Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Breathing into a bag

So, this is a few days late, but I thought I'd document a typical Monday at the Harris household. This actually might make me look like I'm trying to look good because I did a lot of projects with them, but that is not my intent (to make myself look good, that is). The intent is to describe the sheer level of activity that has to go on around here for my two children to NOT kill each other. Wednesday and Thursdays the kids go to school for the morning, but on the days they are home, we have to do a lot.
We eat breakfast (Matt usually feeds Sammy when he wakes up and then I crawl out a little bit later to look blindly for the coffee pot). We eat, kiss daddy goodbye, and then I clean up the dishes and unload the dishwasher while they....

watch Curious George. I love this picture because it shows Claire with her mouth kinda hanging open in that "tv watching look" that she gets within 30 seconds of turning on a show. You'll notice also that they are sitting peacefully next to each other which would never happen if a show wasn't on.

On my "bad mommy days" we watch more than one show. But Sid the Science Kid never killed anyone, right? However, immediately upon me saying "shows are over...come on upstairs" Sammy launches into a world-class tantrum that is not soothed by any discipline technique, except perhaps the promise of a "funner" activity to come.

So, sometimes we do something like baking or cooking. They peeled potatoes and giant carrots for this soup and then, while it was cooking (since Sammy's rage was over by that time) they actually played nicely together for a short bit. Thirty minutes of playing peacefully is HUGE around here...I mean HUGE...and this particular morning had TWO of those blessed 20-30 minute peaceful playing sessions, so I felt very blessed.

But of course, once it's over, it's over. Now, here is my biggest dilemma. My daughter would like to never walk out of the house. She doesn't like wind or chilliness or excercise (like walking, for instance) so even though this is a perfect time to get everyone out of the house, Claire protests...especially if it's very cold. So, on this morning, we made an obstacle course in the basement. It started in the back hallway and came out to the couch. However, the peace was over at this point and there was much arguing over how to set the course up. Then, once it was completed, they spent about 30 seconds playing with it and then they were arguing again. So, we came up for making snowflakes. Claire has made about 475 snowflakes this week, so this kept them happy for about another 3.5 minutes. That's three and a half...not 35, mind you.
Next was lunch, and then, as I was about to put everyone down for a nap, Claire said "Mom...we have GYMNASTICS...didn't you remember?" Now, for some reason this happens every Monday. I have "remembering" issues. So, on we went to gymnastics (after lunch of course).

Afterwards, and three mental breakdowns by Sammy later (who is really too tired to go to gymnastics in the afternoon) he slept. Peace. Nice peaceful peace. Of course, I had to wake him up so that he didn't sleep too long (which would mean that he would never go to bed at night) so he was a big grouchy bear all night on Monday.
Of course, during this nap is when I cleaned up the soup remains (piles and piles of potatoe and carrot peels everywhere) the obstacle course, the breakfast (and lunch) dishes, and got dinner ready.
Now, I know that there are moms out there who do this without breathing into a brown bag, but for me...not so much. I feel like a chicken with my head cut off! I feel like something is I should be better at this....or like I shouldn't have signed up for gymnastics...or like I should somehow have a second to breath in the middle of this. I get sick of listening to my own voice (disciplining Samuel usually) and I just want this all to be easier.
I know it's selfish. But some days this just seems so exhausting. And I know that someday I'm going to look back and miss how they were little and cute and loved me. But I really think that my time as a mother is yet to come. I think I'm going to be a good mom to big kids. But this tantrum-throwing, constantly disciplining, one-second-attention-span time period is too much sometimes.
But I love them. I really do.

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