Monday, November 02, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Sigh. Sigh sigh sigh. These sighs are coming up from the very bottom of my toes, it feels like. I have felt like a lousy mom many many times today. I have BEEN a lousy mom at least once today. And the worst of it is, I was actually TRYING. And it just wasn't enough. Sometimes your best is just not enough to handle what's thrown at you. Not gracefully, anyways.


The Sordid Story:
I've been under the weather plus PMSing, so I knew today was likely to be crappy. Therefore, I did everything I could to head it off: I made us a nice nutritious breakfast, I took plenty of medicine, and I didn't worry about house chores other than dishes and laundry. I spent lots of time snuggling and cuddling and being silly with the kids on their level instead of making lists and schedules and trying to push myself. AND (this is very important to note) I was changing Eli's diaper every hour to make sure his rash wasn't going to flare up again. Everyone hung around in their jammies until eleven, and generally were happy as clams.

I asked them what they wanted for lunch, and Addy gave the standard answer: scrambled eggs. We eat a LOT of scrambled eggs around here. So I made that, and oatmeal- a breakfast lunch, nothing wrong with that, right? And I let Addy help me make it and everything. All was well, the kids were eating, and then suddenly Eli got a pained look on his face and announced that he needed a diaper change.

This would not ordinarily be a big deal. But Eli got a diaper rash last week, and even though it's getting better, he is now absolutely petrified of diaper changing and completely loses his mind when he has a dirty diaper that requires extensive wiping. This always happens: one rash flare-up leads to a week at least of diaper changing drama. I dread diaper rashes like some people dread colonoscopies.

You get ONE wipe before he reacts to the discomfort of his rash and begins to scream and flail around maniacally on his bed. One wipe if you're LUCKY. Also please understand: even for Jim, getting Eli immobilized enough to clean him properly is a challenge. For me it's almost impossible. I literally do not have enough upper body strength to match 1) his shockingly muscular thighs, and 2) his adrenaline-fueled INSANITY once he sees a wipe coming his way. Our solution is usually to just wait him out until he's settled down a bit and then try again, then let him scream, then try again, etc. It's a process to say the least. AND I have to change his sheets every day before bed because he's always ended up getting poo on them. It's like I'm laundering changing pad covers for a newborn all over again.

I feel bad for him because he's so obviously terrified and I'm sure the rash causes pain and all. But dude, it's not like it's BLEEDING or anything. I think it's really way more a matter of emotional panic here than actual physical torture. He's just a passionate kind of kid for sure. He tantrums all the time, still, so I suppose it shouldn't shock me that unpleasant diaper changes lead to tantrums too. But when there's poo flying everywhere and getting on my sleeve and on the bed and on his socks and up his leg and he's thrashing and twisting and arching away from me, all while screaming bloody murder as though I'm trying to kill him instead of just CLEAN HIM UP WHICH IS NOT EXACTLY FUN FOR ME EITHER, it's super hard for me not to lose my cool.

All that to say, I totally DID lose my cool this morning, when he had managed to destroy my outfit and his outfit and the mattress protector on his bed and gotten poo in his hair and I had run out of wipes but still hadn't gotten him clean. I was screaming right back at him to just HOLD STILL FOR (something not nice's) SAKE! and not just in a loud voice but a kind of a hissy, mean voice, and it was crossing my mind to just give his thigh a smack to snap him out of his craziness, but I realized that there was no way I should be attempting any sort of corporal ANYTHING right now, because I WANTED to smack him a little more than I should have and...

Gah. It was ugly. I had to just leave him in his screamy, poo-smeared tantrum and go into the hall and cry before I could deal with it again. I finally went back in, and, when all my renewed efforts to help him settle down were futile, I just pinned him down with my elbow and knee (there's something I never thought I'd say regarding my child sigh sigh sigh) and used warm wet washcloths to clean him up. Washcloths which I then threw away, along with the mattress protector, because they were SO gross I didn't even want them in my washing machine. Then I put him in the bath, where he immediately settled down and began playing boats as though the twenty minute fiasco had never even happened.

I however was slumped against the bathtub, having a huge fit of depression about what a craptastic mom I was and how no WONDER the universe wasn't letting me stay pregnant right now, I can barely keep from killing the baby I HAVE... And then Adelay came in, saw my face, made a sad face herself, and gave me a big hug. She said softly, "I so proud of you, mom!" Which made me burst into tears. "Why are you proud of me?" I asked incredulously. "You help Eli when he, when he be's... so CRAZY with his diaper," she explained laboriously, gesturing towards their bedroom. "You're a nice girl!" This, accompanied with gentle back patting.

Just... What do you even do with that kind of sweetness?

I guess maybe I've done a few things right.

(Either that or it's very tragic that my four year old is already good at talking people off a ledge.)

26 comments:

Scottish Twins said...

Addy is such a sweetheart <3

I know it grosses you out to have the pooh in your washing machine, but honestly - it isn't going to hurt anything. Millions of people around the world cloth diaper!!

When my boys have diaper rashes they won't let me come near them with regular wipes - the alcohol in them stings their behinds. I have much better luck with a wet washcloth - you could even rip up some old gross T-shirts you reserve for just this purpose.

Also - with Gabe, it has been bad enough before that I have just put him in the tub, pulled the shower nozzle down and sprayed him butt off so I had to wipe less. I know it's gross and you have to scrub the tub like crazy after you are done, but at least you are wiping less that way. Plus, I think the cool water feels good on their bums.

I hope Eli and you both feel better soon (his bum and your head).

I just keep telling myself we will look back at these days and laugh one day, right?!

Pickles and Dimes said...

Oh, Addy is such an intuitive little girl! That was so sweet.

I have no advice on how to deal with Eli other than to buy those 12-packs of cheap washcloths at Target, cut them in half (or quarters or whatever size will work) and use those until this blows over.

bananafana said...

ever since the UTI and the catheters, Bea won't let anyone wipe her EVER. We had a poo blowout this morning and, as I was changing it, she managed to kick me in the face and then square on hard in the chest. I usually stay pretty calm but I finally lost it. She stuck her foot with her favorite shoes into the poop and I ending up yanking her shoes off and said (in that same hissy mean voice) "there - now you can't wear your shoes. Are you happy?". Lord i felt like an ass. But the diaper changes are wearing me out. I KNOW it doesn't hurt her but she's doesn't want anyone anywhere near her diapers anymore AT ALL. It's all just so entirely unreasonable (even though I understand why at the same time) that it just makes me insane - I keep wishing that I could explain to her that I'm not going to hurt her and have her actually understand. gah

desperate housewife said...

Jess- Yeah, I think I did realize the washcloths are the way to go. However, the wipes I use don't have any alcohol or fragrance to begin with, and are the super-sensitive, cloth like kind. Like, I use them on my FACE all the time. I guess there still must be something in them?!

Fran said...

We have similar issues here with what we term "burning poop" and my husband usually takes off the offending diaper and puts the baby in the tub and uses the shower wand to clean her up. Unfortunately once he has done this super hero dad thing he is finished and I am left with the tub o poo to clean up. When Dad is not around I usually employ the hold-her-down-and-get-it-done-as-fast-as-possible plan. Mmore screaming, less mess. Hang in there!

Flibberty said...

Oh jeez, that story just made me tear up. You have one sweet and empathetic daughter. Way to go!

Mimi said...

Oh I would give that sweet girl anything she wants... what a sweetheart! I'm so sorry about the diaper rash. My two-year-old thrashes around during diaper changes for no apparent reason and it is the most maddening thing ever. I don't blame you for being stressed by the whole situation.

parkingathome said...

Oh honey. Oh honey. Hug hug hug. I'm so sorry you had to feel this when you're already feeling so ick.

Do you still have the bottle they give you at the hospital to spray your perineum clean? Maybe a little bidet action til he's over the worst of the rash will be helpful. I also think the t-shirt idea is a good one, no courseness of fiber to worry about on the bum. Good luck, and I'm proud of you too, you're a great mom to raise such a caring young lady.

Marie Green said...

Very timely considering that just last night I angrily and dramatically flushed my daughter's candy necklace down the toilet, to her complete horror. I chalk it up to edginess of going off of zoloft... but jebus she was being a pain. Sneaking candy, lying to me, and (the STRAW) attacking her sister and LEAVING MARKS when her sister told on her.

All jerky behavior, SURE, but did I really need to go into a fit myself? And flush her candy?

I felt so badly afterward. Gah.

Also, your daughter's comments and patting KILL ME. What a sweetie pie!

Swistle said...

1. Adelay is totally right.

2. I would have thrown away the washclothes too.

Shelly Overlook said...

Ditto that Addy is completely right and even Mary Poppins would have lost it a little, not to mention throwing the stuff away was totally the right thing to do.

Mommy Daisy said...

We've all been there. I'm sure it will get better soon. I totally lost it today at naptime. It was so silly too once I stepped back from it. Oh well. I guess we all get there once in a while. This too shall pass.

Jess said...

Oh I am so sorry you're feeling this way about what happened. Because you know what? I read this as HOLY SHIT she is a good mom. For real. The situation was terrible. You were in the heat of the moment. You were tempted to smack him to calm him down. And yet EVEN THEN in the middle of all that you STILL were reasonable enough to know that you couldn't make a rational decision about that right then, and you walked away for both of your sakes. That's GOOD parenting, in my opinion.

Jana said...

Ugh - diaper rash is the worst. I love parkingathome's bidet idea. I am so going to try that next time my little guys get a rash because my whole hissing/holding down routine doesn't work anymore, either. And how sweet is Addy? Her sweetness is proof you're doing a great job as a mom.

Tess said...

Oh hon. I totally would have thrown them away too.

I have SO been there. I once (omg) smacked my daughter's leg during a diaper change because I literally could not hold her down. Sigh.

xo

Kelsey said...

They drive you to the brink and then tap you on the shoulder and ask if you're okay - again and again and again. Sigh.

Sorry today was hard, but I think you're doing a spectacular job!

Harvard Housewife said...

i am saving this post for when I have two kids because it was great. i sympathized, i laughed, I almost cried. You're an awesome mama. don't forget it!

Tracy said...

that was so sweet of her!

d e v a n said...

Addy was right. You did good.

CAQuincy said...

This puts my stupid hissy fit this morning with my daughter over BRUSHING HER HAIR into perspective. I mean--what's ratty hair when compared to colossal amounts of poop smeared everywhere?

Adelay--what a sweetie!

This too shall pass.....

Katy said...

Honestly, I'm just glad that I'm not the only person who has moments like that.

My MIL only uses warm, wet washcloths on Charlie hiney--maybe you could go to the dollar store and pick up some cheap ones for these kinds of moments if you don't like them to go in your washing machine.

artemisia said...

Oh, I think you are awesome. I would not have handled it as well as you. No, AS WELL AS YOU. You knew to walk away. I don't know that I would have.

Hang in there.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I totally ditto what Jess said about it sounding like GREAT parenting, actually: you did everything you could to set yourself up for success at a crappy time when, frankly, you could have used a mommy to come and cook YOU lunch and let you play at whatever YOU want to do. Then? When the s--- hit the fan? (Please tell me it didn't actually) you knew you needed a break and you took it. The hissing, mean voice? I've so been there. Not proud of it but there it is. I know we're not alone in that.

I've now thrown away more items of poopy cloth than I ever thought I would including a brand new gorgeous towel. There are some things that I just never want to see again. Give yourself a pass on that without even a worry.

And Addy? WOW. Just WOW. She learned that empathy from somewhere and you don't have to look far to figure it out. Good job Mommy. Your kids won't say it for years or maybe ever so let us all say it for them: GOOD JOB.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you just had one of those days, and you are just human. Please remember that your daughter learn her behavior from someone (hint hint) and that someone must be a pretty good mom.

Suburban Princess said...

We all have our Mom of the Year moments...it comes with the territory. When my son is getting his diaper changed we start with singing songs like Tommy Thumb and Itsy Bitsy Spider to distract him before the drama begins.

To keep him from getting into his diaper I put him in a onesie under his jammies so he doesnt have easy access to the poop!

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

OK, first off, your daughter is a love-muffin :) And ditto to what everyone else said. She got that compassion and empathy from someone, and being that she's home with you all day? I'm willing to bet good money it was you.

(On a side note... how do kids know how to come up with that sweetness when a) you need to hear it and b) when you've just lost your sh*t?

We just had the worst diaper rash of my 18 month old's life because she pooped while in bed and fell asleep. (weird, yes). Woke at 4am with her rear on fire. I got what I could off and hosed her down in the tub. For the next three days, she got tub baths after every poop. Sucked. But worked.

(And I cloth diaper but while I don't mind that, the idea of a poop covered towel in my washer grosses me out too. No one can begrudge you for throwing that away. :)