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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Teacher In-Service Day!

My kids had an early out day today for a teacher in-service!  Yay!  A full day home with all my babies!!!  Yeah, like I wasn't needing a stiff drink 5 seconds after we walked in the front door.  There is a REASON we send our children to school all day every day.  It's to keep us from killing them.  Oh, please like you weren't thinking exactly the same thing.  I mean, sure I love my kids, but I really love MISSING them.  An early out day seems great in the beginning, and you may even have momentary amnesia thinking that it will be a day full of giggles and rainbows.  But, this isn't my first rodeo people...I had a plan of attack.

First, I didn't want to add to my stress by actually having to MAKE lunch for these people so I did the responsible thing and took advantage of my children's obsession with books.  Thank you Pizza Hut, and Book-It people for providing the "fun" lunch today.  It kept me from strangling my oldest during his inevitable hour long whine session about being hungry and then hating everything that I suggest.  Perhaps it wasn't the healthiest lunch, but anything that curbs my desire to punch an eight-year-old is a good thing.

Next, I bought the ingredients we'd need to make homemade sugar cookies.  I even made homemade icing and had 5 different colors to choose from for decorating.  That's right, I'm the best.  Go ahead and pat me on the back, but just know that there was an underlying motive.  I knew this activity would keep the little heathens quiet while the baby slept.  And although I've threatened only the mailman, UPS delivery guy, and lawn care people with death if they wake him, I am NOT above taking out a kid or two for the same reason.  I'm very serious about naptime.  So, we made the cookies and I took pictures to prove that I'm the perfect mother.  Of course I posted them on my facebook page, but not to brag about my domestic capabilities (well, maybe just a little) but more so that I could go back and look at the pictures later and praise myself for spending such fun, quality time with my kids while I eat all 2 dozen cookies.  It's much more important to do something fun with your kids than to workout and eat carrots.  I'm just trying to be a good mom here, and they took everything else, they might as well get my thighs too. 

Now, our fun-filled day is coming to an end and although I do cherish the moments I had with them today I'm leaving the house the very second that I type the last sentence of this blog and going for a LONG walk.  You know, one can only enjoy those precious little parasites for so long before you remember that it's your own damn fault that it's so freaking noisy in here.  I think the key is to figure out how to create my own "in-service" day. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting (a little too much)

Life has been a little insane lately, which seems to be pretty typical these days.  But, the one thing I have finally found time to do, is throw my parenting manual in the trash.  I've never owned a copy of the actual "books on parenting" but I certainly had created my own version in my head without even realizing it.  Here's the thing, kids really don't come with a handbook and the sooner you realize that the better off you'll be.  In fact, you could begin writing a "how to" book based on experiences with your first child, but it will expire immediately upon having your second.

When my husband and I had our first son, we were obviously morons.  The funny thing is, I realized this week, that we are four children into the game and we are JUST as clueless.  Our first child is very mild-mannered and rule-oriented.  The kid slept 14 hours at night and then took TWO naps during the day, and I would still have a heart attack at the thought of going to Wal-Mart with him "by myself."  He really never threw an actual tantrum and he weaned himself off of the pacifier and potty-trained himself.  Of course, at this point my husband and were pretty sure we had cornered the marked on children.  We were parenting GODS!! This is why our second child came so very quickly after our first, and we were "prepared" this time.  We knew everything because we'd already had a child.  Let the genius continue!!  And it did...until she was born.

You see, my second child has an opinion...about everything.  She came into this world screaming and I have no doubt that she will be making noise on her way out.  She DID NOT sleep well.  She DID NOT share well with others.  And she DID NOT know that we had already decided how we were going to parent and that she needed to follow our "book."  My husband actually gave her a "length of travel" cap when she was four months old.  If we were taking any trips that lasted longer than 45 minutes, Addison was not allowed to go.  I believe he also threatened to throw her out the window one night while I was working and she wouldn't take a bottle.  The kid would go 14 hours without eating just so she wouldn't have to use a bottle.  Obviously we decided that at this point, a second "book" may need to be in the works.

When Addison turned two we had our third child, Morgan.  Honestly, looking back, I think she has pretty much raised herself.  She was seriously the easiest baby I've ever met.  I would actually MISS her and want to go wake her up because she slept so often.  Any mother reading this right now is hating me and thinking I'm insane for wanting to wake a sleeping baby, but don't you fret...I'm paying my dues!

Even though our second child was mildly exhausting at times, we still parented in the same way.  We were creating a sort of "standard" for our children without even knowing it.  We built up these walls of safety and security.  We had routines and certain ways of doing things.  We did, that is, until we welcomed our fourth and FINAL child.

Understanding the eating habits of an infant are important of course, but what if your child lacks the ability to suck and swallow, or if they are capable of those tasks cannot digest the food they've eaten without aspirating or hurting themselves?  And having an established bedtime routine can be vital to a parent's sanity.  Having children who can soothe themselves to sleep can be life changing.  But, what if that child woke you up in the middle of the night seizing uncontrollably?  Can you then, EVER put them back in that bed without such a mental picture?  Where are the books that talk about these things?  Where are the "experts" on these children?  I'll tell you, there is only one rule in the "how to parent a special needs child" book:

SURVIVAL.

Sometimes it is all we can do breathe in and out on any given day, and that is all that can be expected.  And actually, whether you're a special needs parent or not, we all have those days.  We may feel like we've failed as a parent that day or even failed as a human being, but it's our response to those days that count. Every parent makes mistakes and every parent has at least some successes.   And while the walls of safety and security are nice and comfortable, sometimes they block the sun.  We forget to enjoy the good moments because we're too busy making everything run smoothly and efficiently in our dark, little corner of the world.  I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my son, as difficult as he may be, for letting a little light back into our lives.  But just so he knows, this is no free pass.  He owes me at LEAST one homerun on the "parenting book" best-seller list.