Thursday, August 23, 2012

From one extreme to another

The weekend 2 weekends ago was perfection. Seriously, the best it could be. So much so that I am still thinking about it 2 weeks later. We did nothing out of the ordinary, nothing special, but for 2 days the boys were just amazing. Beck was happy, took super long naps, and let me move from room to room without so much as a whimper. Anderson was helpful, polite, funny, and just plain good. On Sunday evening when Gabe came home from work and after they were both asleep I made the mistake of letting him know just how good they had been once again (he was home with us all day on Saturday to bear witness). Because parenting rule number one is that you never, never speak out loud about the good things your kids do. You don't talk about how they all of a sudden start sleeping 12 hours straight or how they shy away from sweets and over indulge in veggies; for the very moment an utterance of some great breakthrough is made it is a well-known fact it will never occur again. Not only that, but the complete opposite will happen if for no other reason than to prove to you, mama, that you have absolutely no control and that you are simply an observer of this game known as toddler-hood.

And you know what? The next morning was misery. Complete misery. I'm not even sure what happened or where things began to fall apart Beck's non-existent morning nap? Anderson's 5 am wake-up call?, but they fell apart quickly. And of course we had plans. Of course. Because if rule number one is to never speak of anything good your child does, then rule number two is most definitely that you never make plans for tomorrow because your child is acting liking an angel today. Never. But I've been reading a book lately that mentioned something about how you shouldn't cancel your plans due to bad behavior (something about it then ruining everyone's day and maybe they would have been really good had you just followed through, blah, blah, blah) and so on we went. After multiple time-outs, screaming matches, arguments, and many, many tears from all parties involved (yes, many from me as well) we got in the car and headed to the beach for my first ever "take the kids to the beach all by myself" day. And it was a great day. Getting out of the house despite the screaming and kicking was the best thing we could have done.

Every day I see moms with kids the ages of my own that seem to have it all figured out. Their kids are well-mannered, the moms are put together and smiling, and life just seems like bliss. Is it possible? Does that even exist? Can you be a normal, well-adjusted child without going through these phases? I'm not so sure. My dad said to me just last night that anyone who hasn't gone through this with their kids is just lying and I am pretty sure he is right. Sure, different parents will handle things differently (I'm winning no award for patience these days), but kids are kids. They tantrum, they test boundaries, they try to make sense of a world where they are constantly being told what to do and how to do it. Little kids can and will just be downright naughty sometimes.

The next time I see Miss Trendy Mom with perfect hair and perfect clothes and perfect children I will remind myself that she, too, has bad days with her kids just like the rest of us. That they have rotten days and that she no doubt raises her voice. And maybe she sometimes even has to lock herself in the bathroom for a couple of minutes just to get away from the chaos. Because don't we all do that at some point?

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