This is a time of year when everyone is busy, I know. So while I am not COMPLAINING, I will say that if you have two preschoolers and a still technically in the newborn phase baby and are nonetheless trying to have a fun! and festive! and meaningful! holiday season, you might on occasion feel like your head is about to explode and that NO ONE has any idea how much behind the scenes work goes into keeping the family Christmas in the style to which it's become accustomed. You'll also have the Magical Memory moments, too, of course, and it makes the head-bursting worth it, but the fact remains that your head is no longer intact. (What was that one weird but also weirdly accurate little sing song rhyme I remember little girls saying when I was a kid? Something including the line, "Mama had a baby and her head popped off!" Anyone remember that? Anyways, now I understand the origins of that particular oddity perfectly.)
Jamie isn't sleeping well again, after a week in which he slept for five straight hours every night and I was starting to feel like a normal person again. One night he even slept SEVEN (7) hours in a row. When I woke up I felt like I'd been given crack cocaine or something. So! Much! Energy! But of course then I made the classic mistake of telling a few people that he was sleeping well, and now the last three nights we've been back to three feedings a night and Zombie Mommy in the mornings. Yay.
We're continuing to have a rough time with Eli, also, and my patience is seriously beginning to dwindle re: pooping in pull-ups without even an attempt to use the bathroom. Which happened THREE (3) times yesterday. Oh, and in the bathtub too! I've had a few days lately wherein I felt like between the two boys I did nothing but wipe butts and try to quiet screaming fits. Oh and soak dirty clothes of course.
Eli was being so obstinate at bedtime the other day, running naked from me and screaming, etc., all while Jameson wailed from his crib, that I finally lost it and broke my cardinal rule by smacking his butt to try to get his attention. Naturally, he just screamed even louder, then ran off and smacked his sister. Ah, the vicious cycle of poorly thought out and heat-of-the-moment corporal punishment! Then I sank to the floor of the nursery, trying to console Jamie while the other two ran wild, and cried for awhile, feeling like the worst, most inept mother ever.
I had that feeling in the store the other day, too, when Eli began tantrumming about a three dollar Nerf football identical to the one we have at home. I said no, explained that Christmas was coming and he'd get new toys then, and tried to move on, but he screamed about it the entire. time. we were in the store. He was still wailing at the check out counter when Addy asked if she could have her promised treat of Smarties. I said yes, but that Eli didn't get any since he hadn't been good in the store per the arrangement for treat-getting. I immediately wished I HAD just given him the dang candy when his screaming ramped up again, this time in fury over the candy. But, my auto-pilot parenting kicked in and I quietly explained that he could try for candy another day but wasn't getting any on this trip. Then I just ignored him as he wailed and thrashed in the cart. I was sure, though, that the entire store was thinking either a: I must be a mean mom since my poor kid had been crying for twenty minutes or b: my kid was a total brat and I was a lousy mother for not getting him to straighten up. My face was red and I stared straight ahead grimly as I waited my turn while the sounds of Eli's tantrum filled the air.
But! As I miserably collected my bags, two different people stopped to tell me I was doing a good job being consistent and not giving him the candy to hush him up. They both went on and on about how lots of parents are too lazy to foll through and that it made them happy to see people sticking to their rules even when it would be easier for everyone to give in. It honestly nearly made me cry. I had felt so sure everyone around me was wishing that my raggedy crew and I would just LEAVE already, and then they were telling me I was doing well! It was like a shot in the arm for my unraveling morale.
So yeah, it didn't make the rest of the day a ton easier, and Eli continues to struggle with the big-brother transition phase. But every time I feel that brain-exploding sensation, I try to remember the nice people in the grocery store who reminded me that for the most part, I am doing okay. My kids will be okay.