Parenting Confessions: Rotten Days Suck

Those days. You know the ones. You’re out of creamer, you oversleep and everyone coordinates the day to get out of bed on the wrong side. They then proceed to bicker and argue and antagonize each other (and the dog) until the moment they walk out the door to go to school.

Yep, that’s me. Right now. Right smack dab at the end of a really rotten one. I’m sitting on the couch calming myself down so I don’t scream. I hate being screamed at. But that’s what my first instinct is to do. I hate yelling. I hate being angry.

My dear daughter decided it would be funny to put her pajama pants in the toilet to pretend she had peed her pants. This was after she’d put half a tube of toothpaste into the sink to see what an “ice-cream swirl of toothpaste” would look like. For. The. Second. Time. Today. It’s not like I’m not paying attention. I’m not sitting on the couch watching TV. I’m doing homework with one kid, while the other one is “going to the bathroom”. Or so I thought.

I was given a bit of parenting advice when my first was just a few months old. It was that “whatever you do, you have to live with the consequences; good, bad, or indifferent.” At the time, the issue of our days was whether or not to co-sleep. With our son – it’s worked out beautifully. He is now six and sleeps like a champ, often going to bed on his own. We thought the day would never come when we were in the midst of mattresses on the floor and playing bed-switcharoo for a few years. We have friends whose kids (the same age) say, “I’m tired. I’m going to bed. Goodnight!” and will promptly walk upstairs and go to bed. Our kids have NEVER done this. Some may say we created this with our choice to co-sleep. But now, while he likes someone to lay with him until he falls asleep, he goes out very quickly and without a big to-do.

Our lovely little girl, on the other hand, is having a real rough time of it. We do our normal routine, dinner, baths, teeth brushing, stories, etc. But once it’s time to head to dreamland, she throws the biggest fits – needing a drink, needing something more to eat…anything to prolong the actual act of sleeping. It’s wearing on me. Big time. We then usually receive a wake up call around midnight or 1 a.m. We’ve been walking her back to bed, and she’ll go back to sleep, but it usually involves tears and crying.

I have patience (and have learned not to pray for more!) and most days it’s manageable. We are going on about 2 months of this. Looking at the big picture – we’ve had some big upheavals in our world (moving, starting 5-day a week preschool, etc.) and I am sure that has a lot to do with it. But with no real basis of comparison (Jake being entirely different) I wonder if some of her behavior is just normal 4 year old girl stuff. Either way, it’s rough.

Parental confession: Rotten days suck. It makes me question everything. I know in my head, it’s just a bad day. I know that there will be better days. When these days occur, I tend toward thinking that the volume and quantity of tantrums is directly correlated to my parenting skills. It’s not rational. I know that if a friend confessed this to me, I would instantly remind her that we ALL have bad days – even our little ones. So I remind myself that in fact, this too shall pass. It’s just a bad day.

What is your parental confession? How do you cope with the life stuff that drives you bonkers and makes you want to scream? Please share, raise a glass of wine and we can toast each other’s rotten days!


Lemons, Lemonade and other Crap

Ever have the kind of life where everything goes smoothly in ALL areas? Yeah, me neither.

First the good stuff! My daughter was first on the wait list at her PreK and was able to get in class this week! This means I have 3 hours ALONE! To do with as I choose! Yahoo! Do you hear that? Listen really close….
Yeah, it’s quiet! I LOVE that sound!

Having these hours to myself has been just what I’ve needed. For the first time in nearly 6 years, I have a regular time that I am alone. As an introvert, I need this time like I need air. I’ve mainly been using it as exercise time.

The three hours to myself during the week allows me to refocus my goals. One is to be a “streaker” like my niece (you can read her awesome blog here!) and run at least a mile a day consecutively for 100+ days. The other is to complete my yearly mileage goal of 500 miles. This goal was set based on The Proclaimers’ song, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). I’ve reached a yearly goal of 300 before, and I thought 500 sounded good and, well, I just really like that song. And I plan to play it all day long come January 1st! I love going for a solo run…it really is my therapy.

I also use this time to pick up groceries, clean up around the house or do the little stuff that is just so much easier sans minions.  I also play fetch with Buck. A lot. I cherish these few hours.

As for the lemons, it’s been a regular orchard around here this week. After begging to go to school for the past 5 weeks, my daughter has cried and said she doesn’t want to go every. single. day. At pick up, she’s all smiles and laughter and non-stop diarrhea-mouth about how much fun she’s had and what her day entailed. In the morning she seems to suffer from amnesia as it’s tears watching the clock tick down to class time. I know I’m doing the right thing, and we are gentle with our encouragement, but man is it hard on the parental heart to see that lip quiver as she walks away from me.

My son is learning what to do and not to do with our family pet. Poor Buck. The dog has had blankets thrown on him, been chased, chased the kids (Go BUCK!), dodged clumsy legs that weren’t watching where they were going, got too close to mom’s feet in the kitchen, and even taken a tennis ball to the face. On purpose. If Buck the dog were a horse, he would be bombproof. I got the chance to make friends with a lizard as it impaled itself into my legs trying to escape the rain as I let the dog out. That involved the usual squeals and general freak outs. The dog looked at me as if I were insane. I probably aged a decade.

And the pièce de résistance of the week was the call I got from the principal of my dear son’s school. She called to inform me of an “incident” involving both my son and another student. The kid kicked my son, Jacob tripped him and “accidentally” bit him on the nose. How the heck does one “accidentally” bite another? Perhaps we should ask Mike Tyson. Oy.

Yeah, I know. When life hands you lemons…Ugh. It’s so easy to say trite things that we *think* are helpful, but in reality the opposite is true. It’s not helpful. I don’t want lemonade, dammit.  Gimme that glass of wine!

What about your week? Lemonade or wine?