Saturday, April 28, 2012

Outnumbered Party of One

Depending on the age of your kids, this post will make you laugh, cry or be very very glad your kids or grown. Or you will think that I am extremely disorganized which means that 1)You are correct 2)You are a better person than I am 3)I'm not having the type of week that I can be happy that you have it all together so I don't want to hear about it. 4)I'm still new at this being outnumbered thing and the only way I'm not losing it is by telling myself that it (and I) will get better in time (like when the last one leaves for college...)

Some mornings make me want to cry...or nap...or never EVER leave the house ever again.

Here is an example of what might happen on any given morning that we have to leave the house early in the morning (before say...10 am).

Probably somewhere around 530 or 600: Teddy wakes up and wants to nurse. He is too tired to do an effective job, so he keeps falling asleep, and waking back up outraged and 'starving.' By the time he is actually done eating, it's 30 minutes before I have to get up and I'm so stressed about getting every possible minute of sleep I can't fall asleep until 5 minutes before the alarm goes off.

Alarm goes off. For a more concrete example, we'll say 700. I get up trying very hard to not wake the baby sleeping on my arm. I get dressed very quickly, use the toilet and sink two floors down so I don't wake the kids before I get a chance to get coffee made. The flush of the toilet wakes Gus. C'MON! I hear his door slam. I race up two flights of stairs to head him off. Too late! He jumps into my bed with the baby. "Hi baby!! Mommy look! Baby is awake!!" He gives him a germ laden kiss and a pat on the head then runs downstairs yelling "EAT-EAT!" Now the baby is screaming, but if I don't follow Gus immediately, half my fridge will be on the kitchen floor by the time I calm the baby and Gus will have picked out breakfast, whether that's strawberries and yogurt, or pickles, or raw eggs (apparently, eggs are "ucky" when eaten raw with shells on...). Why don't we lock the fridge? Well, that would require remembering to do so before bed...and knowing where the lock is at any given time.

I get Gus settled with an appropriate breakfast, dress the baby, nurse the baby, clean Gus up and get him dressed shoes and all which will hopefully stay on. It's probably somewhere around 740 by the time all this is done. My coffee is cold and untouched. I have not eaten. I give Gus a coloring book or other task that were I not trying to go somewhere would keep him occupied for an hour and put the baby in the bouncer. I start packing a diaper bag. I'm interrupted about 6 times by requests for food, Gus messing with the baby, Gus messing with the cats, random tantrums, wanton stuff scattering just to make me crazy, or going to the bathroom to eat toothpaste or "warsh hands" (and face and hair and shirt and floor). I'm trying so hard not to plop him in front of the TV all the time, partially because he becomes a miniature zombie, but also because if we have to leave before he's done with his "show," it will be a screaming, physical wrestling match to get him in the car. I digress...

I lose my sense of humor about the delays and strap both kids into car seats so I can finish packing. It's probably 830 by now and I'm still hungry and caffeine deprived...and LATE!

I do a once through the house. Do a cat head count. Double check that I have spare clothes for both kids and plenty of diapers. Make sure I have Blanket and Paci and 'Warter' (that's water for those of you whose toddlers don't have southern accents). Grab a granola bar and a Pepsi for me. Turn the car on. Remember that I forgot to give the cat his medicine which reminds me that I forgot Teddy's medicine...and oh, yeah there's a load of laundry in the washer that will be mildewed if I don't switch it before I leave but there are clothes in the dryer, where's a laundry basket to put these in!

 Run back in two or three more times to get so-and-so's casserole dish or that shirt they left over here the last time they were here or the paperwork for the doctor's visit.

Leave. Maybe make it out of the neighborhood or even to the toll road before I remember what else I forgot. Decide if it's worth going back for. Look in the rear view mirror. That's right, I was interrupted getting dressed. I forgot to comb my hair. AGAIN.

This last part usually has pieces that get missed. For example Thursday when I went to Michigan for the day (I was gone about 15 hours) I came home to find 5 trains in the toilet upstairs, the water in the downstairs sink running full blast, the cats completely out of food not that it would have mattered because one had been locked in the office and one was in the garage because SOMEONE opened the garage door into the laundry room. Once last week Gus went with no pants while his dried in the dryer because he soaked through his diaper and I didn't bring a spare. On a different day he went without a shirt while I hand washed it because an aunt spoiled him with chocolate...while a white shirt. (Chocolate is horrible to get out once it's set). Gus had to wear one of Teddy's diapers when I forgot to bring enough of his. If I forget the blanket or paci and we are going to be out of the house for naptime...oh man...

I feel that I am really at a disadvantage here because the same kids that make getting out the door so hard also stole pieces of my brain in utero. I pretty sure at my pre-children intelligence level I could have handled getting in a car and leaving even with two midgets in tow with a lot more efficiency (or more importantly, dignity).

I caught myself daydreaming on the drive to Michigan. In my fantasy world my morning looks like this.

My alarm goes off, I get dressed, grab my coffee and have a bowl of cereal that is NOT soggy from sitting for an hour while I'm constantly interrupted. I grab my keys, my phone and my purse (which has NOT unpacked itself while my back was turned and distributed it's contents to different parts of the house).

Then I LEAVE. Period.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Move Over Brother

We brought it on ourselves really...

Since before Teddy was born we have been promoting what an amazing helpful big brother Gus was. We may have to scale that back a bit...

"How nice of you to give brother gentle kisses."
"Thank you for bringing mommy brother's diapers! What a good helper you are!"
"Oh, that's so nice of you to give brother his paci when he's sad."

We were trying to avoid Gus getting jealous of the massive amounts of time and attention the baby would inevitably require, especially at first. We were completely successful. Other that getting mildly annoyed when Teddy nurses for more than 30 minutes ("Baby done eat-eat, no more milk, all done"), he seems to absolutely adore his little brother. Considering what a rough and tumble little boy he is, Rob and I are very relieved that he doesn't seem inclined to hurt him out of malice.

Gus tries very hard to help whenever Teddy cries. He would first find me and announce that "Teddy sad!" I would reply that I could hear that and thank him for telling me. Then he would offer me suggestions for fixing the situation. 

"Baby shooeys?" 
"Baby need milk?"
"Baby need paci?"

...Until this week. Apparently proud of what a great big brother/helper he is, he decided to help even when Teddy wasn't crying. Rob and I are a little worried (read: terrified) that he is going to love Teddy to death (or a broken arm). "Brother need eat-eat!" Or at least that was the explanation I got for why he fed the baby a peanut. Every morning this week he has woken the baby up with the comment "Need brush hairs in morning! Make brother look nice!" And then there was the heart-stopping few seconds it took me to cross the room when the baby started crying on the couch and Gus tried to pick him up to hand to his arm.

Yesterday I had laid the baby down for his nap in a little Moses basket sitting next to the couch. What this picture doesn't tell you is that the baby was sleeping just fine on his own. Gus climbed off the couch, shoved the baby to the edge of the basket, said "Move over brother," climbed in with him (waking the baby), put his arm around the baby, informed me that "I help brother sleep. Need go night-night"

Oddly enough, the baby nuzzled up to him and went right back to sleep. What a good big brother he is!