deliriously tired this afternoon that he was screaming, screaming, screaming but when I would try to pick him up, he would dislocate his shoulders and slide half way out of my hands and flop on the floor. Then he would throw himself at me like he wanted to be picked up. Then repeat the melting thing. As he screamed in his room, since there was nothing I could do for him, Ben sympathetically said, "Why don't you just go in and nurse and rock him, Mom?" I thought about replying, "Why don't YOU go nurse and rock him?!" but refrained and instead described what John Paul did when I tried to help him. He had no more parenting tips for me after my description.

Why was John Paul so beyond tired. Well, probably because I do everything wrong as a parent, but also because he figured out how to climb out of the pack 'n' play that is his bed. I had hoped keeping him in the pack 'n' play would buy more time than the crib did for his brothers (and honestly I think Max was just shy of two before he started bailing out? so that was nice) because I thought the soft sides would make it harder to get monkey toe grip as opposed to the rails. I don't know how he's getting out. I didn't ever hear any "thump" like he's falling out. Nap time involved a lot of praying and not charitable thoughts on my part. I think John Paul was cursing at me. Then because I'm a complete idiot, I decided to make almond butter 45 minutes into his nap. Making almond butter is THE loudest thing I ever do in the kitchen. I avoid it even when no one is sleeping because I don't like how loud it is. Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! If Tim had done that, I probably would have....not been happy with him. 45 minutes was NOT enough nap for John Paul and he let us know how unhappy he was about my stupid almond butter making.

When I went back to work when Max was just shy of three, people asked me if I liked working outside the home again. My response was, "I like not being yelled at by the people I spend my day with. No matter how mad my boss is with me, he never yells at me and definitely doesn't hit me." Today was one of those days that daycare starting sounding mighty wonderful!!!

After dinner John Paul was being really cute and playing with Max. It made me do one of those annoying parent, "maybe it's all worth it afterall" things. Then he lost it, started doing the shoulder dislocatey don't want to be held but really want to be held but don't want to be held thing again. It doesn't even need to be a daycare at this point. A nice kennel will be perfectly acceptable.

So I tried to put him to bed. He climbed out a bunch of times. Each time he would go and unplug his fan we use for white noise. Like, "Oh hey guys, I actually don't need to go to bed." but with screaming. I would go back in, plug in the fan, kiss the flailing mess, and put him back in his bed. One of the times, I plugged the fan in before I picked him up because he was so hard to hold. He took that as his chance to try to stumble, drunkenly out of his room through the cracked door, with his two, rather bulky, precious blankets in his arms. Poor kid. I kinda just wanted to let him go and see what he would do. But I knew it would only be more floor flopping, and at least the carpet in his room is a lot softer than the hardwood.

Today, the Pope Francis quote from his Sunday address kept popping up in my newsfeed, about motherhood being a beautiful sacrifice. I'm not quite so sure about the beautiful part, Papa.


  1. The part about the liver was my most favorite. Especially when you said it helps to run your feet in place under your chair. I laughed out loud.

  2. well that all sucks. people tell me it gets better. so sure! at least they're cute, and sometimes they sleep.

  3. I love you. I know the shoulder dislocatey move so well. When they do/don't/do/don't want to be held? Gah.

    I have purposefully never actually read anything by Weston A. Price. I know "of" him, but no. I am pretty sure I couldn't eat liver. It's the word liver. Ick.

    When my boys went to school, my consistent mom fail was non-holey pants. I kid you not- they could put a hole in school pants within two weeks. Like, I am thinking, "What on Earth are they doing there? Aren't they mostly sitting at tables and learning???". Anyways, the teachers would mention it to the kids, the teachers would mention it to me occasionally, sometimes the vague note would be sent home to all the kids. Mom Fail- we all have them :)

  4. Awww, Mary Mary. I crept onto your blog recently, and I love it so much. I admire you for sharing your struggles. I have parenting/step-parenting struggles all the time, but haven''t had the courage to share them. Maybe some day.

    I SO related to what you said about Ben giving you parenting advice. "Why don't YOU go nurse and rock him?!" made me laugh out loud. Things like this are nearly a daily occurrence at our house, and a SERIOUS exercise in patience for me. I've gotten to the point that I can usually take a deep breath and handle it in a mature, parent-appropriate, and not completely dismissive way, but it's a real internal struggle for me every single time.

    Happy Anniversary to you and Tim! :) Miss you guys!

  5. For some reason I read the title as "clutter.cuss" so I thought this was going to be about decluttering. ;)
    You describe the whole flailey arms "what do you want from me!" moments of parenting a young toddler so well. Sorry it is will get better. It will. Just say that over and over.
    Your feet running under the chair made me laugh too, I do that when something is too spicy. I admire your resolve to keep eating it!
    Weston A Price may have some ideas about healthy eating but that doesn't mean it's healthy to follow his advice. ;)

  6. Oh my GOODNESS! Ain't parenting HARD?! I'm so glad you write about the struggles you have (and glad that you can find humor in them at some point!) I snorfled so many times while I was reading this. I really liked the dinner with Norman and Walter part! Hang in there mama! You're doing a great job, no matter what you think.

    And happy anniversary to you and Tim! We'll hit the big 10 this year also! Time flies!

  7. Bone broth. It's all the rage. Just keep a pot simmering on the back burner at all times and you can do away with the liver guilt. Maybe bury the liver in your garden so it comes out in the vegetables.

  8. You are so sneaky about blog posts, but I love getting surprised by them.
    I think baby/toddler boarding school would be an excellent idea. Ages 1 to 3 3/4 would be my ideal time to ship my little loves off to someone else. Surely there are so extra special people in the world who love and can deal with those ages better than I.
    I so, so love your stick-to-it-ness on the liver. I just will not do it anymore because I am a gagg-y mess. I think the kids would actually eat it. So kuddos on your hard-head. Love you!

  9. I'm glad I'm not the only one that finds toddlerhood difficult. It is really fortunate that also get adorably cute and funny at the same time. That perfectly time cuteness has saved me from the brink of Mother of Toddler Insanity many times.

  10. So in all my FB commenting on how to ensure a blog comment, it took me quite a while to realize I had not actually seen this blog post. I am sorry that toddlerhood in particular is proving quite challenging right now. Know that your adorable street urchins do love you even when they do/do not/do/do not want you to hold them. That is definitely a big frustration. So many emotions, so few reasoning and communication skills. Sigh. Maybe it will be fun being their elderly parents and pretending to act the same way towards them?

  11. its comforting to read that others struggle with the baby and toddlerhood as much as me. I can't even imagine what's it is like to have school ages kids. Eek I'll be dealing with it soon enough. Happy 10 years to you guys.