And another day begins

The following returns me to my roots of blogging. I just need to talk it out and you can come for the ride or not. It’s not pretty below and not all that entertaining. After two months of silence, tis is what I’ve got.

You know, I’ve been at this blog thing for quite a while.  Not the longest commitment I’ve ever made.  That would have been my cats. Who knew when I was 21 that I would still have the same cat I couldn’t resist in the 3-day special cage at the pound. I’ll be 39 this year and she and I are still going strong. Comrades have passed, but Kiska, man, she just keeps truckin’ (if by truckin I mean she sleeps all day in the same place on the bed. Jumping off for treats in the morning only to be back on the bed when I try to make it without disturbing her.)

Then there is my marriage. If that’s not a commitment… Well, let’s just say I take commitment seriously.

Then there is the kid.  He is the easiest commitment I have ever made. Not that it was easy having him – years in the making. Nor is it easy on a daily basis. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done ,this Mom gig. But it is like breathing. I know nothing else at this point.

But you know, it is hard. This last week has been hard for a million reasons. My thyroid meds are still not right after four different medications and adjustments. It takes me about five days to figure out that the bone-tired exhaustion, loss of coherence and memory loss is not just a bad night of sleep.

Sparky has been working a million hours and it’s still not enough so he works a million more. And sweet Max decided to stop sleeping again, going to bed later and later, waking up at midnight asking to eat, waking up at 5 am to start his day.

It took me 3 weeks to realize it was a new sleep pattern for the kid and not a few nights off. After days of different non-solutions, I finally revisited the sleep training he and I used the first time he learned to sleep through the night.  And finally, after days of sitting in front of his door with the video monitor in hand, telling him to get back in bed at the exact moment he tried to leap out, well, last night it worked.

At the same time, Max has hit his terrible twos. I don’t know how to deal with this new phase. I’m at a loss.  The stern voice that worked 3 weeks ago is completely ignored. No now means “Sure, go ahead and drop mommy’s phone into the toilet.”  My phone might as well join my mothering skills, self-esteem and energy.

I became the screaming mom with the shitty kid.

But I don’t have a shitty kid. I have a great kid who needs boundaries and structure and a mom who knows how to create those in a functional way that does not include screaming.

I felt like all I was doing was screaming and although it was not working, I didn’t know what else to do. Now I get on my knees, look into his eyes, say no and then offer something else. This works, but I’m on my knees more than a 2 dollar whore.  And then, before I can get up, he’s into something else I have to say no to.

On top of all of this, I need to shit or get off the pot with kid number two. I want another for a multitude of reasons, but I have no idea how I would do it. No idea.  The thought of another kid moves me to tears (and panic attacks) because I feel like i’m fucking up so much already. I’m so tired. I can’t think straight with one, how in the hell would I do another. I see all these women, all my friends, doing so much and having 1,2, or 3 kids in tow and they do it.  It might not be easy, but it seems easier for them than my one and my one kid is a good, mellow kid. He really is low maintenance.

I went out twice last week and twice I lost major items. The first time it was my sunglasses. My exorbitantly expensive sunglasses I had trouble justifying because really who spends that much on sunglasses even though I haven’t lost a single pair of sunglasses since I was 22 and I wear sunglasses every single time I leave house. And the second was my GPS, Gloria.  Sure, she takes me through fields or through downtown Frankfurt on my way to Claire’s, but she likes to see the countryside. I know she’ll take me for a drive while getting me to my destination.  I need her. And I lost her.

Then both items were found in the trunk of the car. I had no memory of putting them in the trunk. I guess if I did, they wouldn’t have been lost.

All of these feelings of crapiness came to a head last night.  Markus came in from a long day of appointments to find me feeding Max boxed, non-organic mac and cheese while drinking a glass of wine. I rarely drink anymore and I never drink when it is just Max and I because I worry too much about not thinking clearly in an emergency.  (In my defense, I knew Markus would be home momentarily.)And see, I’m judging myself even now for having two sips of wine while alone with my kid.

Then this morning, at 6:15 am, when Max came into our bedroom, climbed up on the bed and said “Mama!”,  yesterday and all my self-inflicted judgements and insecurities floated away. I saw life through Max.

The morning washes away the day before and he just can’t wait to explore the new day with me. Me. The mom who can’t remember shit anymore and who drank wine while alone and who screamed at him and isn’t as physically fit as she once was and whose body looks like she had 8 kids and whose laundry is on the floor and who can’t remember shit anymore… did I just say that? it feels like I might have said that.

None of that mattered to him. He just wanted to point out letters and play trucks and eat good stuff and drink juice from a cup and he wants me to do it with him.

And that’s all I really need to do.

17 responses to “And another day begins

  1. I think a mosquito just flew into my eye…

  2. WOW ! I don’t read you for a while and look what happens ! We merged lives ! I too am dealing with hypothyroidism, mommy hood and good old fashioned anaemia to boot .. some days are down, some days are up .. but everytime my baby wants ME over anyone else, it makes my day :) (that and it makes me sing Stevie Wonder songs and cry a lot hahah)

    I hope you’re feeling better soon but I am so glad you found your silver lining in the mean time ..

    *hugs*
    X

  3. a) what markus said
    b) we need to get together
    c) boweltown, bremen or hamburg? let’s make it happen this spring/summer

    sending tons of hugs!!

  4. I’m not a parent, so I can’t comment on parenting skills, but I reckon you are doing a pretty good job. You have your son’s well being at the forefront of your mind and all you want to do is be a good mum. People who think this way can’t be anything but good parents.
    Please give yourself a break for having a bad day (or two) and occasionally yelling when you know you shouldn’t. Bad days come to all of us, but tomorrow is always a new day with no mistakes in it.

  5. What a lovely way to find your balance again. Max sounds as lovely as ever and you sound like a great mum! I hope that things carry on improving and that your doc finally finds the right thyroid meds for you!

  6. When things get crappy and I find myself moaning about this or that, it’s always my two ladies who bring me back to what’s important. You’ve really captured the core of what it really means.

  7. Oh Jen… my dear, dear, dear friend Jen, who I met in person only once, but love like someone I was born loving…

    We need to chat again. We need to have another Skype call, like the one where you said ALL the same panicky things about how you could never have A kid (ONE kid, the FIRST kid) for all the same reasons that you gave for not being able to fathom a second kid. Take it from someone who completely relates to you… AND had four kids within five years (because dammit, that’s just the way it happened).

    You can do this second kid thing. You, of all people, should do this second kid thing — for Max, if for no one else.

    (Not to play the guilt card.)

    Skype me. I look like shit. But Skype me!

    Hugs,

    Carol

  8. Jen, sweetie, this is a really hard stage with kids. No patrons give us more crap than moms with 2 year olds–unless it’s (Himmel!)the moms with a 2 year old AND a 1 year old. There’s a reason my kids are 4 yrs apart, and it’s not just the day care cost issue…

    Max needs those boundaries and it’s shitty having to be the heavy and deal with them, but I am cheering you for doing so. Especially since I just this morning had to deal with a twitty nanny “reasoning” with a 2 yr old I KNOW is spoiled rotten over why she couldn’t eat Goldfish in the library(!)
    Rule #1–you don’t “reason” or “explain” to a kid not old enough to hold up their end of the discussion!!

    Every time you do this and it sucks remember: you are not raising a child, you are raising a future adult. It’s a rotten job, but someone has to do it or you get the sort of nasty adults who think the sun shines out their assholes.

    And one day when people comment on what nice manners Max has (and the will), you’ll be able to smile smugly and know that it was all this that did it.
    Doesn’t make up for the crap, but it goes a long way.

  9. Library Lady,

    I LOVE YOU! Couldn’t have said it better myself. And I don’t just compliment you because you’re Jewish and I kinda sorta have a thing for that. You don’t speak with a British accent on top of that, by any chance?

  10. Thanks guys. I can’t believe anyone even comes around these parts anymore. Sparky and I had a morning to ourselves today and i feel a whole lot better. We had our nanny and our cleaning guy here so we came home after a morning talking about things other than Max and then to a clean house.

    Jillby: where have you been? I too have the anemia thing that i can’t shake. the combo makes for one tired girl. are you taking pills or injections for the anemia.

    Kim: We really do have to get together soon. Max still has that great head smell. let’s figure it out.

    Riyan: Thanks Lady. I’ll only know when he grows up to be a decent human, but most of the time i think i’m pretty good. He digs me and i don’t think its’ from traumatic bonding.

    Thanks Emily. I go in tomorrow for more blood work and hopefully 5th time’s the charm!

    Ian: he really does bring me back. His little face and smile and bam. He’s not mine, i’m his.

    Carol, we will have to skype soon. I can’t actually do anything about getting pregnant until the thyroid is stable because well, you CAN’T get pregnant until it is. And perhaps by that time, i’ll not be so tired or overwhelmed. I think about you and your kids all the time. I have no idea how you did it. Really. No idea. And they are all awesome. all my love and we’ll talk soon.

    Library Lady: My aunt told once that raising kids is like a pyramid. you do a lot of work in the beginning, lay a solid fountation and as they grow up, you have to do less and less for them to turn out to be a solid adult.

    I read about your library kids. Max is better behaved in general, but it is a fear that he’ll run into someone’s house and rip everything a part and start screaming at me. He’s more likely to climb a counter top and attempt to fly (a favorite past time).
    Btw, i read to him books off your list all the time. Reading has been his most favorite thing since he could pick up a book. thanks for all the great tips.

  11. Sorry, Sparky, my accent is NY/Bronx, though my mother tried to iron it out of me and I don’t think it’s too thick. And nowadays my Virginia raised 11 year old snickers over how I say certain words, including the name of her big sister’s (eep)boyfriend. But I think HER accent is weirder than mine…

    Glad you’re enjoying the book lists,Jen. Nice to know SOMEONE is using them. A lot of my folks here don’t. They come in for programs, unapologetically let their kids do the sort of things you fear Max will do and then leave w/o a single book. And then I assume they go home and plop them in front of another “Baby Einstein” video, or set them up to play “Brainy Baby” sort of games on their IPads. Gag.

  12. {{hugs}} I am too tired to be as articulate and thoughtful as anyone above me but “what they said.” You are awesomeness…

    As far as 2 kids go, Any doubt I had about having 2 kids (and believe me-I had DOUBTS!) disappeared the other day when we had this conversation.

    Son#1 -can you put the baby down?
    me: umm..no honey. I have some stuff to do and he likes to be held blah blah..
    son#1: Oh, I just wanted to play with him.

    Whenever I am about to pull my hair out and head for the hills, I repeat -”this is a phase, this is a phase, this is a phase…. ”

    {{hugs}}

  13. Hope the thyroid is doing better. I suspect that once that is a bit more manageable, the sleep and crazy kid thing will seem better. It is just a phase and saying “No” now means you say it less when they are five and up. Seriously, there are things my kids don’t even ask anymore because they just know.

    I had number two when number one was 2 years and 4months. And number two was a more demanding kid, but I found it easier because I had done it once before and I knew it was a phase, kid one went to pre-school for a few hours a week, and once in awhile I drank a whole glass of wine in front of them. They survived and are now insane little first and third graders who just love life. But only you can know if it is right – and it is perfectly acceptable to join the one and done crowd. Hang in.

  14. Wow, what a great post. Even though I tend to avoid “Mommy posts” I do read yours because I find the transition you’ve made interesting (in a good way).

    I’ll never experience what you’re actually talking about, but I can definitely tell that you have found your niche in life. Congats.

  15. Nothing I can say that hasn’t been said already really. Seems to me from what you’ve written that you’re doing just fine. A great courageous post.

  16. We all go through this. We all say wth am I doing? I’m screaming. We all have those days and the two (and sometimes the threes and in my case the almost fives and nines) can be really freaking trying. But then the kids go to sleep and you check on them one more and see the cuteness and feel the love. And you know you’re doing what you were menat to be doing.

    Judge yourself less. Max is a happy, healthy, normal boy who’s testing his boundaries and growing in leaps and bounds. I promise a second one will not be easier, I can’t promise things that won’t happen. But I can promise this, double the love, the joy and the moments that tell you every single crappy part was and always will be completely worth it.

    Go easy on yourself. It sounds like you’re doing just fine.

  17. You are amazing Jen, and not just because you call me from across the Atlantic. You are smart and you know what will make you kid a well-adjusted, independent adult who people like being around (ala Library Lady). That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck sometimes.
    On the second kid issue – don’t sweat it. You’ll do fine. (Please don’t hold my six weeks of hell in Jan/Feb over my head as I say this). I remember having the same thoughts before the LilMoose. The “I have a great kid and some days this is seriously all if not more than I can handle. How the hell can I do two? What am I in for if the second is not as cool as the one I have? Am I sacrificing my own sanity to give my kid all the worthwhile parts of having a sibling?” thoughts. You’ll be fine.
    Yes, things are a bit more busy. Yes, many aspects still feel brand new even though you’ve sone this before. But yes, many parts of it are much easier than they were the first time. And yes, it’s wonderful. Do it despite your doubts. Because it’s people like you I want rasing the future adults of this world.
    love, C

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