in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

raw

if you've come for witty reparte or a good old fashioned poop story, today is not your day.

if you've come to witness me using words as catharsis, you're in luck.

tonight was one of my least favorite nights of my life. it climaxes (nadirs) with this scene: john, red-faced and screaming "i don't want you, mommy!" over and over.

charlie in his wrap, muffledly crying as he buries his face in my shoulder.

me, nearly hysterical, yelling god-knows-what (i truly don't) through sobs and tears.

* * *
how did we get there? not all at once, of course. in dribs and drabs of bad behavior meets inappropriate response with a mix of too-tired thrown in for good measure.

we've been struggling, my husband and i, to help john through a very difficult time. best I can tell it's a culmination of a year of change that was enough to leave my grownup head spinning - and i chose most of that change, unlike john. john's been acting out at home and at school - disruptive, not listening, back-talking, hitting, hitting himself. we quickly realized that our fairly traditional parenting methods of spankings, punishments and threats of punishment weren't working. in fact they only made matters worse.

we've been working hard on gentle, positive parenting, and when well-executed john responds very well to it.

the problem is: i am truly terrible at it. i do well for a short stretch, and then ... boom. i fail. Not always as spectacularly as tonight, but tonight just emphasizes to me how i am not holding up my end of the bargain for this brilliant, brilliantly spirited, energetic child.

he deserves so much more. my prayer is that i might find an inner source of grace to give to this beautiful little being and help him learn to do good in the world with all the strength he has.

our children are little mirrors of ourselves, and what i saw tonight was ugly indeed.

i'm so very sorry, my john. i will keep trying, keep learning, and love you no matter how much i backslide, yell, and fall.

Friday, May 16, 2014

it can only get less crappy from here.

left: why we lowered the crib mattress
right: the best happy meal price EVAH

disclaimer: if you are poop-averse, you might want to keep on scrolling by. i won't share any gross pics or extreme details, but this is a baby bowel movement story. if you can't find the humor in those, i'll be funnier next time, i promise.

this morning, i was running late. (surprise!) but like, REALLY late.

we've been struggling a lot with some of john's behavior lately (more on that another day), which requires some extra time and energy and intentionality in our day, and mornings are always a little on the rough side, timing wise. add to that the simple fact that i slept too late and we were not set up for success!

however, we got through with no major disasters. we were late, but just about ready - john was dressed, charlie had been fed and dressed and was happily playing in his crib while i put on my shoes, brushed my teeth, and collected the last few odds and ends.

i swept into charlie's room to scoop him up and get him into his carseat.

and i stopped dead in my tracks.

in front of charlie in the crib was an odd-colored puddle. my first thought was sheer alarm - he spits up a good bit still, so i was VERY concerned that he'd spit up a color other than white milky. and then i realized ... he had just scooted back. it was poop. and he was drumming his hands in it. it was everywhere.

i picked him up as gingerly as i could and put him on the changing table. opened the wipe box ... and was out.

"hey john, can you be my little helper?" i called into the other room, trying to keep my voice calm and happy.

"what, mama? i'm playing!" came the reply, but in a tone that i knew meant he would help.

"get the wipes out of your bathroom and bring them to me?" i requested saccharinely.

i heard little footsteps, and he grabbed the wipes and headed toward my room. fortunately my husband was in the kitchen and helped john head in the right direction, then came to charlie's room to see if i needed more help.

and i did. this was the most creative painting i had seen in a long time. nearly every part of charlie's body was tinged.

a bucket of wipes and a load of laundry later, i had charlie cleaned up. my husband helped me get the laundry going and finished dressing charlie, and we loaded up to go.

as i put charlie's car seat in the car, i noticed a suspicious yellow hue on his forearm. Grabbing a wipe, i gigged and said, "missed a spot!" as charlie laughed at my antics.

shew, he was clean.

on the way to school, john had a gleeful time watching charlie remove his sock and play with it. "charlie, socks aren't toys, silly brother! but you can play with it."

we got to school, and i was strategizing the quickest way to get boys and the required food/drinks/accoutrements in and me back to the car. i opened the back door and saw ... yellow tinged feet under the socks. more wipes. more giggling.

i deposited the boys in their classes. i gave charlie's teacher a quick explanation and apologized if they found any additional spots that i missed. and i ducked out the door.

the good news: i got ZERO poop on my work clothes. and the day can only get less crappy from here.

(see what i did there? ba dump BING!)