I love my children.
I really do. I waited a long time to have them, and for a period of time (about a year) wondered if I would ever be blessed with the opportunity to raise a child (or children) of my own. Lots of needles and doctors and two miscarriages later, I find myself the mother of three beautiful, smart, intelligent, energetic children.
Who are also very tiring.
Deonne has been under a big deadline for work this week - working long, late hours and not coming home some nights until right before bedtime (or just thereafter.) He's working all weekend as well, long days from 8:30 in the morning until who knows when at night. And wouldn't you know it, the timing is impeccable, as the Children's Center was closed Thursday and Friday of this week as the teachers prepare for a new school year. All to mean that I've been single-parenting all three kids for the better part of this week (while still trying to keep up with my own work from home).
I don't know if it's the age the kids are at right now - or their high energy levels - or my disdain and unability to cope with the sweltering heat/humidity (resulting in no outside time and being cooped up all day) but I find it so difficult to keep them all happy and entertained.
It seems that as soon as I get one child involved in an activity, another needs something else, and inevitably that happens when I'm trying to nurse Jack. The whole bathroom issue is another story - suffice to say it's hard to ask an infant to stop eating so I can monitor what James is doing in the bathroom (if he's managed to make it all in the potty or if I need to clorox the bathroom yet again...)
I've tried to come up with fun things to do - partly for my own sanity - but also because I feel bad for the kids. They've not been able to have any vacation this summer (no time available for either Deonne or I to take from work with my extended maternity leave and bed-rest prior.) They need some sort of fun times away from school - and I've tried my best to provide that this week.
So far we've visited the zoo, taken rides on the carousel at the mall (indoors, folks and out of the heat), had movie night where they got to stay up late and watch the Tale of Despereaux, visited Ms. Yolanda and had their hair cut (and styled in Anna's case, including a manicure with God-awful sparkly purple nailpolish), painted pottery at the Mad Platter, had lunch out at McDonalds with friends - and that's just the past two days...
No wonder I'm tired.
So the confession part? As much as I love doing these things with my children, I find myself being short with them. I snap at them, tell them to hurry up, move along, get their head out of the clouds, stay with Mommy, obey the first time - I sound like the mother I told myself I'd never be. I hear my voice barking at them - and think 'is that really me?'
Unfortunately Deonne and I have managed to create two of the most hard-headed and hard-of-hearing small children. I don't ever remember yelling prior to having kids, or having to raise my voice to just be heard. Now it's second nature.
I admittedly get very stressed when I take all three out by myself. I'm so afraid one is going to run off in the wrong direction, or not get in the van when I tell them to and get squished by an oncoming car. I hate that it takes them sooooo long to buckle into their seat belts - as I'm sweating profusely for the 15 minute kid-in-and-out-of-the-van shuffle - because did I mention it's hot here?
I see other moms gently talking to their children, taking their hands, leading them places - and if their kids don't listen they gently remind them to pay attention - and for some reason - it works for them.
I've tried that with my crew - Lord knows I've tried - it just doesn't work.
I wish I was that mom. I wish I had more patience and understanding that for this age - it really does take 45 mintues to locate their shoes (even though they are right where they always are - in plain sight next to the basement/garage door) and put them on - because they have to finish what they're doing - be it magnet dolls or coloring - or driving in laps around the house in the cozy coupe.
If anyone reading this has any tips for how to shuffle three kids around (ages almost 5, 2 1/2, and 4 months) while keeping everyone happy without losing your mind - please share....
And keep your fingers crossed that the planned activity for this afternoon (decorating bug cakes that we made this morning) goes well and doesn't result in the entire kitchen being coated in various shades of icing.