Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday's Tears - Frustration

My natural reaction to frustration is to cry.  Or yell.  I try not to do either too much in front of the kids.

Because I’m not often afforded the luxury to be alone when I’m frustrated, I’m glad I’ve learned a few other coping skills along the way.  I’m not sure any of them are sufficient recently to help me with the frustration I feel with my kids somedays.

Having 4 kids 5 and under is challenging.  We’ve been talking at church about how children are a blessing and though I wholeheartedly agree, I’d probably argue that one of the reasons they are a blessing is that they stretch us in ways we wouldn’t be stretched without children.  Ideally that stretching makes us rely more on God and less on us.  Hopefully what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.  I have to remind myself that it’s highly unlikely that 4 kids 5 and under would be able to kill their mother; therefore I look forward to the end result of this masterpiece God is continually working on.

I think the particular ages and stages of these kiddos are getting to mie.  Not in an unmanageable way, but in a way that makes mie need more frequent mommy time-outs.  Very few things around my house are easy to accomplish and n extra helping of patience is required.  Or 5.  Here are a few examples of why I get so frustrated:

Last Night
  • I picked up Summer first – she and Logan attend a different daycare than 9 & 10.  She refuses to hold my hand to go to the car because she’s Little Miss Independent.  Rather than head down the hallway to leave she throws herself on the floor in a tantrum.  Clearly I wasn’t doing something her way.  After a minute or two I picked her up and carried her out.  I set her down to open the car door and she runs the other way.  I count to 3 and then chase her down – boy does she love this game.  I finally got her into the car seat and then she screamed until I picked up her glasses.  The glasses that were on the other side of the car.  I had to do the super mommy stretch from the driver’s seat to behind the passenger seat to get them.  Then she was happy – until she saw the box of snacks and needed one pronto.  It was, afterall, 6pm.
  • I then headed to daycare #2 to pick up #9 and #10.  I have to get Summer out of the car and carry her the whole way otherwise she’ll run off in random directions and I have to chase her down.  I picked up #9 from her class and her teacher would like to chat about her day and because she was once my nieces teacher, about my niece and her family.  It’s now 6:20.  I manage to get away to go pick up #10.  I put Summer down to greet #10 (who, by the way is a new walker and understandably still has a bit of separation anxiety).  #10 is happy but Summer throws another massive fit.  I pick them both up – they are easily 60lbs together.  I put Summer down to let her walk to the car and instead she begins playing with the light switches, turning them on and off.  This teacher always has something to correct my kids on.  She also insists on cleaning all of the kids faces and this time almost cleaned my nose.  No joke.  I’m good thanks.
  • On the way back to the car Summer decides again to go running down a hall.  I keep an eye on #9, carry #10 and go chase her down again.
  • We head to pick up Logan – he was at my sister’s house because he’d had a fever.  I turn the wrong way taking mie a few miles out of the way because I’m not used to going to pick him up from there. 
  • Get to the house to pick up Logan – thankfully my nephews, who are older, hang out in the car with the kiddos while I go inside to get Logan.  He would love to stay but is not allowed to by the evil mommy.  Afterall it is now 6:30 and the littles are already starving.  Before I can leave, my niece shows mie the heartwrenching letter she wrote in her 1st grade handwriting about how my son was mean to her.  Tear jerker. 
  • I argue the entire way home with Logan about how he needs to be nice to his cousin.
  • We get home at 6:40ish.  Here’s how that works:
    • Logan gets himself out as I get out of the car.  I remind him not to go inside yet 2 seconds before I hear the alarm going off.  I stop unbuckling the kids and run to turn it off.  I’m greeted by dogs trying desperately to get out the door and Logan begging for a snack from inside.
    • I push the dogs back in the house and close the door.
    • I head back outside to unbuckle #10 and stand him up next to mie before I turn to let the girls out of their seatbelts in the back row.  #10 immediately turns around and heads for something in the garage.  I have to crawl in and out of the back row 3 or 4 times, keeping him out of boxes in the garage while trying to unbuckle the girls.  #9 insists I watch her as she gets out herself.  Summer refuses to get out of the car.  #10 is roaming around the garage.  He puts everything in his mouth. 
    • I eventually pick up Summer out of the car and coax the girls into the house and go back to get #10, who’s now shrieking because he can’t see mie.  As I corral the girls inside, I see that Logan has helped himself to skittles.
    • I pick up #10, take him inside, and set him down in the laundry room after having done a quick glance for hazards otherwise known as anything on the floor or within a 3 ft height where he can reach. 
    • I run to let the dogs out in the back and find that the girls have also found the skittles.  I push all the candy to the back of the counter where none of them can reach.  It doesn’t mean they don’t try. 
    • I head back to the garage to close the garage door and get my purse out.  On the way I catch #10 reaching for the mop.  I move him to the regular hallway and tell him to go find some toys.  He shrieks because I wouldn’t let him have the mop.  #9 comes running to find out what’s wrong.  I assure her he’s ok and finish getting my purse.  I also try to get the dirty clothes and papers the kids brought home, along with the shoes that whichever kid(s) decided to take off and leave in the car. 
    • Finally, we’re all inside, the doors are closed, and no one is in the laundry room.
  • Dinner
    • I immediately start reheating the spaghetti and turn the toaster oven on for Garlic bread.  I’m not sure if there will be enough leftovers so I also start more spaghetti.
    • The dogs scratch the door to come in
    • I tell the girls several times to go play and stop trying to get the candy
    • #10 is at my feet, opening and closing every cabinet door.  I constantly play the open/shut “game” with him while preparing 4 plates of spaghetti and flipping the garlic bread.
    • Logan asks mie 4 times, in a row, whether or not I bought garlic bread (that is sitting on the counter).  I answer yes each time.  He continues to ask.  #10 continues to open and shut drawers.  The girls continue to come back to try and sneak candy off the counter. 
    • Logan comes in with starburst and asks if he can have it.  Though I appreciate the asking, I explain to him that I am making dinner and we will eat soon, so no.
    • I grab an already prepared cup of milk from the fridge for #10.  Summer sees it and wants her own.  I go and get her one as well.  They go back and forth stealing each other’s cups.  As I finish preparing dinner I constantly monitor who has who’s cup and resolve the issue.
    • Logan brings mie his costume to help him put it on.  Then he chases the kids around which is a fun game they play at dinner time.  Then the girls decide they are scared so they hide at my feet, with #10, who is still opening and closing cabinets.
    • I decided I didn’t need to make more spaghetti but had enough for the kids – not mie.  I make myself a burrito.  #10 reaches for the plates on the counter and shrieks every few minutes – I push them farther back on the counter because he can and does grab them down, spilling the food all over the floor, if I’m not careful.  I know from experience.
    • #9 tells on Summer for biting her 2 or 3 nights ago. 
    • I call everyone to dinner – it’s 6:50, 10 minutes after we got home.  I get 2 kids in their high chairs and encourage #9 that yes, in fact, she can get on her stool by herself.  Logan is a no show.
    • I start searching the house for the no show – only after I count to three and then tell him he’s in trouble does he announce himself from upstairs.  #9 is begging mie to start eating.  He begs mie not to make him in trouble, after all he was doing something.  When I asked what he said he was fixing his toy.  I told him he was in trouble, that he had to come downstairs NOW – then I sent him back into his room to get the toy he was playing with.  He lost it for the night.  He taunted mie all night with a similar looking toy by saying “look mom, I have it again”.  Oh boy.  Patience.
    • He lost it with his mouth – he does it from time to time – so he earned time-out while we all started eating.  I scarfed down my burrito before his 5 minutes were up.  #10 has finished his food, except for his bread and begins throwing his stuff on the ground.  #9 reminds mie that if he throws his food on the floor he doesn’t get anymore.  We both remind Summer who has begun banging her plate around.
    • Logan joins us at the table and says something about appreciating the meal.  A peaceful mommy moment.
    • The dogs are scratching at the door, wanting in – I must have let them out again.
    • I start unloading the dishwasher before the kids finish their food.  It’s much easier that way.  Then Summer decides to scream and then started throwing her stuff.  Immediately removed from the high-chair.  She “helps” mie unload the dishwasher – that means I rush between putting away each dish because she’s not very careful with them.
    • I get the other kids down and let the dogs in to clean-up.
  • Bed time
    • It’s now about 7:10, 30 minutes after I get home.  #10 usually goes to bed at 7.  He’s exhausted. 
    • I have to go upstairs to get PJs.  I instruct the girls to stay downstairs.  Neither one does.  They both get in trouble.
    • I send #9 into the bathroom while #10 gets cleaned up, a new diaper, and PJs.  I turn around and Summer is putting desitin on her mouth like lotion.  I turn to clean her up and #10 crawls off.  He’s fast.  He manages to pull a glade plug-in off the wall and throw the tv remote on the floor – which breaks apart everywhere- before I catch him.  I finish dressing him.
    • We say night-night to Jason and rush him upstairs.  Unusually, everyone wants to give him hugs and kisses.  They follow mie upstairs despite my instructions to stay downstairs.  I put him to bed and Logan comes into pray with him, stopping every few seconds to yell at Summer (logan does) to go downstairs. 
    • I tell #9 to put her jammies on.  A few seconds later she’s tied up in a not in her clothes.  She’s also informing mie that she doesn’t have underwear on – I ask her where they went and she has no idea.
    • I get #9 in her jammies and head to put Summer on the potty.  Summer has pooped in her pull-ups.  I instead bring her back to the changing area and clean her up.  Then I put her on the potty and scold her.  I go out to finish cleaning up #9 who is playing with toys. I ask her to clean them up so she can go to bed.  She ignores mie 2x.  I handle that situation and go back to Summer.
    • Summer is crying on the potty and says she’s done.  I get her down and hug her.  Then she runs off naked and I have to chase her.  I finally catch her and realize #9 is still playing with toys.  I stop to correct her again and lose Summer to who knows where…on with the chase again.
    • Finally I get both of them dressed and into their bedroom.  We call daddy to say good night.  We read 2 books.  They get tucked in.  I run out to go look for #9’s doll (she lost it the night before for playing not going to sleep) and while I was doing that Summer got out of bed again.  Logan is in and out asking for his dessert.  At least he didn’t bring in the marshmallows like he did last time.  I tell him if he wants to watch fear factor he needs to go downstairs and put his PJs on.
    • Get the girls in bed, again, and pray for them.  Get the heck out of there after reminding them they are supposed to stay in their beds.
  • Clean-up/Logan Time
    • Logan informs mie he doesn’t want to watch fear factor.  On to him, I tell him he still has to put his PJs on, now and no I would not help him because he chose not to obey the first time.  Suddenly he wants to watch fear factor and begins asking mie every few minutes if its on yet.
    • I do the dishes while Logan plays with a transformer.  I tell him to watch the clock for 8 o’ clock because that is when the show will start. 
    • I finish most of the dishes and then get ready to sit down.  I turn around and realize I missed all the dishes on the island.  *Sigh*
    • It is now 8:10.  We start the show.  Logan asks for 4 snacks while we watch it, as usual.  This time I’m proactive and ask him on commercial breaks what he’d like to have this time for a snack.  He had “the biggest scoop ever” of peanut butter, a popsicle, carrots, and his gummies & chocolate milk – always the last one.  I had a slice of dutch apple pie with vanilla ice cream.
    • I put him to bed after the show – it’s his 3rd night so he sleeps with us.  I tell him to brush his teeth while I get the phone to call daddy.  He says he’s done and is tucked in bed.  I check his teeth – still fuzzy.  I fight with him to use the bathroom, floss, and brush his teeth for about 10 more minutes.  I prep my shower while getting his teeth brushed.
    • I tuck him in and head into the shower.
  • My time
    • He turns on the light and begins reading his Bible.  During my shower he comes into the bathroom to let mie know his Bible has a ripped page.  I tell him I’ll fix it but that he needs to get back into bed now and give mie my privacy.  He knows this.
    • When I’m done with my shower I get my hair ready (takes about 5 minutes) and get my PJs on.  I go into my room to find that he is not laying down at all.  I put him back in bed and go let the dogs out one more time.
    • I come back in and he’s out of bed again. I gave him way too many chances tonight.  He finally goes to sleep at 10:30 or so, 80 minutes after I put him down.
    • I watched intervention before going to sleep.  Called my husband, then called it a night.

I had originally planned to type out this morning’s adventure too, but decided against it after giving you the play-by-play of last night’s fun.  This is the normal level of craziness around our house.  I get frustrated for sure.  My back is all tense right now just thinking about it. 

With all of the kids at a different phase right now it makes it a little more challenging than in the past where we had Summer & #8 in the same phase and though different, #7 and Logan could do a lot of things together.  Now it is most certainly 4 different kids with 4 different sets of needs.  

But I remind myself that this adventure doesn’t last long.  They grow up and out of this phase (and into the next).  I know my time with all of them, especially the fosters, could be short.  I know that His grace is sufficient for mie and He brings mie rest. 

And the dutch apple pie a la mode helps too.


Flakymn said...

Our night adventure started at 7pm and just ended. It is 9:38pm.

Feel you friend -- hang in there!

MamaFoster said...

Lol, when I had four, all around the age of to I. Wanted to cry almost every day. My days were very crazy just like yours. I think you are doing pretty good for what you have to work with :)

Monkey Momma said...

This made me giggle several times. I know it's never funny in the midst of it, but later it will be. Hang in there friend!

Does it mean anything when my word verification is "ornery". Hahahha!