Thursday, September 1, 2016

Groundhog Day

"Hun. Could you get up and get him. Please?"

Another 5 AM wake-up call after a night where Teddy woke up once in the middle of the night. Wait - maybe it was twice. I can't remember. (Although I can remember running into the door frame as I went to get him back to sleep.)

Tim doesn't usually answer my request right away, because we are both secretly giving in to that amnesia state of mind where Teddy falls back asleep, both kids sleep past 7 AM, Clinton and Trump drop out of the presidential race, and all is right with the world.

But, after a few moments of Teddy squawking - followed by him banging his paci against the crib's bars of oppression - Tim rolls out of bed and trudges towards the door. It's our unspoken contract:  I get up with Teddy in the night, and he lets me sleep in for an extra fifteen minutes so I can be a kinder, gentler soul.

Fast-forward to 7:30 AM, where Tim is kissing foreheads and running out the door while I'm pouring myself a strong cup of coffee. Breakfast gets made, put on the table, partially eaten and thrown everywhere. I send the kids off to seek and destroy play while I clean up the Cheerio carnage, all while downing my own bowl of Moses-knows-what.

Playdough, play dates, bikes, blocks, pretend kitchen, arts and crafts...this section of the day features my better mom moments, where Patient Pam reigns and the kids are in pretty decent moods.

12 PM:  Lunch time (the one meal that isn't thrown all over creation and back), followed by nap time for Ted and "quiet time" for Abby. "Quiet time" is a pretty relative phrase. It's mostly a "play independently in your room and don't you dare wake the 19-month-old while I lay on the couch in a comatose state for 20 minutes" time.

Everything past that point is a bit of a crap shoot. I realize that the house looks like a grizzly bear had a dance-off with Hurricane Katrina, and I desperately try to clean anything to make it look like I'm a competent adult that adults on a regular basis. I'm usually fielding work calls, emails and texts around this point, too, all while Teddy gets more and more anxious about the fact that I'm refusing to sit with him on the couch and watch Leapfrog or Sesame Street episodes for the seventieth time.

4:30 PM:  Dinner prep. Or, more accurately, "the hour of reckoning", where I lock the kids out of my pitifully small kitchen in order to protect them from the stove. I frantically try to cook something that can be eaten by my picky daughter AND my allergen-ridden son AND still taste desirable to myself and Tim.

Locking my kids out of the kitchen is, of course, perceived by both my children to be a sign of me shutting them out of my life forever and ensuring them that they will never eat or drink again.

I toss graham crackers over the gate like I'm feeding leaves to the giraffes at the Detroit Zoo. This ensures me incremental .75 seconds of peace and ensures that my children won't even try a single bite of whatever the hell I'm serving for dinner.

Dinner is served around 5 PM. I eat it cold. The sight of the dishes in the sink make me literally lay on the hardwood floor in exhaustion. The kids crawl on top of me in fits of alternating giggles and sibling rage (because one is taking up too much space on mommy and it's not their turn and so on).

The rest of the evening is a cyclone of daddy-coming-home-let's-play-bath-time-bed-time. I lay on the couch after it's all said and done like a defenseless slug, a shell of a human being, who still has emails to answer. I fall asleep on the couch halfway through a glass of wine and ten seconds into a show that I've been trying to watch for weeks, waking to Tim's gentle shake of my shoulder so I can slupp my way up the stairs.

I sleep for ten seconds, and it's 3 AM, and Teddy's awake. I somehow make it down the stairs, pour him a sippy, give him a couple of quick drinks, and put him back to bed. It takes twenty minutes - tops - but it always feels so much longer than that in Lack-O-Sleep-Ville.

My head grazes the pillow. It's 5 AM. And Teddy's awake.

"Hun. Could you get up and get him. Please?"

___

Parenting really is Groundhog Day. But it all happens in such a way that major milestones happen and you don't even fully realize it until the moment has flown by.

We blink, and Teddy moves up to the toddler room at school.

We blink, and Abby is practicing writing her name with a colored pencil on construction paper, her tongue stuck out in concentration and her eyes so focused they could set the paper on fire.

Doctors appointments happen five blinks from now, where we're told Teddy has exploded in height, hence the pants that are too short and super loose around the waist. At the sixth blink, Abby needs new shoes, and she insists on ones that flash so she can endlessly entertain herself by jumping down a darkened hallway in the house. At the seventh blink, Teddy is pointing to his crib to put himself to bed - not wanting to snuggle anyone but his stuffed turtle and pacifier.

...I'm so exhausted I can barely move, let alone write, but I don't want to close my eyes to go to bed. Another set of blinks will propel us all forward. I'm not ready for that.

Although I am definitely, definitely ready to start sleeping past 5 AM.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Keep moving forward

It's been ages since I've written up a blog.  And truthfully, it's not for a lack of trying - it's embarrassing how many half-hearted, lousy entries I have drafted and stored away, never to be seen by anyone but me.  (Well, me AND the NSA.)

I keep stumbling upon topics that make me unbelievably passionate, topics that have me stewing for the entire day as I mull over ways to say what I want to say.  As soon as I get to the keyboard, though, I blank.

...Actually, it isn't blanking.  It's almost as if my brain is shutting down before I allow myself to spill out all of the pent up frustration and emotion that I've been twisting and twirling endlessly in my head.  A cross between mental fatigue and a safeguard.

For example, the whole story regarding the gorilla and the three year old threw me into this downward spiral of reading way. too. damn. much.  I read articles about what happened, and then the comments on those articles (which, might I add, is a one-way ticket to hating humanity for me).  Then I read through the mindless memes that people plastered over their Facebook pages - one in particular was of the gorilla saying something to the tune of "I was taking better care of the kid than its mother".

Then I read the multitude of blog articles, supporting what I will snarkily call "The Common Sense Clause" in which the toddler *feigned gasp of surprise* is more important than the gorilla, and the mother *more dramatic feigned gasp of surprise* had a moment of sheer, you know, motherhood when her toddler bolted from her.

So, I developed the rhetoric in my mind.  I layered the sass with the facts, figured out the exact tone I wanted to use throughout the blog, and sat down at the computer...

....Only to think "Screw it.  It's not worth it."

The same can be said for the political situation that our country has thrown itself into.  As far as how we look on an international scale, we're currently somewhere in the vicinity of a reality TV show that hasn't ever seen a rating above that of "Caillou".  I am disgusted and mortified for the state of our nation, where we're continuously distracted from the corruption of those that govern us by senseless and divisive issues.

The horrendous shooting in Orlando is an ideal example of this.  Over 50 people lost their lives.  Unmade beds and unfolded laundry in baskets.  Endless piles of tissues by mothers' bedsides, baby photo albums left open on coffee tables, covered in tears.  The phones of the dead ringing over and over and over again as friends cross the bridge to the cold, cruel reality that the only voice that will ever answer will be that of the voicemail greeting.

But what has my Facebook feed been flooded with?  Pure, unadulterated, scathing, hateful, bashing bullshit.  "Obama is a spineless leader."  "Trump will take any opportunity to get the Muslims out."  "This is all because of the gun laws."  "You're trying to take away my rights as opposed to going after the terrorists."  And on and on and on and on and on and on andthenoiseneverstopsandit'smaddeningbeyondallcomprehension.

We, as a nation, couldn't even allow for one 24-hour period where we mourned the dead and focused on holding up our brothers and sisters who are suffering from crippling grief and fear.  We, as a nation, couldn't put aside political pandering and buffers that continuously prevent us as nation to fully love the way that we are all called to love.  We, as a nation, failed - and we are all pointing our fingers at the other side like toddlers with tear-stained faces, screaming "It's all their fault".

And, yet again, I sit down to write - and I can't fully formulate a comprehensive thought.

I don't lack for inspiration.  I lack the hope that words calling for compassion and kindness will fall on deaf ears.  When a call for prayers is met with spitting "Prayers don't work, time for action," and a call for action is met with a sneering "You're not turned enough towards God, so it won't make a difference," the whole world is forced into a standstill when we should be actively striving to love one another.

So, for the people out there who are feeling fatigued and frustrated beyond belief:  I hear you, and I love you.  Keep moving forward in action and prayer and however else you can promote peace, even when the rest of the world batters you into a feeling of hopelessness.