Ethan is doing a little better today. At least he hasn’t thrown up again, but then I thought we were safe yesterday when he’d gone over 24 hours without tossing his cookies. Rumor at school has it that this is a come and go virus. Kids (and parents- yeck!) have been going up to two days between bouts. I can’t imagine. But I fear Ethan too will never be completely potty trained….with the past three weeks of upset tummy and yucky tushy, he’s been in and out of diapers and pull-ups. I hate to confuse him, but there’s no way I’m taking the chance with underwear some days when things are not good in his tummy. FRUSTRATION!!! And I just feel so bad for him. His favorite blanket – the one that he does not travel without, does not nap or go to bed without – is in the wash for the 3rd time this week alone. Nemo bankie is never going to be the same.
But on to other things……
I am a pro at beating up on myself. Over the years, I’ve perfected the fine art of condemning my own capabilites at pretty much everything. Mothering does not escape my radar. When we were trying to hard to get pregnant, I had this beautiful picture in my head of the type of mother I wanted to be. We all know that reality usually falls short of the mark. When Ryley was born so early, and we feared for his life, I couldn’t imagine ever losing my patience with him, couldn’t imagine ever disciplining him. HAH! I truly thought I would spend every waking moment playing with him, singing and reading with him, developing this perfect little child. I could picture us making cookies together, coloring together, and so on, everyday. The reality is that I am a perfectionist. I like to get things done quickly and my way, especially if it’s things I don’t really enjoy doing like laundry, cooking and such. But I can’t seem to relax unless those things are done. Which means that I am not always on the floor playing Chutes and Ladders. I am not always the parent in the backyard tossing the ball around or pushing them on the swings. And sometimes I get frustrated (okay, probably more often than not) when they try to “help” and end up creating more of a mess than I started with, or it takes me three times as long as it normally would.
I know I’m not perfect. I know I can’t expect myself to be. I know no one is perfect, and there are probably very few of us who are the parents we imagined we would be. I want to be better. I want them to have beautiful memories of us doing things together – reading, playing, cooking, etc – instead of remembering a mother who got frustrated with them and wouldn’t let them take part in normal household activities or a mother who was too busy doing things around the house to play with them. These are the things I beat myself up over. I love them so much. And mentally I am sure that they do have good memories…..memories of singing Momma Mia together in the car, memories of getting cookie icing all over the counter, memories of the birthday parties, memories of snuggling in the green chair together, memories of bedtime songs sung together…..See, when I think about those things and list those things, I realize that maybe I’m not a bad mommy.
The neighbor boy is over playing today. These three together have gotten in trouble more times than I can count for digging in the dirt and flinging it against the house or anything else. So the warning of the afternoon was that they could play in the backyard but they could not dig in the dirt, they could not play with the garden shovels. If they did, they’d have to come back inside. They’d been out there for maybe five minutes when I peeked out the window. All three of them had a shovel (or kids’ golf club) and were digging. AAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Had I been speaking out loud? Had I not used a language that they understood? I reminded them of the backyard rules and the consequences for not following the rules. In the time it took me to walk from the kitchen back to the playroom/office, they were back to digging in the dirt. See why I get frustrated? So I bang on the window first, and then open it to remind them (not so quietly) to put the shoveling instruments down and move away from the dirt. They stop mid-dig and just stand there looking at me. I don’t know if they thought I didn’t really mean it, or were waiting for me to look away so they could dig again. Whatever. And then they started to dig again, as if I were a complete idiot who wouldn’t notice!!!!!!!! I literally stood there for ten more minutes watching. They kept looking back at the window to see if I was watching, and kept the shovels close by just in case my attention was elsewhere. They finally gave up. Now they’re inside. AMEN! For a few minutes anyways.