Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Everything on this blog is usually all nicey nice. Why? Because the original point of the blog was to update people on the general goings-on of our lives. Now, even though I have given the link to members of both families, I don't think anyone reads it, but if you do, give me a shout out. :)

The other reason everything is pretty nice here is that I don't have a lot to complain about. Do I have angst sometimes? Sure. But I've had a angsty blog before, and after a while I started to feel like I was spinning my wheels. My angst is about pretty mundane things. I worry about my weight, about money, real estate, the occasional spat with my husband, and sometimes I have an "I've had it up to here!" moment with my three year old. But it's usually not interesting enough to write about.

I don't want people to think I'm giving an overly rosy point of view, though. I have hard days. I've had a lot of them recently.

The first four months of having two kids have been pretty smooth sailing. It's weird--a lot of the things I worried about have not come to pass, and some things are even better than expected. Nora has dealt pretty well with having to occasionally wait her turn for things. Anneliese is a pretty easygoing baby. The house may be something of a wreck for now, but the walls aren't falling down around our ears. Nora really loves Anneliese and wants to play with her a lot. They'll pass a good amount of time giggling and cooing at each other on Anneliese's playmat or on my bed. Sometimes, when Anneliese crying, I can even get Nora to amuse her while I quickly do a needed task like change the laundry over, although I do remember a recent afternoon when I tried desperately to cram a salad down my throat imploring Nora, "Play with her. Talk to her. Come on, please! Just let me have these three more bites!" as the baby's cries escalated (and I finally had to give up my salad).

Recently, though, Nora has stopped napping. I'm not sure what to make of that. She's almost four and I know friends whose kids have stopped napping at much earlier ages. I have even thought a few times Nora was going to give up napping. She seems to demonstrate that she really needs a nap, though. She has been acting out more. If we stay home, we fight--which I hate. I'm having to get more creative with discipline and I'm never sure if I am doing the right thing, although honest to goodness I know I am doing the best I can and I feel really good about that. Most of the time. We have been getting out a fair amount, possibly not enough, but I don't feel very motivated to take out a child who won't behave, and thus the cycle continues. Must find balance. In the past, I've let her play quietly in her room as a good alternative to actual sleeping, but lately that hasn't been working. Lately, there has been a lot of screaming. Hers, not mine. If it's not waking the baby (which it does sometimes), at the very least it has me figuratively digging my nails into my palm and banging my head against the wall. There comes a time when the baby gets up for good and Nora comes out of her room from the psuedo-nap and I fantasize about digging a hole to China. By the time Jason gets home, I am usually trembling with anticipation. Not figuratively.

This has been going on for about a week. Typing it out feels good. It reminds me of other times in my motherhood when I've been frustrated with Nora's behavior, my parenting, or a combination of the two. I just had a memory of when Nora herself was four months old, Anneliese's age. Those were some tough days, too, which is funny to think about because sometimes I think that Anneliese on her own would be so easy to take care of. Nora needed a lot of holding, a lot of attention at that age. I knew that giving her that love and attention was the right thing to do, but it was an adjustment. There were days I felt like she sucked the energy, the spirit right out of me. I am not sure if I will ever be one hundred percent used to having people who need me as much as small children need their mothers. But there have been so many more days that she has lifted me up and I have gotten the biggest high, the most pleasure just from being around her. Most of the time I don't think of Nora as a difficult child (I hate that term, anyway), but she has definitely challenged me a lot over the years. In the big picture sense, I like the challenge. I think it has helped me grow in a lot of ways and do things that I never thought I could do. Still, though. Sometimes there are days, or weeks. Weeks like this last one. Whew.

Feeling better has come incrementally. When Jason got home, I handed Anneliese to him and I retreated to my bedroom for about thirty minutes to catch up with my internets and flip through Atlanta Magazine. Then it was time to get dinner ready, and everything got really crazy and chaotic for... several hours... and that was tough. I stole 10 minutes to wrap up some packages in private and came back feeling more sedate. Finally, I let Jason put Nora to bed (God bless him) and I went to the post office and to Starbucks. I hit the Starbucks in Toco Hills about 3 minutes before they closed. As I handed the cashier my credit card the employee said, "Taking a break from baby duty?" I laughed and said, "How did you know? I must just have that look." It was either my unbrushed hair, my decade-old sweatpants, or the two carseats in the back of the car. Probably a combination of the three.

Typing this helped me feel better. Now, the kitchen awaits. It is 1:47 am.

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