I try not to complain about my kids too much online. My blog posts about them are usually light hearted; a documentation of the things that made me smile, with maybe a few things that drove me crazy but with a funny twist. I don’t write “My kids made me cry today”, or “I screamed so loudly at my children today that my throat hurts”. Those aren’t funny stories. Those aren’t things I want to document or remember. But you know what? Sometimes it happens. And my goal in this online world is to always be real. Open. Honest. I don’t want anyone struggling with things I’m struggling with to think they are alone.
Sometimes when you look around it can look like everyone has it all together. Or that even when things are going wrong they are finding humour in it or handling it with such grace and poise. I’ve even done that with certain areas of my life. I won’t often write about my depression until it has lifted. I don’t often share in the moment. It’s hard to know what to share and what to keep to yourself. In my efforts to be real I don’t want to come across as a depressed, exhausted, impatient, crazy mom who doesn’t like her kids. That’s not who I am. That’s not my usual reality. But some days… some days that is how it is. And I don’t want people thinking that those thoughts and emotions only cross their minds. That there’s something wrong with them because some days (or nights) you want to start sticking price tags to your kids’ foreheads.
On the other hand, I don’t want to complain about my kids all the time. They are my life. My joy. My heart. Before I had kids, I distinctly remember hearing people talking about their kids as if they were the worst things ever and thinking how awful it was that they didn’t seem to even like their own children. Now that I have kids of my own, I get it in a way. Sure, sometimes you need to vent. But maybe it should be in a safe place with close friends, or in a blog post that has a couple paragraphs lending perspective (haha), and not necessarily in the grocery store while your kid is standing right next to you.
With all that being said, here we go… a glimpse into the past 12 hours.
Eli has a cold. When Eli has a cold, Eli doesn’t sleep. He wakes up screaming, coughing, gagging. Our nights are spent rubbing him with Vicks, elevating his pillow, filling up his diffuser, turning on the humidifier, covering him back up, taking him to the bathroom so he can puke, cuddling him in his bed, turning the moon nightlight back on, wrestling him down so he will take his puffer, and sometimes just standing there listening to him scream and cry because he’s angry that he’s awake. (Yeah, I feel ya.)
When I wake up in the morning with a headache, it’s hard to start off on the right foot. Especially when Eli’s colds only seem severe at night. In the morning, he’s a chirpy little guy, ready to prattle your ear off. He has this totally adorable (read: NOT ADORABLE) thing where he starts calling my name when he’s across the house. He’ll be in the living room and I’ll be in my bedroom (approximately 12,000 km away for those who have never been to my house) and he will start loudly saying my name over and over and over as he journeys to where he knows I am. So, by the time he reaches me my blood pressure is through the roof and I have to refrain from screaming “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!” at him the moment he comes into view. (The refraining doesn’t always happen. Which is unfortunate for both of us.)
He repeats. Oh my gosh, does that kid repeat. He will say it once. As I am answering, he has repeated himself another three times. Often I have to repeat MYSELF so that he hears me answering because he’s in broken record mode and just keeps on saying the same thing over and over. Then my psycho analyzing side pops out and wonders if me repeating is why he thinks repeating is normal conversation, but how can I get him to shush for a minute so I can only answer the one time and he’ll hear me? With Kadon I could say “hush” and he would hush so I could get a word in. Eli just gets louder. And when he gets in trouble for not hushing he bursts into tears, runs down the hallway, starts coughing because he’s crying, and often ends up puking. All because I wanted him to be quiet and stop repeating before I answered him. DOES THIS NOT SOUND LIKE SO MUCH FUN?
This morning I am making pancakes and I’m letting Eli help. I’m making an effort to start the day on a good note, because I can feel the house dragon rising inside of me. She always wants to come out and roar at everyone when I’ve had a rough night. Kadon comes into the kitchen and starting whining and crying because I say he can help next time, as pancakes don’t take that many ingredients and we are already almost done.
Pancakes are done. I tell Eli it’s breakfast time. He in turn starts saying (on repeat) “Breakfast time, Kadon! Breakfast time, Kadon!” Kadon stomps into the kitchen with a “I’ve heard you a million times, Eli! Be quiet!” Eli repeats a few more times, Kadon yells at him, I finally get them to both hush.
Then Kadon says to Eli, “These pancake are delicious, aren’t they?”
“BE QUIET KADON.” Eli roars back at him.
Eli also has this new thing where he asks to cuddle every time I’m feeding Silas. I’m guessing some late onset jealousy. He also asks to cuddle every time he bumps himself. And every time I’m cooking. And basically every five minutes. And sitting beside me isn’t good enough. A hug isn’t good enough. It has to be on the couch on my lap. And then he likes to rearrange himself by pushing his head into my chest which feels just delightful when you are a breastfeeding mommy.
Truth be told, I love cuddling with him. It feels like we are making up for lost time when he was a baby and pretty much wanted nothing to do with me. Or anyone. But I just can’t do it every five minutes.
Eli has also refused to be potty trained. We almost had it. He was in underwear, asking to go, only having one or two accidents a day and then all the sudden – nope. Didn’t want to wear underwear, was begging for diapers, was screaming and crying every time I drug him to the bathroom… and could I have continued? Maybe. But… mommy’s emotional and mental health matters, too. I knew I couldn’t win this war with grace and patience and I didn’t want it to even be a war. So I let it go.
Eli keeps me humble. I can be judgmental at times, without even meaning to. Kadon was an easy baby, and is a pretty easy kid (minus the teenager attitude that emerges sometimes, yikes). I remember before kids and even with Kadon just thinking that I could bend children to my will just by being consistent and persistent and never letting them get away with anything… which is all well in good in theory, and probably true. I wouldn’t know. Because I can’t always be consistent. It’s something I strive for. Sure, I always want to be “on” as a parent, but that’s not always in the cards. You have to figure in exhaustion, which takes a huge toll. And yep, it sure is easier to always be on top of kids’ behaviour when there’s just the one, but if you throw in a couple siblings, well… that’s a whole different kind of circus. Then as you have kids you realize you don’t want to break them. You don’t want to just be this authoritative monster that dictates their every move. You don’t want little soldiers that listen because they are afraid. You want well-behaved kids, sure, but with parenting techniques, there’s a lot of options, a lot of opinions, a lot of advice… and it can be overwhelming.
Thus far, Eli is my little challenge. He leaves me wondering what I’m supposed to do, what the best way to handle situations are. He doesn’t respond the same way as Kadon does to correction, his coughing/puking play a huge part in how we treat him, what works one day often doesn’t work the next. Like I said, he keeps me humble. I’m just trying to figure him out. I don’t want him to be a menace to society because I couldn’t figure out how to raise him to be a good man.
And this is why I don’t even know if I’ll post this. It felt awesome to rant, but I don’t want people reading this to think Eli is a menace. He’s amazing. He’s hilarious. He’s kind, caring, and energetic. His imagination knows no bounds. He loves animals. He makes me gut laugh at least once a day. He loves dancing and singing and wrestling. I can see him being a stand up comedian one day, he so loves to make people laugh. He likes to sneak sips of my coffee, and he loves going for “coffee” at the flower shop during Kadon’s dance… I’d say more… but Eli just came up and asked to cuddle on the couch. Gotta go!